How to Defend America?


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Ellen,

Fer Keriiiisst sake! I don't mind you and Jody going at it, but if you say something bad about someone, he is going to be miffed. You don't have to be speaking to him. You can even be trashing someone else at the same time. None of that makes any difference. If you say something bad about someone, he is going to be miffed.

This ain't rocket science. And nobody reading all this is a fool. What on earth are you arguing?

Michael

Michael,

Thanks for seeing how I took this as an insult. Arguments I can handle, but "vapid" insults fire me up.

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Quoting Martin:

Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Neither did Iran, the next nation that the Bush administration is looking for an excuse to attack. But never mind that. Those Muslims are all the same. Just a bunch of Islamo-fascists.

You are correct-Iraq had nothing directly to do with 9/11. They did however have something directly to do with al-qaeda. The 9/11 Commission even discovered that. So should we just appease the nations that support the terrorists groups which attack us?

You are correct again. Iran had nothing to do with 9/11, but what is your solution to a radical Islamic regime(or as I say Islamo-fascists filth) which is enriching Uranium while calling for the destruction of Israel? Pick up a history book and in the index look up Chamberlain and Hitler.

Edited by Jody Gomez
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Get real. Iraq was conquered for Exxon. The ploy failed. Presto, $100 oil.

W.

Care to cite any evidence for that claim?

Wolf is wrong...

--Brant

I'm an exploration insider. Cheney's 2000 secret energy commission concluded that 25% of future US oil imports had to come from Iraq because of declining production in the North Sea, Kuwait, etc. In 2003, I saw a map of Iraq's fields and known reserves at a major oil company's office in Houston. There was a team assigned to develop it as soon as Bremer had it sewed up. I said Exxon because I didn't want to name the company in question, but it was one of the top five, and certainly Exxon had similar maps and plans. You shouldn't be so eager to dismiss the facts. Had nothing to do with Saddam or democracy or WMD or terrorism.

W.

Let's get something straight, Wolfo, you say Exxon I say you're wrong. If you had said this other stuff I wouldn't have said you're wrong. And you might have quoted me in full instead of going for an easy refutation. I have to say those bastards thought it was going to be so easy. Ho, hah. When I was undergoing jump training in '65 and one of the training NCOs said the U.S. was going to commit ground forces to Vietnam I wondered if after some years there wouldn't be 30 thousand or more US soldier deaths just like Korea and for what? I knew even then that a Korean-type stalemate would not be possible because there was no way to seperate North from South Vietnam with a DMZ. I was a 20 yo US army private and I knew more than our esteemed leaders only at the time I hoped they would know what the fuck they knew what they were doing only I doubted it to my bones. Nothing like knowing the ugly future and not being ble to do shit about it. That's the leitmotif of my life. What rules the world is stupidity and cultural inertia in conflict aways. Things are getting better, but Moloch still gets all the young soldiers to eat.

--Brant

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Get real. Iraq was conquered for Exxon. The ploy failed. Presto, $100 oil.

W.

Care to cite any evidence for that claim?

Wolf is wrong...

--Brant

I'm an exploration insider. Cheney's 2000 secret energy commission concluded that 25% of future US oil imports had to come from Iraq because of declining production in the North Sea, Kuwait, etc. In 2003, I saw a map of Iraq's fields and known reserves at a major oil company's office in Houston. There was a team assigned to develop it as soon as Bremer had it sewed up. I said Exxon because I didn't want to name the company in question, but it was one of the top five, and certainly Exxon had similar maps and plans. You shouldn't be so eager to dismiss the facts. Had nothing to do with Saddam or democracy or WMD or terrorism.

W.

Okay Captain Nemo. When you can cite sources other than the voices in you head, you just let me know.

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Jody,

About another issue, I don't want to stifle strongly held views, but I do have a suggestion rhetoric-wise. Place your passion on the idea, not on the messenger of the idea. It is far more effective to do that and you will convince far more people.

