Saturday, October 07, 2006

Burmingham to Belfast to Baghdad and Back


This past week’s Civics lecture brought us to a biography of Thurgood Marshall. It was wonderful to follow his life as he used the bludgeon of the Constitution, the Law, and Reason to smash down the doctrine of Separate-but-Equal and end legal segregation in the United States. In passing we contemplated the heroic suffering of Martin King and the wonder that was and is the power of Civil Disobedience. But our study had revealed something else to us. The wonders of the Civil Rights movement sat upon a deep and dark foundation. The United States of American had almost failed to happen. The dividing barrier that almost ripped America into pieces before it could be, was slavery.

We had studied Franklin’s attack on that horrible institution; Jefferson’s fear of that Fire Bell in the Night, and realized that Washington and others had had to plug their noses and swallow that stinking evil in order to establish the Republic. But it didn’t end there, the war against the bigotry, greed, and ignorance that made slavery possible was millenniums old. It was obviously not a reasonable condition, and yet at times it seemed to be a universal part of the human condition.

It is important to realize that it was not simply the realization of its injustice that ended slavery and set America on the road to Burmingham jail and the admission that racism and segregation are not reasonable. That miracle was wrought on bloody battlefields. Hundreds of thousands had to die violent deaths to end that colossal inhumanity of man to man. The Civil War is the single most horrific sacrifice to end American bigotry and ignorance inspired hate although it was neither the alpha nor the omega of that fight. The actions of Marshal and King were majestic and magical in their application of law and justice to end evil, but their successes were founded on the bloody battlefield sacrifice of 360,000 boys in blue.


Last week I attended a lecture at the university. The presenter professor, Thom Kearin, is a Sociologist who seems to have devoted his life to the study of the Belfast Murals. Hideous graffiti that soils the walls of that city to intimidate, inflame, and commemorate murder. It was surprising to me that Professor Kearin seemed to have affection for these monstrosities. He has carefully cataloged and photographed them and now laments that their numbers have shrunk from over 600 to less than three. He scornfully said that the only thing the American Government has pressured the Northern Irish and British governments to do, of late, is remove the murals. “Why don’t they, the U.S., pressure the Government to end segregation and the laws that support it?” he queried.

Professor Kearin then went on to introduce us to the “peace walls” of Belfast. Walls that divide the Irish Catholics from the Irish Protestants.

“Who built these walls?” asked a student.

“The Government!” the professor replied.


He went on to outline the centuries long struggle between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. The Battle of the Boyne to the Bog Side “Massacre”; to the fact that over the last 30 years an average of one person has been murdered every day in Northern Ireland in the name of Catholicism or Protestantism. But what pained me the most was a statistic he seemed to drop in passing, almost as if it were a positive terrorist accomplishment, a proof of British failure; one third of those killed have been British soldiers.

There were three points during the lecture where I got my oar in. Kearin was deprecating the British government for institutionalizing segregation, “oh that evil government”.

1. I asked, “what if the government were to start busing kids from Catholic schools to Protestant ones, and vice-versa. What if the government took down the walls and forced landlords to integrate and meet quotas on housing.

His reply, “There would be civil war.”

“So,” I questioned, “It is not the government who has institutionalized bigotry, it is the bigots that will not bend? Why do you blame the government for keeping the peace?

“I can’t disagree with you,” was his scholarly reply.

2. “You say that the only thing the U.S. government is doing is calling for the destruction of these murals?” I asked.

“Yes,” replied the professor.

“But isn’t that about all they can do, they cannot magically make these people get along; perhaps all they can do is try to remove the emblems of hate and the memories of the blood feud.”

3. A lady in the class inquired, “How can these people do these things and claim to be Christians, when the teachings of Christ so clearly teach otherwise?”

I butted in to reply, “If you read in the bible you will find plenty of examples of the chosen people killing the “evil ones” to inhabit their land.”

“Yes’ the professor agreed, “The Old Testament is very big among many of these people, and it is full of instances of killing off the people you don’t like to grab their land.”

“I am not so naive as not to know what is in the Bible,” the lady almost sobbed, “but how can they be so evil?”

“Because it is how they are taught the Bible.” I replied, “And if they are not taught to reason they can be mislead.”

“How are things now?” another student asked.

“Better” Kearin replied.

“I wonder why?” I thought.

At the end of class, Kearin passed out a set of pictures from the Bog Side Mural series, a series of eleven wall side paintings, ten of which commemorate Belfast’s Bloody Sunday, one is a dove of peace. He asked us to fill out a survey to give our impressions of the paintings. I did my best, but in the comments’ section I wrote, “I see no need to memorialize hate with eyesores erected to celebrate black hooded murders.” The idea that there is any value in building monuments to hate, to celebrate when religious and cultural differences become the blood feud, where crime is glorified and the police and soldiers who attempt to bring peace are vilified, seems to me to be a dastardly dam to the spread of reason.

We must not forget that the “better life” in Northern Ireland has been bought by the blood of 3,650 British soldiers who selflessly died that others might live in peace and freedom.


The killing goes on in Baghdad. Al Qaeda terrorists stir up hate between Sunni and Shiite to continue millennia of murder in the name of God. The ever increasing number of American soldiers, who have come to Iraq to bring peace and freedom necessary for reason to grow, are dying, murdered by terrorists and thugs who kill for power, hate, and Allah. Someday, perhaps soon, the killing will stop, reason will prevail. The Iraqi Constitution and its noble implementers and heroes will bring law and justice to the people of Iraq. It is their natural right and their reasonable desire. But when they do, we must not forget that the triumph of reason has been paid for by the sacrifice of the most sacred of blood.

And Back:

Herodotus, my hero among all historians, had a favorite line. He would say, “To compare small things with great. . .” and then go on to do just that, putting the history of the world into perspective by an examination of some small fact or situation.

So, “to compare small things with great. . .” One wonders how it can be that people, who by nature partake of that same reason that makes God, God, can kill and murder, hate and divide for so long and only be brought together at such horrendous sacrifice.

In Davis County there is a new high school being built. It will be up and running by next school year. The students for Syracuse High will have to come from somewhere. The overcrowded halls and classes of North Ridge and Clearfield highs will go to fill the new school, and they will be left in need for more students, those student will, of course, come from communities whose children now attend Layton High. And how will Layton High be filled? From the crowded hall of Davis High. Then more students will be brought up from Viewmont and at last balance will be attained. That is the reasonable and best way to take advantage of the new school and make education the best for students. But now long taught hatreds come to the surface. Enraged “parents” flood the e-mails of the Realignment Committee, and “mobs” threaten the School Board meetings. How far will the hatred and prejudice go? Will someone strap on the dynamite to prevent their virgin child from association with the polluted population of Layton High?

What is it that makes folks from Kaysville so afraid of having their children associate with Layton folks? What is so repugnant about the halls of Clearfield High; so disgusting about having a dart for a mascot? How can reason prevail when some people think they are so much better than others, when some groups think they are justified in hating those who live and believe differently? Where is the Divine light of reason when you ask a mother to let her child go to school with a crowd she doesn’t like? Is it true that rich kids are better than poor ones? Does Mutton Hollow divide intelligent and good people from scum and riffraff? All these things will be debated and shouted. The tears will flow and Christian charity be forgotten, and the will of Allah will be invoked to attack and disdain. I only hope that there will be brave and courageous leaders who will sacrifice, that reason might someday prevail. I hope reason will not have to be bought with blood, but what price will Davis County folks have to pay for reason to prevail?


Dan Simpson said...

In all these things, it is interesting to see how many, past and present, have argued that we should leave others alone to do as they will.

The Union should have left the South alone, and only had dirty political motives for doing what they did. The British military likewise causes more problems than they solve. And of course, as we hear often and loudly, we should not be in Iraq. It is no business of ours. We are hypocritical because we have done, and supported evil regimes in the past we have no moral authority to overthrow one now.

All of these arguments are of course short-sighted and incredibly flawed.

In the name of political expediency, some may say that we should just do as the vocal demand. It will be easier to bow to the shouting masses and change our choices and actions to match. We have done it before, look at Rwanda in the past and the Sudan now. Some think that the administration doesn't have enough 'political capital' to spend on such engagements.

I find that statement to be horrifying. The thought that one must balance doing those things that reason demands be done because we want to get a certain bill passed, and we would hate to lose our clout over the Sudan or some such is ludicrous.

I remember years before this war ever happened being given topics for National Extemp along these same lines. Always the choice I could take in my persuasive talk was that the U.S. should be involved in world affairs, or that we should stay out.

It amazes me how quickly we forget the help we received from France during the Revolution. We should be grateful that such as we have today in the public light, were not successful in Paris in the late 1700's or we may not have been successful in our bid for freedom.

'To compare small things to great', it may be that one day (soon or more distantly), our country will finally decide to isolate itself from the world and say "That's not MY responsibilty, that's not my litter." And it may be that the Davis County Schoolboard will decide it is easier to tell all the parents that their children can go to whatever high school they wish.

But, that will be the vanguard of a dark and despicable time in this country's future.

Lysis said...


I would be more willing to listening to the “shouting masses” if I could trust the motives of those who put “the words” into to the mass’s mouths. It is painful that finding the place for reason to “root” requires so much suffering.

I wonder at the wisdom of Aeschylus, who had Athena, (Goddess of Justice), place the first court of reason on the “Rock Hill of Ares”.

Anonymous said...

"The killing goes on. Al Qaaeda terrorists stir up hate between Sunni and Shiite" -Lysis

The fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 has unleashed the CENTURIES-OLD blood feud between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq, which, in turn, has hardened sectarian hostilities across the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iran's bullish determination to enrich uranium and possibly acquire a nuclear capability deeply worries Sunni neighbors, who see Iran's hand behind the Shiite drive for power in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. No surprise then that Sunni rulers and radical clerics reacted viscerally to Hezbollah's perceived victory it won in the Lebanon war!!!!

If and when Al Qeaada is removed from Iraq figures insignificantly in accomplishing the impossible goal of "proping up" a stillborn Democracy in Iraq -- which should have been OBVIOUS years ago.

Only someone transfixed by the PARALYSIS of "Stay the course"
would conclude any differently, given the FACTS, LOGIC and EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE!!!!

Reach Upward said...

Dan, you make some very insightful points.

Anonymous of the quadruple exclamation point, are you saying that Iraqis are incapable of forming a democratic society? I'm not sure that resonates well when 75% of them were willing to risk their lives just to exercise the right to vote. We don't get that kind of turnout in our democratic society, and those of us that do vote are not risking our lives to do so. Are you suggesting that simply because Iraq hasn't built in three years what we built in over two centuries that it will never be able to achieve a democratic society? How shortsighted.

a quiet listener said...

i often hear talk from those who oppose the war that it will eventually degenerate into civil war or that it's already come to that.
what i've been thinking lately especially in light of the current post is that maybe that's not the worst thing that could happen. is the defeat of slavery in our own country labeled as a mistake? should the leaders have stayed the course? of course. did it mean that we would have to suffer the most awful bloody war our country has ever known? yes, it meant that too. some things are worth fighting for.

Anonymous said...

Vegimatic Here....

I just spent two weeks on business in the Philippines. I lived through a Typhoon that killed 79 at last count.

Our business is in the economic zone of the old Clark AFB. I was able to tour the base Museum, see the historical spots and see the most moving point of interest of all, see the site where the Bataan Death March Started.

Because of the Muslim activity I always had a driver or security guard or both with me.

Bomb sniffing dogs and pat downs were necessary to enter Hotels, Malls etc.

When I went to get on the airplane to come home I was searched 4 separate times. The most intrusive was just before the gate in the concourse.

It became habit to lift my arms to be searched when I entered a building.

The Philippine people that I worked with are the most gentle and respectful people I have ever met. They work very hard at what they do. Even with their apparent poverty all you could get through observation was they are a happy people.

They are forced to live like prisoners in their own country because of the muslim terrorists that would like us to be prisoners in our own country.

If that lifestyle is what it is going to take to become "liked" by the world, then I for one don't care to be "liked".

While I was in Manila, I tried to listen to online SLC radio. One station, KNRS was blocked because it had "Contriversial American Content" The other station, KSL worked just fine. After scratching my head the only answer I could come up with was that Linbaugh is on KNRS. From the CNN and New York Times coverage that is shown and printed in country, the US doesn't look very good.

Sorry this is rambling, but to the point:

If every liberal would spend time in another country, with the people, away from the western hotels, their perspective on the world may change.

I listen to theory and conjecture from the "smart" people (libs) then when placed in cold reality, liberalism as it is currently configured, doesn't hold water.

I know my perspective has.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is a real shame that none of us has ever had the opportunity to live outside of America, away from the western hotels. Thankfully, we have you to tell us just how it is out there Vegimatic, intrepid pursuer of truth justice and the American way where ever you go. That's what makes American travellers just so special. Thanks a lot Vegimatic!

Anonymous said...

Arguing that 75% of Iraqis voted in an election and then concluding that Iraqis want a Democracy is a not only "short-sighted", but, considering events over the last six months, "BLINDsighted".

With Sunnis and Shiites at all-out Civil War, only someone with Bush-blinders and earmuffs on would think that Iraq wanted a Democracy. Yah, they may want a trip to Disneyland and 76 virgins too, but it aint gunna come true.

Are you suggesting that the U.S. occupy Iraq for "two-hundred years" to insure Iraqi Democracy?

Well then, how long? At what cost? With what chance of success? How many dead and injured are too many?

How long before the Administration Proaganda Paralysis novacane leaves your brain?

Cameron said...


I suppose the answer to your questions of "how long?" depends on your answer to "how important is it?"

Anonymous said...

Every day is "bear your testimony" day for Veg. I'm suprised he doesn't sign off with the obligatory "I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

He is Soooo Spiritual!!!!

truth to power said...

"With Sunnis and Shiites at all-out Civil War, only someone with Bush-blinders and earmuffs on would think that Iraq wanted a Democracy. Yah, they may want a trip to Disneyland and 76 virgins too, but it aint gunna come true."

Okay, Anonymous, which is it? Does Iraq not want a democracy, or do they want it, "but it ain't gunna come true"? Logic says you can't make both of these claims simultaneously!

Do you really believe that an accurate description of the situation in Iraq is "Sunnis and Shiites at all-out Civil War"? You're going beyond what the left-wing media are willing to claim. What's the source of this vision of disaster? If it were true, do you propose we leave them to it? Do you suggest it would have been better to leave Saddam Hussein in power? Come on, say what you mean!

Anonymous said...

No, but, how do we know when we've WON and what is it supposed to look like when we LEAVE.

There NEVER has been an Iraqi exit plan because the Administration has irresponsibly promoted its "Just happy to be here creating Democracies" PARALYSIS to substiture for a REAL Iraiqi foreign policy.

Patriotic Americans will not allow this stagnation to persist!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, whichever faction that figures it can maniplate POWER to ensure a permanent majority will ALWAYS favor DEMOCRACY and the faction that will be in the minority will ALWAYS OPPOSE it -- BOTH "want" Democracy ONLY if they're in the majority. Iraqi "Democracy", Iraqi despotism, the same thing -- always has been!!!!

Do you believe that a "democracy" that has devolved to despotism is worth 2,800+ American lives????

MindMechanic said...

"Do you believe that a "democracy" that has devolved to despotism is worth 2,800+ American lives????"

I believe that fighting terrorists that thought nothing of taking over 3000 American lives one day in September is worth it.

I believe combating people that have announced there intention as committing as many murders and exectuions as is necessary to force sharia law on the world is worth it.

I believe fighting terrorists that glory in slaughtering thousands of children in a school is worth it.

I believe preventing those same terrorists from having a base of operations and forcing them into hiding and preventing them from launching attacks against America is worth it.

MindMechanic said...

The question keeps getting long will we be in Iraq.

Good about...til the job is done?

Following WW1 the US left Germany. Depression, inflation, and the rise of Hitlers facist goevernment was the result. WW2 also was a result.

It should be noted that the war with Germany ended in May of 1945. Germany's government following free elections was not officially sanctioned until 1949. And of today, Germany had the Soviets trying to destabilize and ultimately destroy West Germany. It didnt work, not because of a lack of effort on the Easts behalf but because of unfailing suppprt on our behalf.

Following WW2 we executed the Marshall Plan. We helped build Germany's economy. We helped them establish a democratic government and an infrastructure that has lasted today. The Wests successful government ended up eliminating the communist rule in East Germany.

It took many years to root out the pockets of Nazi resistance following WW2. 15 years seemed like a long time but it was time well spent. During that time US soldiers were shot and died, but the mission was ultimately successful.

Of course, even today we still have bases there and we have for the most part a very successful relationship with Germany.

A final victory in Iraq is something worth fighting for. I suspect that if it was a democrat president in charge the liberals would support that final victory fully.

MindMechanic said...

"There NEVER has been an Iraqi exit plan"

Just because you hear it parroted time and time again does not make it so. There IS and always has been a plan in Iraq. There isnt a TIMETABLE.

The plan is the same as it has always been.

Help Iraq establish a government and constitution- C/W

Help Iraq hold free elections- C/W x3

Train Iraqs security forces- Inwork

Train Iraqs military- Inwork

What there ISNT is a timetable that says "4 years and we are outta here."

You know why? Because there CANT be.

We are STILL in Germany. We are still in Japan.

Clinton said we would be out of Bosnia in 5 years. Guess how many years ago the 5 years was up? And we are still there...we still send bellions of dollars there. We still deploy thousands of troops there.

Lysis said...

Anonymouse, (this can’t be Flaccid – he is not this stupid!)

Just some facts for you: You will no doubt find them difficult to face, but since you have not provided any, someone must.

1. The “CENTURIES-OLD blood feud between Shiites and Sunnies in Iraq never went away under Saddam. Saddam used that hate to keep himself in power, and murdered his enemies by the hundreds of thousands. Say that number slowly to yourself; try to let it sink in. The Iran/Iraq War was all about the sectarian violence and hate you have just tried to blame on the Liberation of Iraq. That pushed the murders of Saddam into the millions.

2. Israel did not lose to Hezbollah anywhere but in the UN and the neo-lib media. But that point is moot. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, a murdering bully, and they will be fought in Israel, and now apparently by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. You seem so eager to give the victory to the murders before Justice and the Law have completed their actions.

The post above was aimed at reminding all how long it takes to root about evil. You, like so many neo-libs, want either instant gratification or to cut and run. Thank God that there are those who will stand and fight. Your way would have dropped the Union after the first shots a Fort Sumter; forsaken Marin King after the first dog bite; deserted America to “separate but equal” after the Plessey v Ferguson ruling. But great peoples do not give up to evil just because it is hard to fight. But then you have shown you know nothing of great peoples.

You deprecate the Iraqi people by claiming that democracy is still born in Iraq. Democracy is the natural right of all human beings, freedom is their natural state. Your willingness to consign them to slavery, your smug condensation that freedom is OK for you, but too good for them, is as disgusting as any foul sputter ever posted here at the Agora. You seem to have no knowledge of the Iraqi Constitution, which establishes the same basic, god given freedoms for that people as our does for us. It is not the rule of the mob, or the fickle majority that you deprecate, but the rule of Law and the reign of Reason.

The Logic and Empirical evidence you crave has been presented by Reach, A Quiet Listener, and Vegimatic, but you close your eyes and insist that there are actually people in the world who prefer slavery to freedom, hope to dismay. You are such a coward, but why should your cowardice contaminate them. You are hoping for America’s defeat, for Civil War in Iraq, for the triumph of Slavery, so your political party can get some seats in the House of Representatives. How disgusting, “party before country”, it should be tattooed on your forehead.

Here are some facts for you to consider – Look them up on your Wikepedia. Between 1865 and 1869 there were over 1500 lynching of black men in the Southern States; another 1200 during the 1890’s, and over 700 with the resurgence of the KKK between 1910 and WWI. Your kind would have abandoned Emancipation and let the racists win.

Civil War between hate inspired fanatics is not new to the world. Nor is the propensity to run from it; such failure to fight brought tens of millions of death to Russia and tens of Millions more under Mao to China. But courage and the long fight, and many precious lives later, and Communism was brought to heal. The dangers in N. Korea today show the stupidity of the “leave it undone philosophy” you espouse.


Do you chide Vegimatic for his Spirituality; and over abundance of which I did not detect; I rather chide you for you ignorance, which has been amply demonstrated by your refusal to do anything but spout the latest neo-lib talking points and try to force them to apply to an argument demonstrably out of your league.

Truth to Power:

You demonstrate Anonymous’ troubles in cobbling together two talking points in one sentence. All that Anonymouse has demonstrated here is that he can “pull cards”, but does not understand what is written on them.


We may never know when we have won – but we will know when we have lost, when we abandon millions of human beings to the despotic rule of a “make-believe” religion; when the Democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan are replaced by terror states whose “god” given goal is the destruction of the West and Reason.

I suggest you jump in bed somewhere and pull the covers over your head while the free peoples of the world fight for your survival.

Anonymous said...

Good thing U.S. troops are still in Germany and Japan after all these years or those countries would be ripping themselves apart at the seams in an orgy of bloodshed. Thanks to hardworking troops in Rammstein and Okinawa the people of Japan and Germany can sleep safely tonight knowing that tomorrow they may be one step closer to a stable democratic government. Until that time though, G.I.'s will there ecouraging the slow, steady climb to freedom. When they can finally stand up in Munich, when they finally raise that flag in Kyoto that says "Here we are world! It took us sixty years but we are ready to join you as a civilized nation with freedom and justice for all" then we will stand down. Our troops can come home knowing they have completed a task worth fighting for: stopping the relentless and seething violence that daily prevents Germany and Japan from enjoying the safety and security we take for granted in the U.S.

Thanks for reminding of us just what we're fighting for over there Mindmechanic! I wish others would keep it in mind too when they compare the continued presence of of U.S. troops in modern Germany and Japan with the presence of U.S. troops in modern Iraq.

MindMechanic said...

"Thanks to hardworking troops in Rammstein and Okinawa the people of Japan and Germany can sleep safely tonight knowing that tomorrow they may be one step closer to a stable democratic government"

No, fact the people today (like you) probably forgot long ago why our troops are still there.

But thats the point, isnt it? Today they dont live in fear of a facist nazi government reforming and taking the world through hell again. Today they dont worry about a communist dictatorship bent on devouring every nation it could on its quest for world domination.

Because we stayed the course in Europe, we dont face those fears. Because we stayed the course there is peace. Because we stayed the course the people in Germany and Japan are pretty free to be as comfortable and ignorant you.

Theres a lesson there.

Lysis said...


I don’t have much hope that the Anonomy have much chance of understanding the relevance of your facts, or if they do, they will surely not admit to them. But, please understand how valuable facts and logic are to most that read and understand.

Dan Simpson said...

For all the constant attack that anonymi put on Lysis as a history teacher, I wonder if any of the ones who posted in this thread have ever learned ANY history at all.

You ask if the nearly 3000 deaths are worth it: Absolutely.

I have often lamented the mindset that has argued against the use of our troops in conflicts outside of the U.S. because our fighting men and women's blood was too precious. It really just comes down to one thing, nationalism to the point of prejudice.

I wonder what your equation is anonymous. How many foriegner deaths will balance out a U.S. soldier death?

Do you think we should have gone to Rwanda to stop the killing there? There were about 250,000 deaths in a month, but they were only Rwandan, so would they equal out to a willingness to lose 250 soldiers? 25? 2.5?

How about Bosnia? Did you support that one? The Sudan? WW2? The Civil War?

I am curious when you think something is worth an American soldier's life. What is interesting is that while you are yelling and screaming about 'How many must die' the solidiers themselves aren't.

I have a good friend, he is a friend to many of us here, who is now in Kuwait (actually he may be in Iraq, he wasn't allowed to tell us when that move would take place). I can guarantee you he wouldn't share your sentiment.

Perhaps some more historic perspective (not that it would sink in, but on the off chance someone is being swayed by your points).

You talk about Iraq not wanting a democracy.

Do you really think it is the majority of individuals in Iraq that are fighting? Don't you think that if there were over a million people actively fighting against the democracy we would see more than we see now as far as violence? Why aren't there tens of thousands demonstrating in the streets? Why do they show up to vote? Oh, I know you don't think that means anything, but you are truly the only one.

You say it isn't worth the fight because this democracy has degenerated into a despotism.

Read any U.S. history lately? Ever heard of the Robber Barons, Taminy Hall? The U.S. has had there share of times when the people were so ignored by the government and rich men trying to get power that more people were living in poverty conditions in the cities than not.

To make some sort of claim that the democracy will obviously not work because it hasn't yet is asinine. How long do you think it took people who did get along for the most part to get a democracy to work? How long before we even had a constitution after our independence? And we STILL had a civil war.

These are some of my most dearly held words, I find them applicable here.

"THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."

Today everything comes so easy, that we esteem nothing highly. I hope that we must struggle for more things, that the important may become more dearly cherished.

And if I was going to bear MY testimony, anonymous, it would be of Christ, not of U.S. history.

Anonymous said...


MindMechanic said...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

History Repeats Itself Yet Again

This weekend’s events are the reason I started writing in this blog.

North Korea conducted (or at least SAYS they conducted) a nuclear weapons test. Whether or not they were actually successful is still (at this point) is both unknown and immaterial. North Korea is doing EXACTLY what they did in the 90s. They are pulling strings and expecting the puppets to dance.

Throughout the 1990’s Kim Jung Il made numerous threats regarding development of nuclear weapons and world leaders responded EXACTLY like he expected they would. They bribed him. They paid him off in oil and money. They offered technology. And when the money and oil ran out and he wanted MORE he did the EXACT same thing and again the world’s leaders responded EXACTLY as he knew they would. They danced like good puppets.

But (not suprisingly) we found out later that in fact Kim had NOT used the money to feed the poor (which is seen by the literally hundreds of thousands that have died of starvation in North Korea). He did NOT stop weapons research and exploration. He did NOT live by his end of the agreement. He lied.

Around the year 2000 Japan, South Korea, and China all engaged in what was euphamistically fdescribed as Sunshine Politics with North Korea. They offered economic support and diplomacy, hoping that Kim would keep his word and be willing to negotiate with them. In reality, all they did is show weakness…weakness which Kim exploited. And now this. Now Kim has allegedly tested a nuclear weapon. South Korea announced an immediate cessation to their dimplomatic relationship with Kim and suspended all of their support. They announced that their policy of Sunshine Diplomacy was a failure. Shocking.

See…here’s what these people continue to REFUSE to see. Diplomacy ONLY works when you have an equal partner in the diplomatic relationship. Witness Saddams Iraq, Iran, Hitlers Germany, and North Korea.

The sunshine diplomacy theory holds that if you just LOVE someone enough they will stop being evil, murderous, despotic, thugs and will become in turn loving and benevolent leaders. Good theory…but it fails in its practical application.

People point to peace as the only solution. They say war never solved anything. Right…except earning freedom, freeing a nation of slavery, ending the exection of millions and stopping the spread of Naziism, war never really accomplished anything.

Many people cite Ghandi as their model for peace. OK…but really? Consider this quote from a letter to Churchill by Ghandi. “I want you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these, but neither your souls nor your minds. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.”

And this would have had what effect exactly on Hitler? Zero. He would have taken the blood of every Englishman as easily as he did the 6 million jews and not thought a thing of it. He wouldn’t have suffered an attack of conscious. And we would all be brushing up on our German.

Back to the present.

George Bush did not tremble and quake when Kim Il Jung rattled his nuclear sabre. He didn’t offer to buy his silence. He learned early that Kim was not a man of honor and therefore NOT an equal negotiating partner.

Today we have the usual suspects from the democrat party blaming the nuclear test on (surprise) George Bush. Hillary clinton cited her husbands policies and said that if we had continued Bill Clintons policies we would have a partner in peace in Kim Il Jung.

These democrats are either being deliberately dishonest or are really just that stupid. Either way…THESE are the people that want to run the country… people that practice a policy of appeasement.

Ask yourself…if the world had LEADERS throughout the 90’s would we be in this predicament? If the world didn’t pay billions in bribes to Kim Il Jung would sent the message that we were actually SERIOUS in dealing with North Korea? If the world leaders had acted on ANY of the…oh…say…17 UN resolutions that Iraq violated would that have sent the message that they were serious in dealing with Iraq? Instead, most of the European governments eagerly jumped in bed offering bribes and receiving kickbacks via the oil for food program.

1 world leader has stood firm against the spread of terrorism in the world. 1 Stood firm against Saddam. I today stands firm against Irans nuclear expansion. And 1 stands firm against North Korea.

And of course…he is the one the liberals point to as the cause of all the worlds problems.

Anonymous said...

Before you tuck in every last fold of the flag that you are wrapping yourself in -- I would ask, "and what about you"????

My career in the law was interrupted by SERVICE during the VietNam war -- eight years worth to be exact.

Now, I COULD HAVE concocted a medical or ethical excuse, as I have HEARD many COWARDS did, but I HONORABLY did not "Cut and Run" like many at the Agora presently do now (Chest thumping and whimpering excuses that disgrace their rhetoric) -- even their own children!!!! Even our President signed papers to "evade" service in VietNam to further HIS career in politics.

Yes, thank you for clarifying who the "sunshine patriotic cowards" are!!!!

No problem with bearing your testimony -- just dont wrap yourself in the Bible too.

truth to power said...

Anonymous, I certainly honor your Vietnam service. Thank you. But it is rare to find a debate judge who uses a "veteran paradigm"; you still have to engage the other guy's arguments.

You asked, "Do you believe that a "democracy" that has devolved to despotism is worth 2,800+ American lives????". Dan has alluded to the idea that other democracies have devolved to despotism and back again in their history. And I'm still eagerly awaiting your response to his question: "How many foreigner deaths will balance out a U.S. soldier death?"

Since you tried to use two contradictory arguments at the same time, I'm still not clear on your opinion of democracy in Iraq. Do you believe the people don't want it, they do but it's impossible, or it may be possible but it's not worth the sacrifices we must make to help them? Or is your position a different one I've failed to list here?

MindMechanic said...


I can only imagine the anger and hatred you must feel toward Kennedy, Johnson, and the inept policies of the democrats that placed you in that war. I also imagine the anger you must feel at academics, the liberal media, and all the rest that so horribly abused the men who honorably served there.

I imagine you must share equal disgust for Bill Clinton who not only burned his draft card but also lied to get into a ROTC program and then as soon as he was in and free from the draft then sent a letter to that ROTC commander disparaging the military and his disgust towards the role of the military.

I'll send you a link to the letter if you'd like.

I dont run around disparaging those who did not serve. Tell me...did you join on your own or were you drafted? If you were drafted I would guess you voluntarily re-upped because your initial time commitment would have been met long before the 8 years.

John Kerry voluntarily served...right up until Nixon won the election in 1968. His position on the war and his involvement shifted overnight.

If you joined up voluntarily then I am curious as to your motivation. Not your service and not to be critical...just your motivation.

I suspect that those here would serve and do so honorably if in fact the nation implemented a draft. At this time they do not. I dont question their patriotism.

My typical response when I hear people offer 'thanks' for my service is "Thank YOU for caring...Thanks for helping look after my family while i was gone. (I've been deployed a total of about 7 years and under 4 commanders in chiefs). Thanks for working and contributing to the economy. Thanks for contributing to society. Thanks for voting. Thanks for making the sacrifice worth while."

We ALL have jobs.

Me...I wasnt drafted. I joined voluntarily and served 20 years. I have a small sense of your frustration.

My commandant told a story you can probably relate to...being on guard duty one night...three wires deep. He observed enemy combatants approaching the outer wires and radio'd the threat in. He was ordered not to fire for fear of disrupting an ongoing diplomatic visit. They proceeded to the second set of wires and he again was ordered not to fire. When they got to the third set of wires he and his troops opened fire. He was Court Martialed (later reversed) for his actions.

He told me that story in response to my expression of anger frustration at being forced one night to protect Kurds in Iraq and the next night provide cover for Turkish military killing Kurds in Turkey. Same people...same ideologies. The difference...a border.

Its not about phony or false patriotism. Its about whether or not there is a valid mission and the mission needs to be completed.

I am curious...maybe we have some common ground. What would YOU see the country do? do you have anything by way of constructive thoughts on resolution of the terrorist threat?

Anonymous said...

Posting at the Agora is NOT a form of DABATE I am familiar with --Perhaps you would care to elaborate.

Who's to judge? Lysis and the "Lies R Us" fan club? Faux news? Kiddie posters from LHS?

I am sure you have UNLIMITED resources for THOSE kind of judges. I know Lysis does.

I do this for amusement -- if it were a debate I would have to get nasty!!!!

Anonymous said...

You "imagine" that if the draft were re-initiated that those at the Agora would serve "honorably"?

Yes, too bad commanders in the field in Iraq can do nothing BUT "imagine" fighting battles with those fine, 'honorable' Agora troopers!!!! (possibly only yourself excepted)

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...


They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I am flattered by your; “WHAT!!!!????”. However like most humor, it only works in the right situation. Your long and meaningless rant on the last thread elicited a “What?” from all readers. Dan’s comments are, on the other hand quite coherent and carry the discussion in the very direction I had hoped it would develop. A more appropriate question at this point would be, Flaccid, what’s your problem?

With my apologies to Dan if I miss, let me try to answer your question, what.

1. Dan has asked you to tell us what you think a soldier’s life is worth. How many Americans can be “spent” to buy freedom or peace?

2. Dan has pointed out that many precious lives have been spent in war – and implied that the cost, although infinite in worth, has bought us wonderful things also infinitely precious.

3. Dan has pointed out to you that the lives of our soldiers are not spent by Presidents; they are offered by heroes because they know the value of the things for which they are willing to suffer.

4. Dan has indicated how foolish it is to pretend that the Iraqi people are not fighting for their own freedom. In spite of the neo-lib media misinformation, Dan points clearly to the fact that the vast majority of the people in Iraq are eager to accept the freedom the U.S. has brought them. They are fighting hard to keep it, and need our help.

5. Dan then goes on to point out that freedom did not come to our nation without struggle. Something the neo-libs would have us believe, but which history proves to be a lie.

6. Dan then gives a most stirring call to serve in the cause of freedom; a reminder of that there are those who are willing to pay the ultimate price to buy others infinitely valuable freedom. Greater Love has no man than this.

7. His comment on Christ I will leave to Dan to reassert if he chooses.


I would expand on your post simply by stating that it is clear to me that Kim Jung Il is truing to influence the elections in America, and I hope it back fires all over him. It would surely be in the benefit of the terrorist and bullies of the world to weaken the United States. There is no more certain way of weakening the U. S. than placing Pelosi, Read, Clinton, and Kerry in power. Our enemies are not ignorant to history. They know where to go to be coddled, obliged, and kowtowed to.

Once more I am indebted to you for your references to Churchill and Gandhi. The policies of reason can only work on reasonable people. Neither Hitler, bin Laden, or Kim are reasonable. Kim has proven himself to be liar. He dubbed Clinton, Carter, and the Nobel Prize committee. You are right – in the world of governments there are few besides George Bush with the courage or the reason to stand against Kim. What the Anonomy and the neo-libs call on the U.S. to do is tantamount to surrendering the fate of our nation to the KKK.