When you call someone a vulgar name, the only way to make that effective is to dismiss him and have nothing more to do with him. But if you call someone a vulgar name and continue to debate him—even calling him other names—whether you like it or not the message that comes across is that you do not believe in the strength of the ideas you promote. You show you need to stifle the other and do not have the capacity to convince him of any idea at all.

Think about hecklers. How many hecklers have convinced anyone of anything at a meeting? How many people think a heckler has a strong argument?

Now think about this. Imagine a meeting where a strongly held controversial view is being presented. Among the audience, there is one (preferably a person with standing, but an anonymous person will do) who suddenly gets up and says loudly: "You are full of crap. I will have nothing to do with this anymore." Then he walks out.

Who made the stronger statement?

A moment in Atlas Shrugged comes to mind. Remember Galt in the meeting at the Twentieth Century Motor Company? He did just that and the phrase "Who is John Galt?" was born.

As to your discussion with Martin, if you wish to have an ongoing exchange with him, the approach has to be different to be effective. One solid fact insisted on in the midst of heated rhetoric is far more powerful than shouting all the vulgar names in the world.

I am not against using vulgar names per se. I do think one must use them with competence, though. Otherwise, the discussion gets robbed of its important ideas and descends into mere bickering between people who do not like each other.

Michael

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Quoting Martin:
The most recent figures from Iraq Body Count estimate roughly 78,000 - 85,000 deaths, but these are deaths confirmed from multiple sources and only include non-combatant deaths.

So what kind of dishonest ass does it take to inflate "the most recent figures" of 78,000-85,000 and inflate them to "several hundred thousand?"

I wrote, "This figure is a guess on my part, since the exact figure can never be known. As it says on the top of the Iraq Body Count web site, quoting Tommy Franks, "We don't do body counts". The most recent figures from Iraq Body Count estimate roughly 78,000 - 85,000 deaths, but these are deaths confirmed from multiple sources and only include non-combatant deaths. As such, they represent an absolute lower bound to the number of deaths. Other estimates are much higher."

In other words, the 78,000 - 85,000 represents an absolute lower bound. The Lancet study estimated over 600,000 deaths as of last year. Other estimates are even higher. Due to deficiencies in accurate record keeping in a war zone, it is eminently reasonable to assume that many deaths were not documented to meet the rigorous requirements of IBC.

This was all explained in my post, as well as at the link I provided. Why don't you learn to read, moron?

Martin

Edited by Martin Radwin
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Quoting Martin:
Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Neither did Iran, the next nation that the Bush administration is looking for an excuse to attack. But never mind that. Those Muslims are all the same. Just a bunch of Islamo-fascists.

You are correct-Iraq had nothing directly to do with 9/11. They did however have something directly to do with al-qaeda. The 9/11 Commission even discovered that. So should we just appease the nations that support the terrorists groups which attack us?

You just love making stuff up, don't you? Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. The 9/11 commission discovered no such thing, since there's no truth to it whatever.

You are correct again. Iran had nothing to do with 9/11, but what is your solution to a radical Islamic regime(or as I say Islamo-fascists filth) which is enriching Uranium while calling for the destruction of Israel? Pick up a history book and in the index look up Chamberlain and Hitler.

Iran never called for the destruction of Israel. This so called threat by Ahmadinejad was based on a mistranslation of a statement he made, which has by now been well documented. But don't let the facts get in the way of your hysteria. Even if Iran had threatened Israel, Israel is more than capable of defending itself. Your analogy between Iran and Nazi Germany is laughably absurd.

Martin

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Iran never called for the destruction of Israel. This so called threat by Ahmadinejad was based on a mistranslation of a statement he made, which has by now been well documented. But don't let the facts get in the way of your hysteria. Even if Iran had threatened Israel, Israel is more than capable of defending itself. Your analogy between Iran and Nazi Germany is laughably absurd.

Martin

Really. Perhaps you would do us the service of re-documenting it or point to a reference? And I am sure Ahmandinejad's denial of the holocaust was a mistranslation also.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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If I may, I would like to try and get back to Michael Marot’s excellent original question, “How to Defend America?”