I have the deepest gratitude to those who have served this country in the military, and for those who continue to do so. However, I will not allow you to shout down others who’s service, though different, is every bit as valuable. Benedict Arnold and Jon Kerry also served in the American Military. So did Robert E. Lee. Their service under arms did not render them impervious to error nor save their country or its allies for the evil they have done. There are many ways to serve one’s country. There are those blessed thousands who have given their lives for America and died in battle. Their blood is represented by the red stripes in our flag. But there are also those who have found another way to give their lives to their country. There is nothing deplorable in LIVING for America. I would rather judge Dan’s service to his county by the benefit it accrues than the location or conditions under which it is given.

As for our President’s service: He served honorably during the Vietnam war, and he has continued to serve throughout his life. He is in danger every day for the enemies of this country, neither he nor his children, nor his children’s children will ever be safe from the hate driven enemies of America. He has truly given his life to American as one who has “lived for his country”. Your deprecation of his life of glorious service to make some pitiful political point is deplorable. There is nothing wrong with a life served in politics. Politicians can also be the heroes of our nation. We should rather judge their service by its fruits.

Truth to Power;

You ask the question and prove that you at least understood Dan’s question. It is of course merely a hypothetical question, the true questions being; how much is our freedom worth, how much is the humanity of man worth, and how much is “to much” to pay for the chance to live a life of reason?

I would ask another valuable if less majestic question; how many lives have been saved in America and throughout the world by the courageous sacrifice of our soldiers and the valiant SERVICE of our President?

MindMechanic said...


"too bad commanders in the field in Iraq can do nothing BUT "imagine" fighting battles with those fine, 'honorable' Agora troopers!!!!"

The commanders in the field in Iraq do not WANT draftees. They are very happy with their fighting force.

Sorry...I just know too many people personally there today. I know they are committed to the mission, KNOW the mission and know of the tremendous successes. Far more than their unhappiness at troop levels are their disgust of liberals that hate their existence but use them in the game of politics and polling.

MindMechanic said...

I do this for amusement -- if it were a debate I would have to get nasty!!!!

Why? Why does an exchange of ideas ever have to get 'nasty'?

There are points offered. Facts offered. Countering those points (and using facts) makes for a healthy discussion...even an opportunity to learn.

MindMechanic said...


On a somewhat lighter note...

I know well of the mindset you describe when you talk of people bitter to the point of moving because their school boundaries might change.

Davis High is the beacon...the holiest of holy's. Pity the poor who are not meant to tread its hallowed halls.

At least...that is the story I have lived with for 27 years with my in-laws!

My experience (aided by the frequency we had to relocate) is that you can get an absolute top notch education from virtually any school you attend. The deciding factor is not the school or the property value but rather the effort of the individual.

My wife hates my "pointy headed dart" song.

Anonymous said...

Do the cost benefit analysis yourself and quit caving to Lysis' pseudo macho "kill 'em all" "War for all time" rhetoric.

If you truly believe that America should be at War 'till it rids the WORLD of injustice at ANY and EVERY expense of U.S. lives and economy, just say so and be known forever as a DUNDERHEAD.

Lysis' ilk are already happily plotting the next misadventures in North Korea, Iran, Turkey, China, Cuba, Africa, France and possibly the North/South pole -- perhaps even the terrorists on the Davis County School Board!!!!

Anonymous said...

"There are many ways to serve . . ."

That's exactly what every cowardly draft dodger during the Viet Nam War said!!!! Lysis do you have a confession to make????

Bush "cut and run" on his responsibilities during the war, no matter how you cut it. He was TRAINED to be a Pilot at no small expense to taxpayers, and then CHOSE NOT to fulfill his mission for purely SELFISH reasons -- I wonder what tained pilots in his replacement lost their lives doing the RIGHT thing????

MindMechanic said...

Anon...what is YOUR solution?

Clintons solution was to buy North Korea off. Every time Kim rattled his saber Clinton danced. He gave him money, he gave him oil, and he gave them two nuclear reactors. And what did Kim do? He just kept right on keeping on. He continued to work on his weapons program...a revelation that forced Madeline Albright to admit she and Clinton got screwed in their agreement.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright admitted for the first time on Sunday that under the Clinton administration's Agreed Framework arms control treaty with Kim Jong-il, North Korea "cheated."

Asked point-blank if North Korea developed nuclear weapons during the Clinton administration, Albright told NBC's "Meet the Press," "No, what they were doing, as it turns out, they were cheating."

"The worst part that has happened under the Agreed Framework," Albright said, was that "there [were] these fuel rods, and the nuclear program was frozen."

But because of North Korea's cheating, she explained, "those fuel rods have now been reprocessed, as far as we know, and North Korea has a capability, which at one time might have been two potential nuclear weapons, up to six to eight now, we're not really clear."

See...THIS is what happens when you allow someone like Kim Jung il to dictate behavior.

We KNOW what happens when you 'negotiate' with North Korea. So I ask again...what would YOU do?

Anonymous said...

Well, if it WERE an exchange of ideas, even I can be reasonbly pleasant. But, it OBVIOUSLY isn't -- having fun yet????

MindMechanic said...

"Bush "cut and run" on his responsibilities during the war, no matter how you cut it."

Do you hold the same disdain for ALL who did not serve?

And you are a liberal???

What about your service makes you feel you have some sort of righteous advantage over those that did not? You obviously had a wasnt forced on CHOSE your time in the service. Good for you. Others offered far more than you or I. Others served longer. Do THEY have more right and authority and have a greater or more valuable voice than you?

NO ONE that I have seen here has advocated all out war. No one has advocated the kill em all philosophy you talk about. They do stand behind a policy of combating terrorists where they live. Whats YOUR position?

What is YOUR solution to combating murderous terrorists? What is your solution to confronting Iran, a country with a leader that glories in bringing forward the end of the world and the advent of the 12th Imam? What is your solution to combating North Korea and Kim Jung il, a man that has proven he can not be trusted in any form of negotiation?

Do you HAVE a solution? Do you HAVE an answer Are you JUST a typical goldbrick whiner (and we both know the military has been FULL of them...right)?

Have you actually got something positive to add to a discussion...ANY discussion? Or are you JUST a whiner?

Are you consistent? Do you have the same hatred and contempt for Clinton and in fact the democrats that took us to Viet Nam and that fiasco, to Serbia and our 13 year committment there? Are are you just a political hack that hates anything conservative but glorifies anything liberal?

Just curious.

MindMechanic said...

Well, if it WERE an exchange of ideas, even I can be reasonbly pleasant. But, it OBVIOUSLY isn't -- having fun yet????

Obviously it is not because you and the anon collective seem to lack the ability to engage in constructive conversations.

A better question might be are YOU having fun? I wonder...are you just so bitter and full of hatred that you enjoy spewing bile instead of contributing to a discussion?

Me...I get a lot from the well thought out ideas of others...even when I dont agree with them. At the very least it is something to contemplate.

There is a myriad of ideas and positions to debate (or discuss if you would prefer). I've seen opinion and positions offered by just about everyone here...everyone but the anonymy who with very few exceptions seem content with insults.

Lysis said...


Why don’t you answer Dan’s questions instead of putting words in other people posts or plots in other people’s plans?

As for “many ways to serve” it may well have been the cry of every cowardly draft dodger during the Vietnam War; that does not make it any less true.

I have many confessions to make – but non to you. I am neither a draft dodger nor a coward. I will let my service speak for itself. Your opinion might prove amusing, but it carries little weight to those who know the truth.

As for your DNC crafted talking points against President Bush – they and you completely dodge the facts that President Bush has no excuses to make in his service to his country or to the world. Millions are free who would be slaves but for his courage, millions more live that would have died in torment but for his service.


The word is no “leaking” out that N. Korea’s “nuclear test” was at best a dud, at worst a fraud. It looks like either North Korea’s scientists can’t make an effective bomb or that all they did was burry some 500 to 1000 tons of TNT in the ground to tried to influence the U. S. Congressional race. It seems they are taking lessons from Bill Clinton; Dan Rather could have warned them what would happen.

truth to power said...

I don't understand the idea that North Korea's trying to influence US elections. Not that I don't believe it; I just don't understand. Who do the North Korean dictators want in power? Those with a proven track record for bribing them. But those are the same people who want to downplay the threat posed by the Axis of Evil. Why would Communist saber-rattling influence voters to vote for the appeasement politicians?

Lysis said...


As we consider Flaccid’s “debate” style consider this from Bill O’Reilly’s new book – *Culture Warrior*. O’Reilly is quoting a debate strategy put forward by Professor George Lakoff. Consider this point when examining Flaccid’s “nasty” tactics.

“Never answer a question framed from your opponent’s point of view . . . this may make you uncomfortable, since normal discourse styles require you to directly answer questions posed. That is a trap.”

Anonymous said...

I would have a pre-emptive nuclear strike and let a few mushroom clouds drift over China and Russia just to show them who's boss. If they object go to full scale launch.

Use a Star Wars contraption to protect some U.S. cities from retaliation and announce to unprotected Americans that they are giving their lives for the betterment of the World and Democracy and will be regarded as war heroes and "collaterals" by Layton Lysis AKA Dr. Strangelove!!!!

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

The North Koreans want anyone in power who will weaken the U.S. Those who bribed them did it because they were weak. The truth is Kim is scared spit less, as are all tyrants. They know they walk on a razors edge, only murder keeps them in power, and justice waits behind every wall; in every shadow. If those who seek the spread of freedom remain in power in the U.S., Kim knows his days are numbered. He is well aware of the fate of the USSR, and the evolution of Communism in China. Kim hates to be identified as a member of the Axis of Evil and he is well aware of what became of Saddam. He can see the writing on the wall; he would much prefer a weak and flaccid American administration, or to at least see his allies in the Democrat party in a position to hamstring President Bush.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
truth to power said...

I still don't get it.
Yes, of course North Korea wants Democrats in power. So why stage a nuclear test? Doesn't that obviously improve Republican chances?

Lysis said...


Your plan to launch nuclear war has surely made us all happy that George Bush, and not you, is the leader of the free world; for all your military experience.

Is your concoction of a position you then ascribe to me (Lysis) an admission that you can neither answer direct questions nor present a position of your own. Once more you dodge the issue by name calling and fabricating. How nasty of you!

MindMechanic said...


Thanks for proving my point. Every time you post you discredit yourself.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to finding out what "liberals" WILL do in a couple months. Whatever, it couldn't get worse than the "war forever" foreign policy prospects the Administration is hell-bent pursuing.

War is not the answer.

MindMechanic said...

The democrat plan...

"We have a plan..."

Whats the plan?

"Its a great plan. It will solve all the problems."

OK...but whats the plan?

"This plan will ensure we are safe, secure, and prosperous."

Great!!! I like whats the plan?

" guys all suck!"

Dont feel TOTALLY inept Anon...your liberal Gods are as devoid of constructive thoughts as you are.

MindMechanic said...

"I look forward to finding out what "liberals" WILL do in a couple months"

And yet...isnt it their job TODAY as elected legislators? What possible foundation of hope do you have that they will actually HAVE answers? Ever wonder what they are getting paid for?

Oh...wait...they do...I forgot.

Raise taxes...appease terrorists and thugs. Pretend there are no problems.

good plan.

MindMechanic said...

"War is not the answer."

Damn Bill Clinton and the democrats for waging war against the Serbs. Because of them we are stuck in a now 13 year bog that has us pouring literally hundreds of billions into a country that is far less stable today than when Slobodan Milosevic was the ruler.

Anonymous said...

"I am NOT a coward!
Reminds me of another discredited Republican who claimed
"I am NOT a crook".

. . . and we all know how that turned out . . . or maybe WE don't.

Being somewhat familiar with what IMPRESSES you, YOUR discredit is one of my FINEST accomplishments. I shall cherish it!!!!

Dan Simpson said...

I'll make this quick, as I am going home from work.

For the most part the non-anonymi people here got my points.

Though my questions are still unanswered.

A few clarifications.

The point of how much is a soldiers life is worth was that many in this country are aghast at one soldier dying, even if it saves tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people of another country/culture. While I lament the death of any soldier, I do not inherently believe an american soldiers life to be more valuable than another simply because that other lives in Darfur, Rwanda, or Baghdad.

Second, as anonymi obviously forget the attacks they make quickly, the reference to testimony was a preemptive strike against the anonymi who choose to ridicule those who may or may not be religious based on "close your statements in the name of Jesus Christ amen" I was merely trying to educate you on the difference between a testimony, and a political and historical argument.

I do find it interesting and informative, however, that an individual that claims to have served in Vietnam for 8 years would call into question everyone's patriotism or willingness to serve based on . . .absolutely nothing.

Before you have apoplexy over my 'claimed' statement. I know quite a few vets, and several active duty soldiers, and none of them would be that brazen and incredibly, stupidly, insulting to those who have not been in the military for no other reason than that. But I could be wrong, you could be a Vet, just one that is an ass.

MindMechanic said...

Anon...what I would cherish is if you ever actually had something productive or constructive to say.

I am glad that you derive some sort of pleasure from being judged infantile and lacking the ability for constructive and independent thought. I suspect you have a long future of cherishing that judgement.

Anonymous said...


No fair calling Lysis out as a coward! He had a good excuse for not serving. He had to wear glasses or something, really, really thick glasses.

You're not alone standing firm Mindmechanic. I'm right there with you and the brave man staring the rest of the true cowards down! For six years we have stood firm as North Korea has developed uranium. We stood firm for four years as they built atomic bombs. We're still standing even as they test atomic weapons underground and we'll be standing firm if they shoot one off on the tip of a missile tomorrow!

As you pointed out Mindmech, the standing does not stop there either. There are more cowardly deeds for George Bush and us to stand against. We've stand together as Iran continues to develop a nuclear program! We stand together as the Taliban reconstitutes in Afghanistan! We've stood as Al-Queda took over Somalia! We've stood as Palestine was taken over by terrorists!

And it is a good thing George stood firm against these things or who knows what these crazy people would have accomplished!?

Stand firm with us all!! Together we will stand firm as the civil war goes on in Iraq. Even as the ground crumbles beneath our feet WE WILL STAND FIRM!! It is the ONLY right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

I believe it was YOUR post that referred to "sunshine patriots" et al, and sought to call into question the loyalty of ANYONE/EVERYONE who disagreed, with OBVIOUS intent.

Stop playing the injured party!!!!

I asked YOU to fess up about YOUR record and sacrifices for the country. Everyone's Patriotism? Hardly.

I know diversionary tactics might fool some (especially at the Agora)into believing you had answered the question that Lysis doesn't answer either. It is clear, even with the smoke screen, what the answer is!!!!

Whenever the word COWARD is introduced at the Agora it is always by Lysis -- your posting seemed to bless it.

I have seen Lysis use this tactic many, many, many times to insult and drive "unfriendly" posters away.

Put up or shut up!!!!

In a forum of this kind I think THAT terminology ends discussion and introduces something else -- I am not happy having used it myself, but when wielded against me I shall respond in kind -- something Kerry SHOULD have done.

MindMechanic said...


Sarcasm aside...what is YOUR preferred response? Surely not military action.

We have gone the diplomacy route. It doesnt work because Kim has proven...PROVEN that he wont honor his word. position on this is even simpler...If you remember a little while back France, Germany, and the UN said that they would NOT LET a nuclear Iran or North Korea stand.

I say we just go public and tell everyone not to worry, because John Kerry's big ally in the war on terror, France, has this one covered.

Of course...we know they will do nothing or worse, just as they did in Iran. When push came to shove...they caved.

So again...what IS the correct response? Kim has made threats...I gather then that you think the best solution is to just cave in and give him what he wants?

My big response? Honestly? Nothing. Let China, Japan, South Korea, Europe, let them all deal with Kim. Pay him off, bribe him, whatever.

Only exception...he points one of his little toys at us. Then its go time.

Kim has shown his cards. He is playing with an open hand. And you would deal with exactly?

Keep in mind...we had just cause for military action in Iraq. You call it doing nothing but the fact remains that there is not a valid reason to do ANYTHING against Iran OR North Korea.

And be honest...just this once. No matter WHAT George Bush does or doesnt do with Korea you will stand against him.

THATS the problem.

Dan Simpson said...

Well, once again you have miscontrued not only my words, but Paine's.

My post was in response to the question if the conflict was worth the 3000 cost.

The important part of Paine's words are the reminder that that which we gain to easily we esteem cheaply, and that only those things that we must sacrifice for are of any true worth.

The hardness of the act, the sacrifice one must put forth, these are some of the things that can make something worthwhile, not a reason to disdain the action.

I said that I believed these sacrifice's were worth it. I never said someone who disagreed was not a patriot. I quoted Paine because he is more eloquent then I could ever hope to be, and I thought his quote pertinant.

Those words were first read to a group of men who the next day would cross the Deleware and fight in the Battle of Trenton. They were read at the order of Washington because he knew the power that they held. He knew that the man who wrote them also understood sacrifice and the price that some must pay to secure those things that are most worthwhile.

I believe that the people of Iraq want freedom. I believe that because they want it, the lives of our soldiers are worth that goal.

You can disagree, but you being a vet does not give you any sort of special standing in that opinion.

I have not served, I will freely admit that, I am not ashamed of it. I am interviewing with an Army JAG officer in about a week, but even should I end up in the Army, that would lend no more credence to my opinion about the whether or not sacrifice is worth freedom.

I gave examples where as a country we decided it was not worth it, Rwanda, Sudan. I think these are black marks on our country that will not soon be erased.

There are many instances in which we decided as a country that it was worth it. Bosnia, Kuwait/Iraq, Somalia (at least for a short time), Europe, and Korea.

I think the fact that so many have been willing to give their lives, that so many have understood that that sacrifice was worth it, is one of the things that makes our country so great.

You can deride me and claim that I wrap myself in the flag. I will accept that, I adore this country. But here is the difference between me and you. I do not claim that you do not. I do not claim that you are not a patriot. I think you are misguided, misinformed, or just flat out wrong.

I think you are so busy hating Bush that you cannot see. You paint me and everyone here with a broad brush of Bush loving blind follower. You continually forget, though I have pointed it out in the past, that I have disagreed and argued against Bush and Lysis as often as I have agreed.

I have a mind of my own, opinions and stances of my own. Sometimes they are in line with Bush, or Lysis, sometimes not.

The difference (at least publicly here at the Agora) between me and you is that my opinions do not come to me based on others. I do not hate everything that comes from a Democrat, I do not accept everything that comes from a Republican.

I can see that some things that happened under Clinton were good, and that some things that happen under Bush are bad.

You have blinded yourself, and then have assumed everyone else is as self-handicapped as you.

Lysis said...


I had hoped to answer you already on your question on, “how much is a soldiers life worth”. It is of infinite worth, as is that of every human being. Thus it is that we are in great debt to any who give or risk their lives in the combat to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless human beings. Thus our soldiers have risked their lives throughout the world and throughout time. This is the very purpose of my post this week, to remind all that the freedom we enjoy, the integration of peoples and cultures we espouse, the opportunities from which we benefit, the culture of reason in which we live have all been purchased by the most loving of sacrifices. The end of slavery in America cost hundreds of thousands of lives, as you, Dan and the Mindmechanic, have pointed out, the end of Nazism and the preservation of goodness in the world the right to live by reason has been bought by blood. It is a false position, to which the neo-libs now cling to, that these things will come as by magic. The sacrifice of the Afghan and Iraqi people is testament that the desire for these things is universal to all men.

That the power of this argument, this presentation of the value and the cost of reason has so enraged Flaccid and his students is most gratifying. That I am savage by the very same canned and unreasonable attacks that the neo-libs marshal against our president is quite flattering. That we are also in debt to those who service us with their lives in other ways, ways which Flaccid seems incapable of understanding or acknowledging does not diminish that service. To refer to the heroes noted above, neither Thrugood Marshall nor Martin King ever put on a uniform. John Kerry did, and betrayed his country to defeat and the peoples of Southeast Asia to mass murder and slavery. I would not compare my servers to Marshall’s, or King’s, nor do I compare Flaccid’s villainy to Kerry’s or Murtha’s. But to claim that because he served his eight years in the military he has some superior right to speak out is foolish.


I never asked you to shut up, and in post after post you have clearly demonstrated to us all that you can’t put anything up. I am not asking you to tell us of your heroic deeds in Vietnam, as I have no idea who you are; I have no reason to believe anything you say. I am simply asking you to deal with the fact that the world were reason prevails can only be defended by great sacrifice and history demonstrates that as in Iraq, the ability of Americans to overcome racism, of Irishmen to overcome religious hate have been long and bloody processes. That the neo-libs pretend otherwise, as I claim they do, is disingenuous and political.

Anonymous said...

Vegimatic Here,

Anonymi, please keep attacking us personally. Because that's all you have.

And please end your testimony "in the name of Satan amen"

Why not be honest????

Rumpole said...

Mind Mechanic,

Great post on the “virtues” of Davis High. My kids currently attend, and walk, those “hallowed” halls.

The debate over boundaries wages in my neighborhood. Residents are up in arms over a boundary change, and fear being of banished to Viewmont (don’t ask me to explain that “rational” fear, it seems silly as the change would seemingly shift students north rather than south).

The petition I have seen cites “safety concerns”. I haven’t seen such spin since the Clinton Administration.

I feel unworthy in my neighborhood to voice my opinion on the matter. I am a graduate of the “demographically inferior” Ogden High. Therefore, being forced into silence because of my pedigree, I have been left to watch with amusement as those who are in their own mind most affected continue to kick against the pricks.

Dan Simpson said...

Whenever I get into a friendly spat with someone about Layton High (my alma mader) and Davis (my mother's) I cite my years as a janitor at each school.

It of course means little as far as the education one gets, but I always believe there is something to be learned.

Davis High is the filthiest High School I have ever been to in the state (and debate took me to a lot of them). Every day I would come to work I would wait to see what form of food vandalism the proper children of Kaysville's best would be spread throughout my area of responsibility.

Of course one would expect normal spills and accidents, and I was a janitor, my job was to clean. However, the students of that school seemed to delight in destroying their own halls and living in the filth that ensued.

Layton, on the other hand, was pristine. Not only would the administration not put up with a filthy school, the students wouldn't either. This may have to do with the fact that the head custodian for many years was an ex-marine who ran a tight ship, but either way. I always like bringing up the comparison to people.

Ogden is much cleaner than Davis too.

MindMechanic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MindMechanic said...

Todays announcement from Pyonyang is now out to prove North Korea's intent. Typically...they blame the US for their decision to test fire a nuke and even though Japan, China, and South Korea have all threatened repercussions they state that the may attack the US if the US doesnt cede to their wishes and engage in 1 on 1 talks.

Which is what they wanted all along. 1 on 1 talks will (they hope) bring back a return to the bribery of the Clinton era.

Its what the Anonymy would offer. I am certain it is what the democrats would offer as well.

Never mind the FACT that he completely ignored his end of the bargain the LAST time that happened. Never mind that Clintons own Sec of State who brokered the dirty deal has admitted they got screwed in the bargain. If the anonymy had its way (and the democrats lets not forget) we would pay him, he would continue to do what he has always done, and he would continue to become more and more dangerous. But someone elses problem to deal with later.

As it sits now...his greatest allys' (China and in an economic sense Japan and South Korea) are turning against him. Bush's standing alone is FORCING those most dramatically affected by Kim to DEAL with him. As it should be!

Anonymous said...

"Hell, we'll try something and if it doesn't work we'll try something else." -Harry Truman

On the other hand, the STOLID Bush foreign policy of "stay the course" should be called the "dead duck" Iraqi foreign policy of stagnation and chaos.

A day in the life/death of Iraqi Democracy:
(Dated October 10,2006 YESTERDAY!!!!)

The brother of Iraqs SUNNI Arab vice president was assassinated Monday by gunmen who broke into his home, the THIRD of the politician's FOUR siblings to be slain this year. SUNNIS BLAMED SHIITE MILITIAS and demanded a crackdown to stop the capital's raging sectarian violence,

Iraqi authorities, meanwhile, arrested the head of the mess hall at a base where up to 400 mainly Shiite policemen suffered food poisoning during a Ramadan meal amid concerns it may have been the first know attempt by insurgents to carry out a mass poisoning against police.

Baghdad was torn by new violence. A car bomb ripped through a market in a Shiite district killing at least 10 people and wouldning 23 --an attack likely carried out by Sunni insurgents.

Gunmen also kidnapped 11 policemen in a brazen assault on their checkpoint in Sadr City, a Baghdad neighborhood dominated by the Mahdi Army, the country's most powerful Shiite militia.
Elsewhere in Iraq, the U.S. military announced that three Marines died Sunday after fighting in the western region of Anbar, a hotbed of Sunni Insurgents, bringing to 32 the number of American servicemen who have died in Iraq THIS MONTH.

The death of the brother of Vice PresidenT Tariq al-Hashimi -- the country's most prominent Sunni Arab politician -- alarmed SUNNIS and fueled their demands that the government crack down of SHIITE militias.

Critics of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accuse the Shiite leader of hesitating on reining in the militias because many of them -- like the Mahdi army -- belong to PARTIES OF HIS GOVERNMENT.

"The clock is starting to strike after today's events." Khalaf al-Alayan, A SUNNI PARLIAMENT MEMBER said. They (SHIITE Militias) consider SUNNIS terrorists, who must be killed. "If the zero hour is coming, we will take the decisions needed to defend ourselves."

"We say to the government, you still did not disarm the militias." Salim Abdullah Tawfiq, a Sunni politician, said in a statement read in parliament. "And here is what it has led to."


75% of Iraqi's want Democracy and are fighting the Al Qaada terrorists!

What a bloated flatuating FICTION that is!!!!

Some ask, "What's the alternative?"
Well, first abandon the Bush policy of Stag . . . Nation and paralysis. Next, have enough Courage at LEAST to "stand up" and follow Truman's advice.

Lysis: I have NEVER read even ONE of your postings that I didn't hear as talking points on Hannity/Limbaugh first -- come up with something of your own please.

I do not read the "liberal" media talking points ever!!!!

Anonymous said...

You act as though this has been going on a long time. In fact, no uranium was being enriched in North Korea until 2002 when the UN seals were broken following the break down of international talks where U.S. negotiators were not given the authority to actually broker a deal. The cheating that was going in North Korea was continued nuclear research and not enrichment.

And I don't understand you. Even if everything you say is true what was the worst that could have come out of the Clinton plan? A nuclear armed North Korea with intercontinental ballistic missile capability? Well, that is exactly what we have anyways. So, how exactly are you proposing that the current plan has been any better - a plan that you describe as "standing firm." That doesn't sound like much of a plan. And if it is a plan what is it accomplimshing other than turning the Axis of Evil into an Excess of Evil?

The biggest failure has been in not recognizing and owning up to the threat that Bush allowed to grow - even encouraged with his cavalier devil-may-care diplomacy - and is now greater than ever.

President Bush said that the U.S. will not tolerate a nuclear armed North Korea (May, 2003). Christopher Hill, the lead Bush negotiator with North Korea, said last week that North Korea will have to choose between a nuclear program and a future, full stop. Tough words backed up by "standing firm." Did it get us anywhere? All that standing around? If only there was something else we could have done... perhaps we could have changed course before the scenario that nobody wanted actually happened. Now it appears that in the future we will have to tolerate a nuclear armed North Korea - and whoever is dealing with them.

MindMechanic said...

"Hell, we'll try something and if it doesn't work we'll try something else." -Harry Truman

You later say this is what you suggest. Fine. WHAT then? This is what we ALWAYS hear from the left...but when it comes to what that "something else" is...quiet as church mice. So WHAT would you propose? No one on the left has offered anything...maybe you can start a trend.

All of the rest of the things you post...well...I CHALLENGE YOU to find ANYWHERE where Bush did not say it would be hard work and it was a tough job.

I still wouldnt call it a civil A civil war occurs when seperate sides declare warfare on each other. To be honest and blunt, this would be far easier if that were to occur.

By most acoounts the vast majority of provinces in Iraq are relatively peaceful with murder rates far below those you see in major American cities.

But it IS still tough and ugly. And it will STAY tough and ugly until the IRAQI PEOPLE decide it is time for a change. The US military has provided for them an OPPORTUNITY for peace and freedom and democracy. What they do with it is entirely up to them. No US policy, Bush's or anyone elses will impact that. THEY must decide on a path to peace.

You get that...right?

In the US, we could not have won our freedom and independence without the help of France. But it was still OUR JOB to secure the freedoms we enjoy today. Iraq is no different.

Dan Simpson said...

Anonymous, you continue to miss the point.

No one is claiming, or has claimed, that there isn't violence, problems, suffering, insurgents, militias attacking each other, or sectarian hatred.

There are obviously people fighting. But I guess it goes to the meaning of Civil War. If Civil War is proven by death and fighting between factions that hate one another, look to places that have huge gang crime. Bloods and Crips killing each other in LA in the 80's and 90's didn't mean there was a civil war in California.

The point I made is not that 75% are fighting the terrorists, but that 75% are not fighting, they are trying to live in the government they have voted for.

This again goes to my use of Paine's words. If there if fighting, it must be civil war. If it is hard, it must not be worth it.

No one here has denied the violence, or the tensions between Sunni and Shiite. That tension, that violence does not equal civil war.

MindMechanic said...

"You act as though this has been going on a long time."

It has. Madeline Albright herself conceded that North Korea did not even so much as slow down on their nuclear weapons development program.

"In fact, no uranium was being enriched in North Korea until 2002"

Plutonium devlepoment is but the last step. They were not supposed to be doing ANY of this. In fact they never stopped.

"The cheating that was going in North Korea was continued nuclear research and not enrichment."

And that makes it...better? Different? Cheating is cheating. North Korea proved they cannot be trusted.

"And I don't understand you. Even if everything you say is true what was the worst that could have come out of the Clinton plan? A nuclear armed North Korea with intercontinental ballistic missile capability?"

Actually we dont. We have a failed intercontinental ballistic test, no intercontinental delivery system, and a nuclear test that by all accounts was either a dud or a suitcase bomb.

What we DO HAVE now for the first time is China (North Korea's Uncle Sugar) pressing for action against North Korea. We have the nation states in the region involved. We have NOT given the indication that everyone else can just sit back and relax and we'll take care of it. Our refusal to engage 1 on 1 (which is what Kim wants) has forced others to step up. And remember...we HAVE been totally willing to be a part of the 6 state meetings. It is North Korea that refuses the 6 state meetings and wants to deal only with US.

The biggest failure has been in not recognizing and owning up to the threat that Bush allowed to grow.

Hogwash and BTW not a little bit dishonest on your part. If Bush HAD acted, no matter what he had done you and the left would have been critical. The left has offered no solutions and no willingness to engage in a united manner.

Bush REMAINS the only world leader willing to call the spade the spade. His Axis of Evil comment was as true then as it is now. he acted in Iraq...because he COULD.

Cite ANY legal justification for action against North Korea or Iran. Never cant because there isnt any. What Kim represents is an ireological difference, but to this point not a criminal one and certainly not an actionable one.

We HAVE imposed sanctions but since the rest of the world leaders are too damned cowardly to actually engage, we would have been once again left to go it alone.

So to recap...Bush has refused to cave to a pint sized thugs threats and you think thats a BAD thing. Bush has refused to adopt the Clinton policy of bribery and payoffs knowing that Kim wouldnt comply with his side of the bargain and you think THAT is a BAD thing. Bush HAS imposed US sanctions and encouraged the world to engage and you think THAT is a BAD thing. Bush HAS offered to engage in 6 state talks with North Korea but North Korea has refused and THAT is also Bush's fault and you say THAT is a BAD thing. Bush's refusal to cave to the little tyrant (who you cede cheats on his arrangements) and has now caused the states immediately surrounding North Korea to engage and you say THAT is a BAD thing.

So...acting alone in Iraq...BAD thing...Bad Bush...cowboy mentality. He offers to engage in 6 nation talks with North Korea, North Korea refuses and Bush does NOT engage North Korea alone...thats a BAD thing...bad Bush...isolationist Bush.

I'm curious just what it is you want.

Pay him off and let him continue to long as he keeps quiet about it?

MindMechanic said...

Anon...on North Korea...just a simple question...

Do you think that Kim Jung il can be trusted in ANY negotiation. A simple yes or no. Would YOU trust him to comply with ANY negotiated agreement?

Just a yes or no.

I'll go first...My answer is 'NO'

Lysis said...

Like those who fought to end racism and the centuries of racial hatred, Iraqis fighting to bring reason to their nation and to their people face terrible enemies. There are two positions in dealing with such evil. Fight on until reason has won, or cut and run.

Flaccid lists nine problem is Iraq’s fight for the triumph of reason and implies that this must be civil war. When racists murdered 1500 black men between 1865 and 1869, was that Civil War? No the Civil war was the murder of 360,000 Americans by the racists trying to maintain slaver that came in the five years before.

Anything that seems difficult to Flaccid is failure. He is a master at failure. He lists eight challenges and says throw in the towel, try something new, anything new. But what is most telling is he never offers anything new. When the going gets tough once America tries “something new” he’ll will again be for quitting. Success, as Dan pointed out, is often won by great effort. Flaccid would always take the easy way, and when others choose to do the hard things he points to temporary set backs and screams failure. Flaccid’s motivation in this is purely political. His hatred of Bush demands that America must fail. The only way he can shark up a failure is to find an unfinished and difficult task and say just because it not all coming up roses it’s a failure.


If Iraq does face a civil war between those who would push their unreasonable philosophy of religious murder and slavery and those who would bring reason and justice would that make those value are “not worth” fighting for? You seem to think that if the bad guys do bad things that makes the good guys failures. The good will only fail when it acquiesces to the evil. Of course this is what you hope for, the failure of America.

You imply that someone’s claim that 75% of Iraqi people being willing to risk death to vote was evidence of their desire to have a democracy, is a “Bloated Fiction”. I would say that yours is an unreasonable interpretation of the evidence. Give us some another reason for their death defying acts. More importantly, I say that all reasonable Iraqis want freedom and an end to the power of terrorist and tyrants.

As for my sharing ideas with Limbaugh and Hannity: first I have several times beaten those two great men to the discussion of important topics. But more importantly just because they are right and I am also right, does not seem to be a reason to abandon talking about what interests me.

If your DNC talking points were true they would carry some weight here at the Agora. As it is they make for plenty of chances to show the power of reason over lies. If you do not read neo-lib talking points, you should be concerned that you are making the same mistakes they are. Come to think about it, listening to the T. V. isn’t technically reading, but you must understand that every thing you hear in the neo-lib media is based on Democrat talking points.

MindMechanic said...

Posted from the Hartford Courrant-

Not to bring up an old topic...but...

WASHINGTON -- When the congressional page scandal broke last month, Democrats across the country saw a chance to lambaste Republican leadership - including Diane Farrell, who called on House Speaker Dennis Hastert to step down.

But when Sen. Edward M. Kennedy came to Connecticut last week to help her campaign, Rep. Christopher Shays hit back.

"I know the speaker didn't go over a bridge and leave a young person in the water, and then have a press conference the next day," said Shays, R-4th District, referring to the 1969 incident in which the Massachusetts Democrat drove a car that plunged into the water and a young campaign worker died.

"Dennis Hastert didn't kill anybody," he added.

Shays' words were emblematic of the increasing bitterness over the fallout from the conduct of former Florida Rep. Mark Foley, a scandal that may not be helping Democrats as much as they had hoped.

The GOP had seemed to be in deep political trouble a week ago, when many Democrats were stridently insisting that Hastert quit - and pressing their Republican opponents to make the same demand.

But so far, the Democrats' idea to make Hastert the villain has not worked.

An ABC News/Washington Post survey taken Oct. 5 to 8 found that three of every four respondents did not think Democrats would have handled the Foley matter any better, and roughly two in three thought Democrats were pursuing the matter for political gain, not to raise legitimate concerns.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...


Calm down. You are right, the problem we have now is the one caused by Clinton’s pretended successes with North Korea. He gave the little monster all he wanted so he could claim some kind of foreign policy success and Jimmy the C could get a Nobel Prize for being lied to. No one is denying the evil caused by Clinton’s failures. That President Bush continues to have to deal with them today is proof that great men do difficult things.

Two important notes:

1. N. Korea’s “nuclear test” is either a fraud or a dud. So the entire question of when N. Korea became nuclearly armed may well prove moot.

2. The other Five Parties are united in condemning N. Korea “test”. This is real progress. It is like the difference between the Bush economy and the Clinton economy. Bush’s tax cuts produced real growth; Clinton’s lack of ethics blew a bubble. Bush has brought the powers of the word together to condemn and take action against N. Korea, Clinton either lied about it or at best was taken in by lies he wanted to hear.

Bush faces the difficult problems and deals with them, the neo-libs declare success and run away. No wonder Kim staged this “test” in an effort to influence U.S. Congressional elections. The Democrats only hope for success in America’s failure, Kim’s only hope for American failure is Democrat success. Good thing Kim as dumb as he is crooked.

For adequate reason and facts to support my claims above, please reference Mindmechanic’s post just above. Thanks for the info Mindmechanic.

Anonymous said...

Another Testimonial From The Vegitable Man...

The Culture of Coruption is alive and well!

AP Exclusive: Reid Got $1M in Land Sale
Oct 11 2:13 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writers


Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.
In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.

The Nevada Democrat's deal was engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend and former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations. He's never been charged with wrongdoing _ except for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court.

Land deeds obtained by The Associated Press during a review of Reid's business dealings show:

_The deal began in 1998 when Reid bought undeveloped residential property on Las Vegas' booming outskirts for about $400,000. Reid bought one lot outright, and a second parcel jointly with Brown. One of the sellers was a developer who was benefiting from a government land swap that Reid supported. The seller never talked to Reid.

_In 2001, Reid sold the land for the same price to a limited liability corporation created by Brown. The senator didn't disclose the sale on his annual public ethics report or tell Congress he had any stake in Brown's company. He continued to report to Congress that he personally owned the land.

_After getting local officials to rezone the property for a shopping center, Brown's company sold the land in 2004 to other developers and Reid took $1.1 million of the proceeds, nearly tripling the senator's investment. Reid reported it to Congress as a personal land sale.

The complex dealings allowed Reid to transfer ownership, legal liability and some tax consequences to Brown's company without public knowledge, but still collect a seven-figure payoff nearly three years later.

Reid hung up the phone when questioned about the deal during an AP interview last week.

The senator's aides said no money changed hands in 2001 and that Reid instead got an ownership stake in Brown's company equal to the value of his land. Reid continued to pay taxes on the land and didn't disclose the deal because he considered it a "technical transfer," they said.

They also said they have no documents proving Reid's stake in the company because it was an informal understanding between friends.

The 1998 purchase "was a normal business transaction at market prices," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. "There were several legal steps associated with the investment during those years that did not alter Senator Reid's actual ownership interest in the land."

Senate ethics rules require lawmakers to disclose on their annual ethics report all transactions involving investment properties _ regardless of profit or loss _ and to report any ownership stake in companies.

Kent Cooper, who oversaw government disclosure reports for federal candidates for two decades in the Federal Election Commission, said Reid's failure to report the 2001 sale and his ties to Brown's company violated Senate rules.

"This is very, very clear," Cooper said. "Whether you make a profit or a loss you've got to put that transaction down so the public, voters, can see exactly what kind of money is moving to or from a member of Congress."

"It is especially disconcerting when you have a member of the leadership, of either party, not putting in the effort to make sure this is a complete and accurate report," said Cooper. "That says something to other members. It says something to the Ethics Committee."

Other parts of the deal _ such as the informal handling of property taxes _ raise questions about possible gifts or income reportable to Congress and the IRS, ethics experts said.


Do you bear testimony to this as well?????

MindMechanic said...

They also said they have no documents proving Reid's stake in the company because it was an informal understanding between friends.

(That may be the funniest thing I have seen in a while!)

A 1.1 million dollar informal understanding between friends, one of whom happens to be the primary mover and shaler for clearing federal land and development grants which he then got a nice informal chunk of cash from.

Thinks wanks right up there with Reids 100k donation by the Indian tribes which then followed a few days later with a letter for Reid encourage the passage of laws allowing the Indian tribes to build a new casino...but the money had no impact on his decision...a decision which he was on record as previously opposing.

Meanwhile congressman Jefferson is still cruising toward reelection, even though the Louisiana Democrat is caught on tape demanding bribes, recieving bribes, and caught with the 'cold' cash right in his freezer.

Look...I'm all for throwing them all out and starting over...

truth to power said...

People wouldn't be engaging in all this rent-seeking if the federal government still had only the limited power granted it by the Constitution. Even if we elect a saint to Congress, people will try to bribe him if he has the power to give them what they want. We'd have to repeal a few amendments and override many court decisions in order to fix the problem.

"Throwing them all out and starting over" won't cut it.

Anonymous said...

"Bush's tax cuts promoted real growth. . . "


Obscenely INCREASED tax revenues based on obscenely overpriced oil prices (even MM and Lysis might have noticed) account for ALL
the increased tax monies -- NOT tax CUTS, dunderheads, and NOT an increased economy, but indeniable WINDFALL TAXES gleaned by oil company avarice and "look the other way" compliance by Administration fat cats on the take.

Now that elections are close at hand we see price reductions -- TEMPORARILY -- Ha, Ha, Ha. However, not every state is blessed -- Utah is a dumb and red state so we don't need the "low price" bribing that takes place elsewhere.

Put a few nickles in your hand and pick-pocket your cash from the rear -- that's the Bush tax cut!!!!

Which would you rather have had -- monies from the tax cut or all the excessive fuel charges you've paid over the last year????

That's OK, Lysis will be along soon to comfort those still smarting from being so damn dumb!!!!

MindMechanic said...

"Throwing them all out and starting over" won't cut it.

Eau contraire...people exercising intelligent voting rights is ALL that is needed. But I DO wouldnt help if we just did the same thing over and over again.

MindMechanic said...

"obscenely overpriced oil prices"

OK Anon...lets see how you do at economics.

What role does the government play in oil prices?

Zero. You know who does? Let me ask you have a 401k? If much are you willing to bet that if you allow the account agency to manage your account YOU havde been in big oil? I GUARANTEE...if your 401k is managed through ANY of the major providers (Fidelity, etc) YOU have invested in oil.

In times of turmoil, speculators gamble that oil supplies will go low. And that drives the price of oil up and it went up BIG time. The hurricane season contributed to the speculation on oil futures. YOU are responsible for inflated oil prices (if you are an investor) and every other investor unless they specify they dont want to buy oil futures.

And son of a gun...We find a HUGE oil field in the gulf...prices drop. Katrina didnt have near the imapct they expected it would. Prices drop. OPEC hasnt suffered any shortages...and prices are dropping.

The prices are correcting themselves. Thats what inflated stock prices ALWAYS do. INVESTORS drove oil stock prices from 30 dollars a barrel to over 70. INVESTORS made HUGE profits. And it is correcting itself.

No conspiracy...simple economics. Check it out.

MindMechanic said...

"Bush's tax cuts promoted real growth. . . "

To quote Harrison Ford..."Laugh it up, fuzzball"

WITH the Bush tax cuts we are seeing the highest tax REVENUES in history. MORE money in the private sector has created more jobs (SHOCKING...NOT) and resulted in unemployment of 4.6%, lower that any time during the Clinton administration.

Un like the Clinton bust dotcom economy, this economy is built on industry and growth. Intelligent financial management has kept the housing markets growing and stable, even during expected downturns.

Oh...but it doesnt stop there. This economy has survived and THRIVED despite hurricanes, two wars, massive exconomic support following the tsunami in India, More money than ever given at any time to developing countries, more money than ever given by ANY other president to help combat AIDS in Africa...

AND this economy is supporting anywhere from 12 to 20 MILLION illegal workers. Take away the illegal;s and there are MORE jobs than workers.

Yes Anon...A BOOMING thriving strong and vibrant economy.

You know how we can tell its strong? We are less than a month away from midterm elections and democrats arent running on an economic platform. Nuff said.

MindMechanic said...

"WINDFALL TAXES gleaned by oil company avarice"

You have all the talking points down pat. You hat big it. Are you an investor? Are you an 'owner' (stockholder)? Where exactly do you think the profits go? Shareholders...stockowners...investors.

And you think they just sit on their cash?

Why do you think the economy is growing so strongly? Why do you think we are at 4.6 unemployment? Why do you think we can support this country, the continent of Africa, AND the Mexican economy?

But no...the anonymy doesnt listen to liberal talking points. Riiight.

Anonymous said...

Lest you lose all historical perspective and critical faculties please keep in mind that in his first State of the Union, 2002, George W. Bush deployed the expression "axis of evil" to describe the governments of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Critics jumped on the president for his belligerent rhetoric. But the problem with Bush's formulation wasn't his use of the term "evil," a perfectly apt description of the regimes of Saddam Hussein, the Iranian mullahs, and Kim Jong-il. The real issue was with the "axis" part. With the reference to the Axis powers of World War II, Bush suggested that there was some sort of alliance or cooperation among these three enemies of the United States. His turn of phrase indicated that they represented a unitary problem and implied that in taking on one, America would be dealing with all three. Many people - mostly in redwashed states like Utah - swallowed the cock and bull John Wayne bravado whole.

Nearly five years later, we can see the damage caused by the president's too-cute slogan and the muddled thinking behind it. By failing to distinguish clearly among the overlapping security threats presented by rogue states, nuclear proliferators, and supporters of terrorism, Bush helped bring his own nightmare to life. Thanks to his foreign policy, many of the world's dictators do now function as a kind of anti-American axis, in a way they didn't when he made that speech.

Let's look back at the "members" circa 2002. Though they shared an interest in proliferating and were all brutal violators of human rights, the regimes in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea posed distinct and very different problems for American foreign policy. Saddam's Baath fascists in Iraq were shooting at American planes in the no-fly zone and defying the international community over sanctions and inspections. But as we now know, they weren't major sponsors of terrorism, and were nowhere near building, buying, or giving nukes to others. The theocrats in Iran, on the other hand, had a long history of backing anti-American terrorists and presented a longer-term proliferation threat. North Korea's Stalinists were stroking their fuel rods, menacing the South as usual, and counterfeiting dollars, but not supporting terrorism. All three regimes were hostile to the United States, but their animosity wasn't synchronized in any meaningful way.

Now, consider the axis today. Our attacking Iraq prompted Muammar Qaddafi, a Little Brother of Evil, to put up his hands and surrender his nuclear effort. But Iran and North Korea drew from Bush's idealist invasion the realist lesson that only a nuclear deterrent could preserve them from regime change. Kim, in particular, seems to have taken the point that the American war machine could instantly pulverize his tanks and missiles massed along the DMZ. This meant he needed to accelerate his deterrent efforts by trying out his Pacific-spanning Long Dong missile and cramming for a nuclear test. Bush's adamant policy of nondiscussion made matters worse - as has been noticed by those here in the Agora born with their heads outside of their posteriors - ensuring that neither country would slow down or back away from its atomic rush. He might just as well have announced a prize for the first successful detonation!

But the president's biggest act of axis-enhancement was tying up our military in Iraq and antagonizing our allies. While the global cop was busy in Baghdad, the world's other worst villains staged a jailbreak. They understood that Bush couldn't readily respond to their provocations with force. The opportunity cost of occupying Iraq has also been felt in Syria and Sudan, among the other places where evil has gone unchecked for want of effective American leadership. At another level, our Bush- and Iraq-inspired unpopularity has spurred an informal new post-Cold War anti-American International, with Hugo Chávez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and George Galloway running for General Secretary.

The administration's discredited claims about Iraqi weapons have also served Iran and North Korea by casting Bush as the Boy Who Cried WMD. (He is just a couple of months from being the Boy Who Cried for His Father To Bail Him Out, AGAIN!) Though there has never been much doubt about their nuclear ambitions, propagandists and apologists for those regimes have found it all too easy to call the administration's credibility on the subject into question and to create a long and dark shadow of doubt that touches all who must deal with U.S. agencies today. (Most Agorites are not affected, a product of their inability to think critically.) He has managed to ruin the good name America was building on. Meanwhile, Bush's unilateralism and the bad taste left in everyone's mouth by the rush to war in Iraq fractured an international community that might otherwise be much more unified in its response. Lysis and Dick Cheney are on record as not wanting any other way.

Bush's policies have strengthened Iran and North Korea in more specific ways, too. After deposing the Taliban, an unfriendly Sunni power to Iran's east, we knocked off Saddam, Iran's enemy to the west. This gave the mullahs an irresistible opportunity to aim for regional hegemony by fostering the development of greater Shiiteastan, stretching from the Hazar region of Afghanistan to Basra in Iraq to southern Lebanon via the Syrian land bridge. Occupying Iraq also presented Iran with a ripe American target and an easy opportunity for retaliation in case of nuclear pre-emption. Today, Iranian-sponsored proxies are targeting American troops with murderous IEDs that can penetrate all of our armed vehicles, including M-1 tanks. In effect, Bush has created a new group of Iranian hostages. As the U.S. Army announced today, the current number of yellow ribbons will have to be kept up until at least 2010. (Over one hundred civilians are dying every day in Iraq. What will that bring the total civilian death count to in four more years?)

The same hostage claim might be said of our 30,000 troops in Korea. Bill Clinton's policy of bribing Kim to not proliferate wasn't pretty, and it helped prop up his bankrupt regime (in a different way than sanctions do). But Clinton's emphasis on negotiation also postponed the day when the Dear Leader could menace his neighbors with an atomic bomb. Iran and North Korea have also shored up their positions by taunting us in concert, since we're even less able to go after both simultaneously than either one in isolation - stuck in the quagmire that is Iraq and increasingly Afghanistan.

Let it be acknowledged that Bush's obstinacy and belligerence didn't create the predicaments we now face in Iran and North Korea. But his approach has brought nearer threats that another set of policies might have deferred or avoided entirely, and created a dangerous new cooperative dynamic among our enemies. He has, as the Brookings Institution recently reported, taken all of the troubles facing the U.S. in 2000 and turned every single one of them into a threat. Add in a few more he has wholly created with his perilous spending habbits and and disregard for the rule of law, shake, and serve: a heaping pile of steaming upset stomach ready for Agora consumption. Thank you, Mr President, for giving us the axis of evil!

Anonymous said...

Vegi Here

OMB 2007 Mid-Year Budget Report Page 17

"Revised economic assumptions and technical
reestimates account for most of the revisions
in receipts since February, increasing receipts
by $107 billion in 2006, $60 billion in 2007,
and $320 billion over the five-year period,
2007 through 2011. Higher-than-expected collections
of individual and corporation income
taxes account for most of the increase in
receipts for 2006. These increases are in
large part attributable to higher-than-expected
individual and corporation income tax liability
in tax years 2005 and 2006, as reflected
in collection experience since February, and
technical reassessment of the division of total
withheld taxes between individual income
tax liability and payroll tax liability. The
revisions in subsequent years primarily reflect
increases in individual and corporation income
taxes, attributable in large part to upward
revisions in income and taxable profits (in
part due to reduced depreciation write-offs),
and revisions in estimating models to reflect
current collection experience. The revisions
also reflect the effect of recent court decisions
effectively invalidating part of the Federal telephone Tax"

Excuse me Anonymi, don't see a word about Oil....

Is there a right wing conspiracy in the OMB as well?

Anonymous said...

Veg again to the Anonymi

And the axis countries were and are let by sane beneovent leaders that never wanted a nuke.

So if we had not of put oops excuse me if that idot BUSH had not put the moniker on them they would never be bad like they are now.

Come on dude, you can do better than that.

Your assumption is that all was happy before Bush and all is bad because of Bush.

A little North Korean Test proved you way wrong. Madam Secretary Albright has spoken, "They never slowed down".... the development.

Try again.......

Anonymous said...

Veg again,


If you went back to purely personal attacks, you may do better.....

Hugs and Kisses

MindMechanic said...

"Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.

Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger."

Not once did he imply they are working together. And every word he spoke is true.

MindMechanic said...

By failing to distinguish clearly among the overlapping security threats presented by rogue states, nuclear proliferators, and supporters of terrorism, Bush helped bring his own nightmare to life.

Excuse me? Once again...all bassackwards. Bush has been the ONLY one to not only identify clearly the threats these countries represent. Since no one else seems to have the courage to act or at least IDENTIFY the problem it shouldnt be shocking that these rougue leaders identify Bush as their enemy.

Of course they arent intimidated by France...or the UN (shhhhhh...listen can HEAR the laughter about the UN all the way out here. These 'leaders' long ago proved their weakness.

MindMechanic said...

On a positive note...though I disagree with MOST of what was written...that was the most thorough and thought out anon argument I have seen posted here.

Makes ya wonder...

MindMechanic said...

As the U.S. Army announced today, the current number of yellow ribbons will have to be kept up until at least 2010.

Hogwash...the military is war planning. The general said in the article you are citing that all this is is planning for future requirements. dont think they are forcasting their manpower requirements?

(Over one hundred civilians are dying every day in Iraq. What will that bring the total civilian death count to in four more years?)

This number is exagerated...but point taken...Iraq is a violent place. My position is that it will stay that way until the Iraqi PEOPLE combat the terrorists and thugs.

MindMechanic said...

Vegi...I disagree. I think the argument made by this latest anon is well thought out even though I dont agree. It caused me to do some research and a little bit of learning. I absolutely appreciate the posting.

And on that should be pointed out that perspective allows two people to see one event in multiple ways.

Truth is truth...but we can appreciate different points of view.

truth to power said...

That was probably the best anonymous posting I've ever read here. I didn't agree with much of it, but it was highly polished and well written.

"His turn of phrase indicated that [the Axis of Evil] represented a unitary problem and implied that in taking on one, America would be dealing with all three."

I think this was neither implied nor intended. I for one have been impatient with US efforts against the other two.

"But as we now know, they [Saddam Hussein's regime] weren't major sponsors of terrorism,..."

Who is the "we" that supposedly knows what ain't so? The whole world knows now, as we knew then, that Saddam Hussein was inciting and subsidizing the bombing of Israeli civilians--perhaps the most frequent terrorist activity in modern times.

"Bush's adamant policy of nondiscussion [with North Korea and Iran] made matters worse"

Yes, because talking with these people and paying them off has always proved successful. They honor their agreements and play nice as long as you just hand them bags of money across the conference table.

"The opportunity cost of occupying Iraq has also been felt in Syria and Sudan, among the other places where evil has gone unchecked for want of effective American leadership."

Wait a minute, who is this? Obviously not Flaccid, the isolationist who believes checking international evil is none of our business. No wonder the writing is so good!

"Meanwhile, Bush's unilateralism and the bad taste left in everyone's mouth by the rush to war in Iraq fractured an international community that might otherwise be much more unified in its response."

I'm not one of the "freedom fries" guys, but I do not respect this "international community". While US leftists murmur about Cheney and Halliburton, the "fractured community" is truly guilty of selling their foreign policy to the highest bidder. Oil for Food, anyone?

"Bill Clinton's policy of bribing Kim to not proliferate wasn't pretty, and it helped prop up his bankrupt regime (in a different way than sanctions do). But Clinton's emphasis on negotiation also postponed the day when the Dear Leader could menace his neighbors with an atomic bomb."

Do you honestly think Kim put nuclear development on hold? Are you truly this gullible? Or is this just a twisted doublethink to excuse Clinton?

Lysis said...


Your limp assault on the Bush economy is laughable. You cannot deny that the economy is bombing, today it was announced that the deficit is down, again, less then 2% of the budget, and below the twenty year average.

America is doing well and you can’t stand it. No wonder you are laughing hysterically, you’ve gone over the edge.


Thanks for the facts; it seems you have shamed Flaccid into an attempt to present more than hysterics. But you will note that his “history” lesson, as Mindmechanic has pointed out, prove nothing but his biased attempt to spin out his position.

The problem is we will never be able to compare the “might have been” under Gore or Kerry to the progress under Bush. What history does teach us it that Clinton did nothing and inspired al Queda to attack New York and Washington D. C. We can examine history and see how Clinton mistreated the U.S. economy. The nation, riding high on Reaganomics, was in recession by the time Clinton left office, and Gore’s only solution was to tax the rich. I cannot testify to what might have been under the Dems, I am can only swear I am glad we didn’t have to find out.

Lysis said...

I have been listening to the T. V. news. So odd:

Kofi Annan is begging President Bush to deal with N. Korea one on one. Seems like he is admitting what neo-cons have been saying all along. The U. N. is useless!

There is a commercial on the station lamenting that only President Bush can save Darfur. And at the same time these same people are attacking Bush for trying to establish reason in Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Gas prices are down again, along with the deficit; at a four year low. Go George Bush go!!!!

Also the Lancet has published its pre-election misinformation. We have dealt with this in the Agora before. This magazine miscalculates the number of dead, makes up a totally unfounded number, throws it out into the world, and enemies of America will quote it for months. There is no truth in it, but of course, lies are the only weapon the neo-libs have left.

How can one deal reasonably with people who deal in lies?

Anonymous said...


That Lancet article is tripe. So you can refute it here are some facts about the methodology.

It was conducted in 47 neighborhoods in every province in Iraq. 2,000 households were randomly selected in those neighborhoods. Over 13,000 people were interviewed and asked questions about births and deaths and migration. (Pertinent to the count as water, electricity and oil production is still below pre-war levels.) They did not ask families whether their dead were civilians or fighters. This provided a sample that was applied nationally to give an estimate. Death certificates confirmed families' accounts in 92 percent of cases.

Information for the survey was collected by Iraqi doctors, and analysis was performed by the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in cooperation with the Center for International Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The study was led by Gilbert Burnham of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.

This method of sampling the population is a claimed to be a standard tool of epidemiology and has been used by the U.S. government in counting deaths in Bosnia and numerous conflicts in Africa including Darfur. The estimate based on the sample is wide: 392,000 - 912,000! CNN still insists that so called "professionals" - I assume they mean epidemiologists? - believe the model is sound. But they would. They are intellectuals.

The private British-based Iraq Body Count research group (whose numbers the real expert on the death there, George Bush cited) puts the number of civilian deaths at 48,693. Those figures are based on online media counts. If you can't trust the MSM them who?

Lots dead. Lots more to come. We should change our rhetoric rather than revel in the one-liners and tough guy talk. Maybe contrition should frame the language around our occupation. If we are there four more years more people will die during U.S. occupation than did under Saddam's rule, which ever numbers Bush uses next. Of course, according to the Lancet's low estimate, more people already have.

Lysis said...


I’m glad you understand that Lancet is tripe. Now do some reasoned thinking about these few liners;

1. The kill of Iraqis by Saddam would not have stopped in 2003 if there had been no liberation.

2. The people who are killing Iraqis are terrorists, foreign and domestic. The Americans who are there are risking their lives trying to save the innocent.

3. No one has anyway of predicting what will happen in four years, but quitting because it is hard cannot offer any hope.

Anonymous said...

1. The crimes of Saddam would, in all likely-hood, have continued but not at this breath taking rate. In seven years Rumsfeld's lack of planning will have allowed more slaughter than Saddam accomplished in 50 years, and more than he would have in 57.

2. The Americans who are risking their lives in Baghdad do not know the innocent from the guilty. They are trapped in a civil war that the President will not acknowledge. The very people they train and equip are the ones committing much of the terror.

3. Admitting and quitting a failed strategy must offer great hope. Doing wrong will never lead to a succesful future.

Lysis said...


1. Were it not for the Rumsfeld plan, which was and is to give the field commanders every thing they ask for, Saddam would by now have produced real nuclear weapons, (not pretend ones like N. Korea), and, safe beneath his shield of WMD, he would have finished the extermination of the Kurdish population of his own country, continued the murdered the Shiites of the south, reinvaded Iran and Kuwait, and attacked Saudi Arabia. The World War his insanity and ambition, to be the new Nebuchadnezzar, would have launched, would have reduced WWII to a footnote in history.

2. The American soldiers in Iraq can and do tell the innocent from the guilty. The guilty are those who murder and seek to employ terror to defeat reason and maintain the blood feud. The innocent are those who hope for a country free from terrorists, and tyrants, and dream of the day when religious hatred and totalitarian ambition give way to freedom and reason. The innocent are the vast majority of the Iraqi people whom you would abandon to death and slavery; the way the quitters of the last century did the peoples of South East Asia, Cuba, and North Korea.

3. Flaccid, your hope (indeed your desperate need) for a failed strategy in Iraq does not change the facts on the ground. You are, however, right in one thing; doing wrong, abandoning the battle for freedom and the hope that reason will prevail, will never lead to a successful future.

MindMechanic said...


1-Liberal groups place the Iraqi body count at approximately 48 thousand. The vast majority of those dead are dead at the hands of muslim terrorists. EVERY loss is tragic whether it is 1 or the 680 thousand suggested in this latest ridiculous and obviously politically motivated report.

Estimates for the Iraqi body count under Saddam range from 1.5 to 2.5 million. Considering the number of mass graves found and more telling...NOT found, considering the number of bodies kept in warehouses in southern Iraq...and considering the body count from his use of chemical weapons on the entire village of Hillabjah, my money would be more on the 2.5 million side.

But again...every loss is tragic.

I wonder how many fewer bodies there would be found dead today had the terrorists in Iraq not been fueled by the comments of the leftists in America. I wonder if we were united for the greater good and not divided in the name of politics, how much less our enemies in Iraq would see their chances.

The body count in Iraq will stop (or at least dramaitcally be reduced) when the Iraqi people step up and begin combating the people actually killing them.

I dont know...maybe 40 years under an oppressive murderous dictator has gotten them used to this.

2. The American soldier in Iraq knows a LOT more about their mission and their enemy than you give them credit for. They arent discouraged by their presidents actions (with admittedly exceptions but they are far from the norm). They ARE discouraged by forked tongued politicans and a media that refuses to portray the extraordinary positive results they have achieved.

The ops tempo stinks, but there are far more often than not VOLUNTEERS to fill the deployment billets. Talk to some of the local guardsmen. Talk to the people that have been there. And do a GOOD sampling...not just 1 or two. It might be an eye opener.

3. Still I have yet to see you or anyone from the liberal side offer ANY alternative short of "cut and run." You ignore the obvious evidence of the success of staying the course that is demonstrated in Germany and Japan. I hear nothing from the liberals expressing dismay that we are still in Bosnia.

The ONLY option in Iraq is success. There are a FEW good, honest, honorable democrats that hold a party line on virtually everything else, but on the matter of national security they recognize the job must be done. And THEY are getting run out of the party for DARING to disagree.

Please remember...this is not "The War With Iraq." We are not AT WAR WITH IRAQ. This IS a war against terrorists. That war CAN NOT and MUST NOT be stopped.

Americans in Iraq fought and died to overthrow Hussein, secure Americas security, and as a happy by-product, have given the Iraqi people a legitimate shot at peace, freedom, and democracy. What they do with it is up to them.

If we left Iraq tomorrow the War against Husseins Iraq can ONLY be judged a dramatic and powerful success.

BUT...if we leave tomorrow, we will disengage a war against muslim extremist terrorists who have already vowed to slaughter every infidel until the world is under sharia law. Do you get what that means?

Women become property. They must veil their faces and not speak to men. They can be beaten by their husbands and family for even LOOKING at a man. They can be beaten for backtalking to a man. They may not own businesses or property. Husbands and family members can summarily execute them for sexual indiscretions.

Homosexuals are executed under sharia law. No gay marriage...just executed.

Men must attend prayer 5 times a day and must observe all religous celebrations.

This is just a tiny sampling of what your world will become if the muslim extremists in Iraq and other places are not defeated.

Someone here recently asked if it is worth the life of US soldiers to fight this war. From a soldiers perspective, and knowing what is TRULY at stake? I suggest that answer is ABSOLUTELY.

MindMechanic said...

I just got an email from a friend of mine...a 'lurker' who reads blogs but doesnt post. He told me I was doing that thing I do again...being a bit over-dramatic.

RB...I disagree.

The point I made about sharia law is not only NOT overdramatic, but considering what is at stake, it MIGHT NOT be dramatic enough. It emphasizes WHAT this battle is all about. The reason these terrorists wage war is not because they just dont like us. It is because they believe it IS what they are supposed to do. They BELIEVE they are supposed to bring about muslim rule.

People say the terrorist activity is all because of George Bush and America's policies. Hogwash. Do some reading...check your history.

Lets go back almost 40 years. The Imams in Iran were not silent because their belief was NOT about extremism...they were silent because 1-the Shah wouldnt tolerate them otherwise and 2-the CIA was paying them off to be quiet. Yes...bribing them. The Ayatollah was more vocal and as a result he fled the country to avoid arrest (and probably execution) at the hands of the Shah and remained in exile.

Then it all fell to the ground. Carter decided it wasnt right to have so much western influence and ordered the payments to stop. He withdrew his support from the Shah. In no time, the Shah was deposed, the Imams once again resumed preaching their hatred, and the Ayatollah (who made the shae look like a piker when it came to causing death and violence) returned and ushered in this modern era of muslim extremism.

To assume that this started recently or because of Bush ignores history. It ignores the reality that it occured in the 60's 70's 80's and NUMEROUS times in the 90's.

People talk about the cursades and the death caused by Christians...I wonder if they have ever really bothered to study history and really examine what the crusades began in response to (granted what they became later is far different than the reasons why they began). It might be provide you with a different perspective and a better feel for just what these muslim extremists want to accomplish. There is a history to learn from.

I really hope that people will study this. I worry a bit that Europe may be waking up just a little too late. But I am willing to place a fairly subtantial wager that within 5-10 years most of Europe will see violence similar to what is going on in Iraq today. ESPECIALLY if we leave.

Anonymous said...

For your consideration,

Did anyone see what the top British general, General Sir Richard Dannatt, just said today? He is the equivalent of the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs (he is called The Chief of the General Staff). In an astounding statement he warns Britain today:

"We must quit Iraq soon. The continuing presence of British troops exacerbates the security problems in Iraq. The desire to forge a liberal democracy in Iraq is a naive failure and whatever consent we may have had in the first place from the Iraqi people has largely turned to intolerance. I am going to stand up for what is right for the army. Honesty is what it is about. The truth will out. We have got to speak the truth."

Yes, but is anyone listening?

Lysis said...

Wow! Flaccid dug around until he found a General to prop up his "cut and run" stand. No matter to him that it is not our, U. S., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It’s a Brit. Can everyone say Neville Chamberlain?

Lysis said...

Four your consideration,

General Sir Richard Dannatt is all over the legitimate news this morning denying the BBC report cited by Flaccid, (Who went off a bit prematurely, as usual). He points out how he, Dannatt, was taken out of contest and how he had specifically said that British troops in Basra were needed, wanted, and successful. Seems Dannatt wasn’t a Chamberlain after all. Now considering BBC typical neo-lib representation of the “facts”; can we all say Benedict Arnold?”

Also of note – definitive tests now indicate that Kim’s nuclear test was a hoax. All we have to attest to “his great accomplishment” is Kim’s Clintonian testimony. It might be some comfort to the North Korean’s that Jimmy Carter still believes Kim. Hopefully the little dictator’s, (by this is mean Kim not Carter) antics, if not North Korean science, will be taken seriously, and between the snickers, the world will push for his committal to a rubber room.

MindMechanic said...

Funny how words get twisted by people that want to use them to further THEIR persoanl viewpoints...

"Dannatt said in the initial interview that the British military should "get ourselves out sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems."

On Friday morning, he insisted Britain stood "shoulder to shoulder with the Americans, and their timing and our timing are one and the same."

"We'll probably reduce our soldiers over the course of the next year or two or three let's wait and see. That's what I mean by sometime soon," Dannatt said in an interview with Sky News.

"We don't do surrender. We don't pull down white flags. We're going to see this through," Dannatt said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

Britain has not set a timetable for the departure of its 7,500 troops from Iraq, but it has handed over security responsibilities in two provinces to Iraqi forces and is preparing to do the same in a third."

Everything he mentions is precisely inline with the US vision. Train the Iraqi security forces, turn over provinces, re-evaluate presence and troop levels. Might be there 1 year,l might be there 5 depends on what the mission requires.

We are still in Bosnia 10 years AFTER Clinton promised to have the troops home. Why? Mission demands it. Its still volatile and if our troops leave it would create the opportunity for destabilization.

MindMechanic said...

Jusr a follow up...something Gen Dannet said I DO agree with completely. He talks about the inital goal of establish Iraq as an "Exemplar democracy" and that we should set our goals lower.

I dont agree we should set our goals 'lower'...I just think our goals should be identified as honest and realistic.

Goal 1-Oust Saddam. Enforce the regime change policy Clinton initiated but ne ver had the integrity to act on.

Goal 2-Determine the status of Iraqs WMDs. Every world leader and intel agency believed (and many still do) that Iraq posessed a substantial WMD program. Clinton cited it many times. The UN inspectors found much of it during UNSCOM 1. So...where did it go? That question REMAINS unanswered.

Goal 3-Give the Iraqi people a legitimate and fair shot at establishing a democracy.

Goal 4- Combat global terrorism. That they are pouring in to Iraq makes it that much convenient in my book.

But we cant establish for them a democracy. Thats just not possible.

MindMechanic said...

Talking heads just dont get it. I keep seeing more and more interviews suggesting we should engage North Korea in one on one talks and if we did then North Korea would stop their nuclear proliferation program.

I wonder what they base these opinions on...Kims previously demonstrated trusted word and reliability? His mental and emotional stability?

We just witnessed his willingness to act in opposition to the worlds position. We had a unified world and an opportunity for real progress and the first sign of weakness came not from China but from right here in the good lo US of A with democrats once again trying make a political gain.

If WE cant stand unified against the North why would expect the world to? How COULD we expect the world to?

Cameron said...

Many of the pundits are saying that if we engage them one on one, then we can get inspectors in there to verify that he won't "cheat" again. In essence, North Korea would be "contained".

Anonymous said...

"The people who are killing Iraqis are terrorists, foreign and domestic."

Today's headlines:
A four-day rampage of SECTARIAN fighting raged unchecked Monday . . . The authorities appeared unable or unwilling to stop the bloodshead in Balad and its environs that may set the standard for the building INTER-COMUNAL conflict should it spread further and the pace hasten, which appeared likely.

The Balad fighting exploded Friday with the discovery of the headless bodies of 17 Shite workers discovered in an orchard near the city, 50 miles north of Baghdad.

SHIITES SWIFTLY retaliated by setting up roadblocks in the predominantly Shiite city, ringed by SUNNI-dominated villages, towns and farmland. REVENGE seekers caught, took away and shot SUNNIS caught in the snare, GUILTY OR NOT, witnesses said. All refused to give their names for fear of retribution.

Iraq's government appeared powerless to stop the fighting, demonstrating ITS FAILURE TO FORM POLITICAL CONSENSUS that could rein in SECTARIAN rivalries and establish meaningful security.


Shiite-Sunni fighting has raged increasingly out of control!!!!"

Those who perpetuate the DELUSION and lie that this is not a civil war, make no doubt, share in the blood and lost American lives that continue in Iraq.

Recent spikes in violence have also taken their toll on U.S. forces ub tge ciybtrtm wutg tge bynber jukked si far ub Ictiber syrgubg oast 50 over the weekend. Two Marines and a soldier were killede in fighting Sunday, bringing to ten the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq over the past three days.

truth to power said...

"The Balad fighting exploded Friday with the discovery of the headless bodies of 17 Shite workers discovered in an orchard near the city, 50 miles north of Baghdad."

17 people dead is not what you get in a civil war. The bad guys are a minuscule minority of Iraqis. Some areas are worse than others, but very very few people are actually involved in any of this internal fighting.

"Iraq's government appeared powerless to stop the fighting, demonstrating ITS FAILURE TO FORM POLITICAL CONSENSUS that could rein in SECTARIAN rivalries and establish meaningful security."

Meaningful security doesn't depend on political consensus. Do you think the US has anything like a "political consensus"?

"Recent spikes in violence have also taken their toll on U.S. forces ub tge ciybtrtm wutg tge bynber jukked si far ub Ictiber syrgubg oast 50 over the weekend."

I'm reminded of the sound bites Rush Limbaugh used to play of Ted Kennedy mumbling. But actually I figured this out; your right hand got shifted one key to the left. You meant to type, "...forces in the country with the number killed so far in October surging past 50..."

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RealFruitBeverage said...

What is happening in Iraq is a complicated situation. Just keep this in mind, the people dying is a bad thing, but it can get worse. Right now with the coalition forces the people doing the killings are "outsiders", they are not the legitimate face of the Iraqi people. People are making power moves everyday. 100s of people dying is horrible, 100s of thousands of people dying well that's genocide, and we all know how we feel about that. I'm not saying which position is right or wrong, but one must think about the enevitable outcome of our actions in the region. Oh and Dan that friend of yours I know him and he's a jerk and an idiot. The only thing that makes him of any value is that he is really really really good looking.

Anonymous said...

For you consideration,

Today John D. Negroponte, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, said in a statement: “Analysis of air samples collected on Oct. 11, 2006, detected radioactive debris which confirms that North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion in the vicinity of P’unggye on Oct. 9, 2006.”

Lysis, please check the source of your post "definitive tests that now indicate that Kim’s nuclear test was a hoax." It may be that you are hearing and believing half-truths, or worse, deliberate lies.

(I hope you will be big enough to not imply that Mr. Negroponte is a "little dictator" - as you did President Carter - for telling the truth.)

Anonymous said...

Seventeen headless bodies killed in sectarian violence IS what you get in a civil war!!!! -- that was ONE place in the country many, many, many others died this day also. (of course you know that)

From your point of view, those who are participating or sanctioning or encouraging increasing sectarian violence in Iraq are a "miniscule minority".

The day to day reports belie that monstrous FICTION.

"Meaningful security doesn't depend on political consensus."

Oh yeah, try to get meaningful security without political consensus.

Just like the Nazis did in France or countries THEY occupied????

Thanks for the Sherlock Holmes on my typing errors!!!!

MindMechanic said...

then we can get inspectors in there to verify that he won't "cheat" again

And this of course works when you can actually TRUST the individual you are working with.

How well did that whole "on-site" inspection thign work with UNSCOM and Iraqs facilities?

MindMechanic said...


Ive yet to see anywhere where people are or ever have said life is rosy and well in Iraq. What I HAVE heard consistently said is that it is is a hard job, and it is a job that needs doing.

I still maintain...the killing and violence in Iraq will stop when the IRAQIs decide they have had enough. The US military is and will continue to be combating terrorists in Iraq.

to make an even more direct comparison...4 members of a family were slain in Florida over the weekend. The death by murder toll in America usually averages around 16 thousand people. Does that mean the US is erupting in civil war? Are the police ineffective because they cant stop killings form occuring? Should we stop providing police service because people will just keep on committing crimes? We lose, what...between 2 and 300 officers a year from service due to violence against those officers...should we no longer engage criminals?

Iraq MAY become a full blown civil war. The US presence has not caused it. the US presence provided the citizens of Iraq a chance at peaceful and democratic governance. What becomes of Iraq will do so by their efforts. I dont knwo why that is so hard to see.

MindMechanic said...


I am curious as to your point re Iraq and a civil war.

It is undeniable that there are extremist factions of Sunnis and Shia that are waging war in an effort to destroy civility. They have clearly announced their intent...their intent is to destroy the democratically elected government in Iraq and impose a fundamentalist muslim state.

No one is denying that.

Civil war would be an accurate term only if the Sunnis and Shia declared and engaged in open warfare. That is NOT happening. What IS happening is extremists from both sides are killing indiscriminately.

Their goal is to get exactly what YOU want...the US to leave and for Iraq to erupt in a REAL civil war, one where the fundamentalists win.

They are preying on fear and appealing to those in Iraq that would seek political gain from their actions.

Not unlike what you are doing.

I have still to to this date NEVER seen you offer anything resembling a HINT of a suggestion of what a different course of action might be. I hear liberals talk about following a different path. Short of cut and run, they have no answers.

Cameron said...

It could be argued that the inspections actually worked in Iraq because there weren't any weapons when we got there.

MindMechanic said...

It could be argued that the inspections actually worked in Iraq because there weren't any weapons when we got there

There is a difference between not finding them and them not existing. The one thing that everyone likes to conveniently ignore is that we actually had a fairly complete list of weapons and biological spores that were identified immediately following the end of GW1. somewhere along the order of 40 tons of actual chemicals and biologicals remain unaccounted for.

The inspections absolutely did not work. Thats why Clinton thought Saddam still possessed chemical weapons even after the wars end. Thats why all the worlds intel communities all believed it.

just because they never found the knife doesnt mean OJ DIDNT kill his wife...

Anonymous said...

I have still to this date NEVER seen you offer even a HINT of a suggestion of what a different course of action might be!!!!

That's true from my perspective of BM and, too!!!!

The first step to recover from a life dedicated to the OBVIOUSLY failed policy is to ADMIT THAT THE POLICY FAILED in the first place.

No matter what the cost, BM is dedicated to a FAILED, policy and is in too much DENIAL to figure out anything other than his IMPOTENT "stay the course" mindlessness. The stolid "Maginot Line" mentality of this inflexibility is just DUMB military strategy.

Bush and Rumsfeld have driven into the ditch!

Get out of the ditch first, then seriously talk about which direction to take!!!!

Success is not predicated on riding preconceived solutions into the ditch, but by flexibilty and adaptability to the EVOLVING ever- changing demands.

To deflect EVERY strategy as "cut and run" is a perfidious (treacherous) POLITICAL gambit -- it is militarily irresponsible too!!!!

Cameron said...


I'm curious, what is the "failed policy"? To have gone to Iraq in the first place, or what has been done since then?

Anonymous said...


Crime in the United States, the annual report published by the FBI, says that the per capita murder rate in the U.S. was 5.6 people per 100,000 - by far the highest rate in the developed world.

On July 18th the U.N. released the official number of civilian deaths as counted by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and The Baghdad Central Morgue. The Iraqi "government" called the report "the most precise measurement of civilian deaths provided by any government organization." It showed that if no one was killed in Iraq after June, and if only civilian deaths were counted, there were 14,338 murders have occured so far making a staggering 57.99 murders per 100,000. That number is climbing rapidly. Since more than one hundred people have been killed per day since July 1 that number is over 93.4 people killed per 100,000 today. It will get worse. Numbers like that are so absurd that they can only be explained by war.

The 16,000 murders committed in the U.S. last year were not coordinated. Not even one loony person claimed that they were connected. However, the over 24,000 murders committed in Iraq so far this year have been coordinated. Many people, some of them acknowledged by President Bush as leaders, have said the murders are coordinated - Sunnis against Shi'ites.

There is also a walloping difference in the closeness of the violence to every day life. In total numbers the murders in the U.S. splay arcoss a continent while in they are concentrated in a country the size of California. In population density the vast majority of Iraqis live between the two rivers where nearly 100% of the violence occurs in contrast to the greater spread of U.S. population and murders. Living in Iraq means being very, very close to the death and torture that happen every single day and night.

There is no comparison between the levels of violence in Iraq and that in America. The violence, in terms of murders alone, are greater than 20 times what they are in the U.S. Yes, the uncoordinated U.S. police force cannot stop the 16,000 murders committed in the U.S. every year, but if that number jumped to Iraq levels marshall law would be declared and the U.S. military would be called in to quell the violence as a last option. The last option is in Iraq now trying to contain a much smaller population in a much smaller area. Still, there have been 50% more murders committed in Iraq this year than in the whole of U.S. for all of 2005! The only time that the murder rate per capita in the U.S. was close to that currently in Iraq was during the U.S. Civil War.

Anonymous said...

My compliments -- thanks for the very astute analysis!!!!

MindMechanic said...

The first step to recover from a life dedicated to the OBVIOUSLY failed policy is to ADMIT THAT THE POLICY FAILED in the first place.

ok...lets assume that step has taken place. I DO NOT agree with you. I agree that mistakes HAVE been made but by and large I dont for a second believe this is or has been a failed policy. But we can debate that later. For the sake of argument I cede your is your course of action?

"No matter what the cost, BM is dedicated to a FAILED, policy and is in too much DENIAL to figure out anything other than his IMPOTENT "stay the course" mindlessness. The stolid "Maginot Line" mentality of this inflexibility is just DUMB military strategy."

My position is immaterial. I do not make policy or set policy. But again...for the sake of argument...

Bush and Rumsfeld have driven into the ditch!

OK...I am ceding your point for the sake of what?

Get out of the ditch first, then seriously talk about which direction to take!!!!

Cute. Kitchy. Nice slogan. Now...are you saying just plain and simple get out of Iraq? A simple yes or no will suffice.

Success is not predicated on riding preconceived solutions into the ditch, but by flexibilty and adaptability to the EVOLVING ever- changing demands.

And again...success cant be determined based on a slogan. ARE saying get out of Iraq? Pull troops immediately...full withdrawal?

To deflect EVERY strategy as "cut and run" is a perfidious (treacherous) POLITICAL gambit -- it is militarily irresponsible too!!!!

Perhaps the reason we are left with defining every liberal strategy as "cut and run" is because (like you have once again failed to do) there is never...NEVER given a strategic alternative OTHER than cut and run.

Hey...dont get me wrong. I LOVE Russ Feingold. I disagree with him on just about everything but at least he is direct, up front and honest. he has no qualms with saying get out now.

Ty to define Kerry's policy (ANY Kerry policy), Clintons policy, etc etc etc, on and on and on.

So wasted an entire post and didnt offer a single solution. You wont even commit to a cut and run philosophy. So...what then?

In a debate you have to either defeat the arguments of the opponent and offer an effective alternative or defend the status quo. You obviously dont like the status quo but have offered no alternative.

Anonymous said...

Both. Though the incompetence/failure has had as many heads as hydra!!!!

MindMechanic said...


Who are you and what have you done with anonymous? That was indeed a well thought out and well presented argument.

I am not suggesting we are in civil war in the US (though if you want to talk a common element one could link gang and gang related violence and find commonality).

I also ABOSULTELY agree that there is continuing violence in Iraq and I ALSO agree that the violence is coordinated. It is being conducted on a routine basis by extremist fundamentalists on BOTH SIDES of the conflict and is being done with the sole intent and purpose to destabilize the entire state and cause what has been claimed is happening...they WANT a civil war to erupt. To date...that has not happened.

You will not find ANYWHERE here where I have not agreed there is violence, especially the magnitude that you mentioned. I am not shocked...are you? We are dealing with extremist fundamentalists...people that find glory in slaughtering the innocent in their 'righteous' cause.

I have also stated VERY clearly that I do NOT believe it is our military's job in Iraq to end that violence. That violence can end ONLY when the Iraqi people decide they have had enough. THEY will either end the violence as a people or will choose to engage.

To me, that is not the fault or to be blunt the concern of our military. Check back...I have maintained that position from the very beginning. That is the Iraqi's job. Winning peace and freedom must be done by the people. It cant be forced on the people. If the Iraqi's refuse this opportunity, then the get what they deserve.

What our job IS and will continue to be is what Bush has stated from the beginning. Oust Saddam (enforce Clintons policy of regime change which he never had the courage to carry out). Help the Iraqis elect a government. Help the Iraqis establish a constitution. Train the Iraqi military and security forces. Turn over the security of the nation to the Iraqis.

After that...its up to them.

MindMechanic said...

Women's Lib
Saddam wasn't a feminist.


Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, May 3, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

Some radical feminists and anti-war liberals have very short memories. It's just three years after Saddam Hussein's ouster and some would have us believe the tyrant was in fact a protector of women's rights in Iraq. That Iraq under Saddam actually had progressive, pro-women policies that are now being "rolled back" thanks to the Bush administration.

A recent report by "Global Exchange" and "Code Pink" entitled "Iraqi Women Under Siege" concluded that "the occupation of Iraq has not resulted in greater equality and freedom for women" than they had under Saddam Hussein. Published by two radical feminist anti-war groups whose primary activities include protesting military recruiting stations, organizing anti-WTO protests and sympathizing with the regimes in North Korea and Cuba, this report echoes a long line of blatant pronouncements. Hillary Clinton who once said that after liberation there were "pullbacks in the rights that [women] were given under Saddam Hussein" and Howard Dean's infamous remark that "Iraqi women were better off under Saddam Hussein."

Anti-war revisionist liberals and radical feminists alike are trying their best to come up with comparisons of the Saddamist and post-Saddamist eras in Iraq with the aim of discrediting the historic liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein in 2003. With Iraqi women they think they have found a seemingly incontrovertible argument since Saddam, according to his apologists, was a "secular" ruler who gave liberal rights to women.

In a complex society like Iraq's, with its labyrinthine political and social development over the past 40 years, it is foolhardy to make simplistic comparisons based on a mere three years of post-Saddam liberation. Still, it is worth setting the record straight on how women really fared under the rule of this allegedly "benign" dictatorship. Revisionist history-writing must not prevail.

Much of the anti-war propagandists' defense of Saddam as a champion of women's rights rests on his willingness to allow women to vote (for him), drive cars, own property, get an education and work. What they choose to ignore, however, is the systematic rapes, torture, beheadings, honor killings, forced fertility programs, and declining literacy rates that also characterized Saddam's regime. A few examples can only begin to illustrate the cruelty and suffering endured by thousands of Iraqi women.

One torture technique favored by Saddam's henchman and his sons involved raping a detainee's mother or sister in front of him until he talked. In Saddam's torture chambers women, when not tortured and raped, spent years in dark jails. If lucky, their suckling children were allowed to be with them. In most cases, however, these children were considered a nuisance to be disposed of; mass graves currently being uncovered contain many corpses of children buried alive with their mothers.

During Saddam's war with Iran, nearly an entire generation of Iraqi men were killed, injured or captured, leaving a dearth of men of military age in Iraqi society. As a result, Saddam launched "fertility campaigns" that forcibly administered fertility drugs to school girls as young as 10 in an effort to drive up the population rate.

After the Gulf War--particularly after crushing the Shiite and Kurdish uprisings of 1991--Saddam reverted to tribal and "Islamic" traditions as a means to consolidate power. Iraqi women paid the heaviest price for his new-found piety. Many women were removed from government jobs and were not allowed to travel without the permission of a male relative. Men were exempted from punishment for "honor" killings--killings carried out on female relatives who had supposedly "shamed" their family. An estimated 4,000 women died from honor killings in the ensuing years. By 2000, Iraqi women, once considered the most highly educated in the Middle East, had literacy levels of only 23%.

Under the pretext of fighting prostitution in 2000, Saddam's Fedayeen forces beheaded 200 women "dissidents" and dumped their head on their families doorsteps for public display. These women obviously lost whatever "rights" granted to them once they got in Saddam's way.

Saddam Hussein was an equal opportunity killer who tortured, raped and gassed men, women and children alike. From Dujail in the South (the murder of hundreds of villagers for which he is on trial now) to the chemical obliteration of Halabja in the North, all Iraqis bore the brunt of the tyrant's wrath.

The revisionist history offered by those opposed to the Bush administration--whether it comes from bad judgment, a lack of information or a desire for political advantage--has grave consequences. A brutal dictator who tortures his own people cannot be a champion of women's rights. To pretend otherwise is to dishonor the memory of the thousands of innocent Iraqi women who died in a senseless brutal reign of terror. It also does a grave disservice to the men and women of this country who died or were injured to liberate Iraq.

The political participation of Iraqi women is a critical component in building a stable democracy in Iraq that respects human rights. So here, at the Independent Women's Forum, we've launched the Iraqi Women's Democracy Initiative which trained over 150 pro-democracy women from every region, ethnicity and religion in Iraq in areas such as good governance, rule of law, civil society and the pillars of democracy. We had the privilege of working with many extraordinary women who went on to become members of parliament, ministers, local officials and key leaders in civil society organizations. We're also building the capacity of women-led non-governmental organizations in South Central and Southern Iraq through a small grant program, technical assistance and skills training. Hopefully, the brave Iraqi women who once suffered under Saddam can now freely promote change within their own society.

When we think about the women who lived under Saddam Hussein, we should recall the nameless young mother cradling her baby's lifeless body in the killing fields of Halabja. Iraqi women will never forget what life under Saddam was like. And the American forces who ousted Saddam deserve to be remembered for their heroic efforts and to go down in history as liberators.

Ms. Rassam is director of international policy for the Independent Women's Forum.

MindMechanic said...

Calm at the Center of the Storm
New York Times, May 2, 2006

Hilla, Iraq

HERE in the hometown of Iraq's prime minister-designate, Nuri al-Maliki, people are understandably excited. And not just because a local boy has done well. Rather, they hope Mr. Maliki's ascension is a sign that Iraq as a whole may emulate their province's remarkable success in combating Iraq's two main security threats: Sunni Arab terrorism and the infiltration of Shiite militias into the state security forces.

Hilla is the capital of Babil Province, 900 square miles just south of Baghdad that could well turn out to be the country's crucial province. Babil's population of 1.6 million, like that of Arab Iraq in general, is mostly Shiite with a Sunni minority. The province borders not only the capital but also the Sunni heartland, Anbar Province, to the west and the Shiite holy places Najaf and Karbala to the south. In the east, Babil's neighboring provinces stretch to Iran and feel its influence heavily.

Babil's date palm plantations, flat alluvial landscape and almost infinitely divided lattice of irrigation canals give the place a timeless and emblematic feeling. It was home to Babylon — and the Tower of Babel. Thus it was here that Iraq gave the world the "confusion of languages": what should be the blessing of diversity, now cast as the curse of identity politics.

If everything goes to pieces in Iraq, we will not hear much more about Babil. In that case it will be Anbar, Basra, Kirkuk, Sadr City and the Green Zone in Baghdad that will symbolize pessimism and disaster. But if things go well, or at least better — if Iraq still exists five years from now, and continues to be more free than all of its neighbors except Turkey and less of a threat to them than it used to be — then Babil will have been a major reason for the success.

What Iraqis care about above all else these days is security, and Babil — apart from the so-called Death Triangle around the towns of Latifiya, Mahmudiya and Yusufiya in the Sunni north — is a safe place. In the December national elections, voter turnout in Babil was nearly 70 percent without a single serious incident of violence.

During the Shiite festival of Ashura this year, marked by 10 days of pilgrimage to Najaf and Karbala, some half a million pilgrims walked and drove through the province without reports of a single insurgent attack. Of the 81 civil reconstruction projects undertaken in Babil outside the Death Triangle in the last year — most related to water and electricity — not one has been attacked by Sunni insurgents or Shiite militias, according to the executive officer of the American troops here, the First Squadron of the 10th Cavalry. He told me that his troops had experienced only eight cases of hostile contact, and not a single casualty, since arriving in December. (They are vacating the base now and will not be replaced.)

Order here is not of the same magnitude as that in the Kurdish north, where 15 years of freedom have allowed the development of a highly efficient police state. Nor is it the false quiet of the south, where the allied forces' ceding of the streets to Shiites militias has masked a situation in which Basra is more frightening to liberal Iraqis and to foreigners than is Baghdad. Order in Babil is real order, not gangster order.

What really makes Babil special is that it is a largely Shiite province in which the Shiite militias — the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades — have almost no foothold. But they are trying. All Iraq's police answer to the Interior Ministry, which is held by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the main Iranian organ in the country. And the interior minister, Bayan Jabr, has repeatedly tried to replace Babil's independent-minded provincial police chief, Gen. Qais Hamza al-Maamony. Under heavy pressure from the Americans, however, the minister agreed in January to a moratorium on the replacement of senior police officers until after the formation of the new government.

Nonetheless, according to American officials in the province, General Maamony was recently forced to accept 700 candidates recommended by the ministry — that is, by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution — for the incoming class of the provincial police academy. The police chief, I'm told, plans to spread these recruits as thinly as possible around the province upon their graduation to lessen their impact on the force.

General Maamony and his 8,000 men — especially the provincial SWAT teams, which supply the muscle that the relatively poorly trained and lightly armed regular police often cannot or will not provide — are understandably unpopular with the council and its military wing, the Badr Brigades. And they are equally feared by the Mahdi Army of the rebel Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. A member of one local SWAT team often wears a baseball hat with "Mahdi Militia Killer" inscribed on it

One Iraqi-American living here told me that he saw an operation in which the SWAT team drove up to a Mahdi checkpoint in civilian cars and clothes one night last year and killed 38 of the militiamen. While this number may be an exaggeration, unquestionably the local police forces are taking on the militias.

Of course, the Shiite militias are not the only danger. Up in the Sunni north, the province's police commandos mount 40-man daylight patrols in support of the overwhelmed local police officers, bouncing down rural byways, swerving around holes in the main roads created by homemade bombs, pointing out to me the places where in recent weeks they have fought in gun battles that often lasted several hours.

AT night they conduct more focused missions, often in the company of American Special Forces operatives, to apprehend suspected insurgents. One Special Forces commander told me he had worked with local policemen in just about every hot spot around the world since 1980, and that the Iraqi commandos in Babil are "the best any of us have ever seen."

They are also worried, as are their colleagues among the regular police. When the current moratorium on firing nonpartisan police officials expires with the formation of the new government (Mr. Maliki has about three weeks to finish that task), a momentous drama will break out inside the Interior Ministry in Baghdad. If the ministry stays in the hands of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution, then the people of Babil might find their streets and markets patrolled by men with greater allegiance to the council than to the legitimate Iraqi government and the country's best interests.

Should this happen, the assault commander of the provincial police commandos told me, he and his men might have to retire together to a rural compound where they would be out of jobs and out of uniform, but they could try to keep one another safe.

Can the new government prevent this success story at the heart of Arab Iraq from becoming yet another stronghold of theocrats, thugs and meddling neighbors? Handicapping Iraqi politics is a fool's game, of course, but if anyone can, it might well be Mr. Maliki. While he spent some years of his exile in Iran, he was the leader of the pro-Arab, rather than the pro-Iranian, wing of his party, Dawa. He has a strongly Shiite identity, yet his acceptance in his new post by Kurdish and Sunni politicians has been on surprisingly warm terms.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Maliki is less of an Iranian stooge and a far more forceful character than his predecessor, Ibrahim al-Jaafari. He also has solid anti-insurgent credentials. As chairman of the Parliament's national security committee, he was the architect of the popular new law that, among other things, attacks the economic basis of domestic insurgent support by going after the property and wealth of those convicted of abetting terrorists.

The key for the incoming government will be to apply this law vigorously in the knowledge that nonsectarian and nonpartisan control of local security forces is the key to domestic order and, ultimately, reconstruction.

Babil shows that such a thing is possible. But if this province is to continue to provide an island of relative order in the heart of Arab Iraq, people like General Maamony need to keep their jobs. For now, in the blast-walled compounds of the Hilla police forces and commandos, the real sense of siege is not from the insurgents and militias they fight almost every day, but from the politicians in Baghdad.

Bartle Breese Bull is the foreign editor of Prospect magazine and author of the forthcoming "Paradise Lost: In Search of Civilization in the Fertile Crescent."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the debate lesson -- who told you THAT about debate? There he goes again!!!!

First: This isn't a debate.

Second: I think Cowboy diplomacy has KILLED American credibility worlwide.

Third: When the United States regards the UN as its personal lacky to do its bidding, then in other's eyes America chooses to always go it alone, because worldwide trust will have been LOST -- unhappily from MY point of view.
I am well aware of UN inadequacies real and imagined. The alternative is WORSE and will remain WORSE for a very long time.

Non-negotiation threatens WORLD-WIDE security!!!!

MindMechanic said...

There are so many more positive signs than negative. the problem is that you have to search Iraqi news sites to find them.

The media in America simply will not post ANYTHING that is indicative of positive progress.

Prime minister Alawi just did two very lengthy interviews this last weekend dicussing Iraq today and the way ahead.

Anyone see anything on those interviews?

The only people that report in this country have a stated and vested interest in making things look as dire and negative as possible.

YoU DONTY read about the Ramadan Declaration where the unified (wow...unified government) elected response (Thats Kurd, Sunni and Shiite) set in place time tables for disbanding militias. You dont read that the majority of Imams in iraq supported it.

You dont read about Alawis declaration about their current troop levels or their goal of assuming responsibility for the security of Iraq in months instead of years.

You dont read about the schools being opened, the economy growing, etc etc etc.

Iraq is years ahead of germany in its reorganization as a country. We have seen successful models. We also have a pretty good idea of what happens if we dont succeed in helping the Iraqi people succeed.

And YES...Iraq is dangerous and brutal. The extremists in Iraq wont stop by choice. They wont stop if we leave. They wont stay in Iraq if we leave. They MUST be dealt with. There or here...they must be dealt with.

MindMechanic said...

Thanks for the debate lesson -- who told you THAT about debate?

Nope...age wise Lysis is more a peer. Burningham...Todd-Mao...Farnes...thsoe were my models.

First: This isn't a debate.

Right...I get that. Its not a 'debate' because you dont offer valid arguments.

Second: I think Cowboy diplomacy has KILLED American credibility worlwide.

Define Cowboy Diplomacy. Was it Cowboy Diplomacy the 8 times Clinton atacked Iraq (without UN permission?) Was it Cowboy diplomacy when Clinton declared war on the Serbs (with a smaller coalition of support than when Bush attacked Saddam)? are saying the US should NOT go it alone w/ North Korea...right? The US should insist on the 6 party talks and UN involvement...right?

Third: When the United States regards the UN as its personal lacky to do its bidding, then in other's eyes America chooses to always go it alone, because worldwide trust will have been LOST -- unhappily from MY point of view.

Your point on the UN is humorous. The UN...does what exactly? even BORUGHT UP the UN?

The same UN that has watched Rwanda and Darfur? The same UN that ran as soon as it was attacked once in iraq? The same UN that sends troops into African countries with armored personnel carriers and weaposn...and no ammunition? The same UN personnel who because they had no ammo were stripped naked and had all their equipment taken by rebels in Liberia? The same UN that we KNOW for a fact covered for Saddam and allowed him to us the billions in the Oil for Food scandal that was SUPPOSED to feed Iraqis and instead that same UN allowed him to make under the table deals and profit personanly while his people starved to death? The same UN that allowed Saddam to use those funds for personal gain instead of providing medical care? the same UN that acts as a front for every third world thug? the same UN that has recently been caught with its troops raping and murdering refugees in Darfur?

And you see Bush as using them how?

Maybe just maybe the US has gone it alone because as we have seen PROVEN the french, germans, Russians, and Chinese were in bed with Saddam all along?

"I am well aware of UN inadequacies real and imagined. The alternative is WORSE and will remain WORSE for a very long time.
Non-negotiation threatens WORLD-WIDE security!!!!"
Hey...its not like the UN wasnt ASKED to resolve the Hussein situation.

tell me Anon...since SEVENTEEN UN resolutions didnt work...just how many did you want them to pass???

Let the UN deal with it.

THATS funny.

MindMechanic said... your 1st, 2nd, and third responses you once AGAIN failed to provide anything resembling a plan or course of action. You DID say you dont like the label "cut and run"...but all we are STILL left with is cut and run.

So I guess thats what you are stuck with.

MindMechanic said...

I love the headlines...

"Reid violates campaign ethics laws"

"Reid Fails to Disclose Involvement in Land Deals"

"Reid says he didnt consider the land in sold in 2001 as giving up rights to land"

and finally

Reid Goes Beyond Ethics Requirments and Slams Door on GOP Smear Tactics"

So....apparently, if you get caught doing massively illegal things...all you have to do is pay it back and say you didnt know and everything is good.

I wonder if Foley sends an email to the former Page saying "Never Mind" if that makes it all better.

Oh yeah...and another fav-

"Records Reveal Pelosi Voted in Favor of Studds for Committe Chair Three Times After Disclosure of Sex with Boy"

That last one isnt a headline...its just a fact.

Democrats make me laugh.

MindMechanic said...

Rice rallies partners on N. Korea sanctions

AFP - 1 hour, 5 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The United States called on its partners in the confrontation with North Korea to honor their "obligations" to punish the Stalinist regime after US intelligence confirmed that Pyongyang had carried out its first nuclear test.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she would urge Japan, South Korea, China and Russia during visits this week to "share the burdens as well as the benefits" of forcing North Korea to back away from its nuclear arms program.

Anonymous said...

You think the ONLY TWO options are some kind of plan by the Democrats or CONTINUING in the DITCH? -- we've hit the ice berg, we're going down, it's late for planing ANYTHING but damage control and rescuing survivors.

It seems you prefer to ride this disaster all the way to the bottom with the Captain -- however, the country, in competent hands, will not make YOUR mistake -- be patient, it wont be much longer.

Burningham teach you anything about Comparative Advantage and Topicality?

Considering the ALTERNATIVE, working through the UN is preferable to isolation and the "go it alone" Jingoism that you and other wild eyed, knee jerk conservatives offer. Nothing so happy as a Republican at war -- to gleefully offer only thermo-nuclear solutions and self righteously fantasize about going down with the ship when the inevitable happens!

Doomed by the "moth to the flame" fatalism of your "end times" theology.

MindMechanic said...


"You think the ONLY TWO options are some kind of plan by the Democrats or CONTINUING in the DITCH?"

Since you have YET to offer an option...and since the dems have yet to offer an option, then what else do we have to go on? What do YOU have to go on? You obviously believe new leadership has a better exactly IS that idea?

When Kerry ran for president he ALWAYS stood in front of the cameras and said "I have a plan." EVERY time he was asked what that plan was and his response was ALWAYS the same..."My plan will solve the problems." what is the plan? His response? He had none.

So what...was he keeping his plan supersecret in case he ever got a chance to implement it?

Tell YOU know what his plan is?

You keep saying I am blindly committed to the current phase of operations. I think I have stated pretty clearly MY position and my position has NOTHING to do with the current plan of the Republicans or the cut and run option of the democrats.

I DO NOT think it is our need or requirement to secure Iraq. I think our military mission in Iraq is to continue to combat terrorists, to support the new Iraqi government, and to train the Iraqis and enable them to take over. the sooner the better. But the war against terrorists is one that MUST continue and THAT is the tasking of the US military in Iraq in my opinion.

"-- we've hit the ice berg, we're going down, it's late for planing ANYTHING but damage control and rescuing survivors."

From your defeatist perspective. Fine...I accept that response as you saying your answer is cut and run. And if thats your position thats FINE...for what its worth. I just disagree.

I believe that as long as the majority of Iraqis are willing to fight for their freedom and for peace and for democracy then we should support that option. A pullout defeats any chance they have of success.

"country, in competent hands, will not make YOUR mistake -- be patient, it wont be much longer.

Really? Who's competant hands are you speaking of? Do you even KNOW what Hillary's plan is? She has been on EVERY side of the issue...good luck figuring that one out. Kerry? We know his solution now...surrender. So thats a good option for YOU at least.

"Considering the ALTERNATIVE, working through the UN is preferable"

Once again...your comments are absolutely LAUGHABLE. The UN is your answer. Nice one.

Maybe the UN can pass a few more resolutions...I'm sure the terrorists would honor those.

The UN cant find a consensus ordering breakfast...and THATS who you would trust matters of world security to? Thats why liberals cant be trusted with security issues.

The UN was asked repeatedly to engage Iraq. They refused and YOU KNOW why...because the UN is corrupt. The UN actually established a presence...and it lasted for about a week. 1 attack and they left and havent been back since.

Good plan...

Cameron said...

From "Team America: World Police"

Hans Blix: "I'm sorry, but the U.N. must be firm with you. Let me see your whole palace, or else."

Kim Jong Il: "Or else what?"

Blix: "Or else we will be very, very angry with you, and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are."

Hat tip, Reach Upward

Anonymous said...

Poor, confused Lysis and Mindmech,

President Bush last week claimed credit for a striking reversal of fortune: New figures show the federal budget deficit shrinking by 40 percent over the past two years, a turnaround the president hopes will strengthen his push for further tax cuts.

Economists said Bush was claiming credit where little is due. The economy has grown and tax receipts have risen at historic rates over the past two years, but the Bush tax cuts played a small role in that process, they said, and cost the Treasury more in lost taxes than it gained from the resulting economic stimulus.

"Federal revenue is lower today than it would have been without the tax cuts. There's really no dispute among economists about that," said Alan D. Viard, a former Bush White House economist now at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "It's logically possible" that a tax cut could spur sufficient economic growth to pay for itself, Viard said. "But there's no evidence that these tax cuts would come anywhere close to that."

No dispute, Lysis and Mindmech are confused. But with all the double-speak and double-think from this administration it is difficult to blame you.

MindMechanic said...


6 years into an administration, it is undeniable that the economic policies of any administration are responsible for the end result.

The end result of 6 years of Bush economic policies are 4.6% unemployment (historical lows, better than any time in the Clinton admin), industrial growth many times greater than the dotcom boom and bust of the Clinton economy, more land development and first time home buyers than at any time in history, inflation figures that remain low, an economy that has supported unprecedented economic aid as well as medical and food aid to the continent of Africa, to Indonesia, and other places around the world. The stock market and private citizen investments are at all time highs. Individual incomes and individual business opportunities are at all time highs. Minority busnesses are booming. Minority incomes are higher and growing faster than at any time in history.

We are 2.5 weeks away from an election and no demcrats are even bothering to mention the economy. Proof positive that the Bush economic policies are working. You KNOW that if the economy were not so strong the democrats would be blaming Bush.

Spin it how you like. Let pundits spin it how they like. The facts prove you wrong.

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