My perspective comes from being a student of history and from experience and interest in all things military. I certainly don’t have all the answers, and I have lots more to learn, but here are some of my reflections.

My first concern is a long-range strategic one, i.e., China (the Red one). China is an up-and-coming powerhouse. They lack a decent navy for projection of their power, and it would take a long time for them to get into the big leagues. The US Navy’s global reach is unsurpassed at this moment, and American power (for good or ill) can be projected almost at will, as far as global ocean distances are concerned. With such a rule of the waves, the US Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines can reach far.

China can make a fast-track move to threaten or reduce America’s naval superiority. The US Navy is vitally dependent upon its satellite system (GPS) for everything, for navigation and for weapons targeting. If China could disrupt the US navigational satellite system, it could damage US military strength quite badly.

China has demonstrated a crude but effective proto-ability to kill a satellite, by simply ramming one of their own. This shows that they are thinking of such warfare on the high ground of orbital space.

I agree with the idea that one should “avoid land-wars in Asia” at almost all costs, so I think the US should secure the high ground of orbital space now that the US is ahead there. Developing and deploying the technologies for protecting one’s own satellites and being able to threaten another’s satellites or missiles is an imperative. The US should look at this as a primary goal.

As for present-day concerns, the US military is stretched too thin, being engaged in both Afghanistan and Iraq, just as al Qaeda had hoped. A third theater of operations, if one should come up, is too much to handle for our ground forces. The fine American men and women who have volunteered are doing admirably – and much better than their DC “commanders” -- but morale and effectiveness are being threatened by combat burn-out in long tours of duty.

(If the US government tried to activate the draft, I think there would be a revolution of the young in the streets; at least I hope American youth are spunky enough to resist.)

What to do in the short term? Political sentiments in the US seem to show that the American people are burnt-out on the Iraq occupation. People want out, but the US must get out of mainstream fighting in Iraq without allowing the foreign jihadists or Iran to fill the power vacuum. Let’s look at the maps. Saudi Arabia, as sleazy as it is, is historically a top “ally” of the US in the region, a key oil supplier. But – despite US sales of weapon systems – the Saudis are weak and could not counter Iranian power moves in the immediate region.

The Saudis fear the Shiite and non-Arabic nation of Iran. Iran wants to dominate Iraq through Iraq’s Shiite majority, who happen to sit on the main oil reserves. How to balance Iran’s moves?

A US attack on Iran is nuts. Besides being a much bigger nation than Iraq, Iran is geographically a nightmare to invade and occupy. Iran’s middle classes probably are sick of radical Islamist rule, and they still represent a chance in the future for a regime change from within, if the right time and opportunity arrives. But when any nation is attacked from without, the people tend to rally around the government in place. Iran will have *some* influence on post-occupation Iraq, simply because of their proximity and their bond with Iraqi Shiites, but they must be balanced and checked.

Turkey is nearby and is an oftentimes ally of the US. Turkey is non-Arab and is (still at this moment, at least) a secular state. They fear radical Islamists at home and nearby, e.g., Iran and Iraq. Turkey’s military is big-league in this part of the world. The US needs to balance Turkey against Iran’s ambitions in the coming Iraqi power vacuum. When US forces are out (or deployed at the margins such as in SW Iraq’s unpopulated border areas as nearby quick-reaction forces protecting Saudi Arabia) it will be Turkey that balances power in Iraq, checking Iranian moves (along with a shaky, US-propped-up Saudi Arabia).

Who loses? The Kurds. “Kurdistan” straddles the borders of Turkey, Iraq and Iran, causing concerns for all three countries by ardent Kurdish separatism and armed conflict. Despite sympathy for independence movements, the US is selling out the Kurds right now as we speak. Publicly, the US protests the Turks taking the fight across the border into Kurdish Iraq, but Turkey must be accommodated in order to use their power to check the Iranians. Dishonorable or not, this is the way geopolitical power-brokering works. Any arrangement among governments is always an agreement among thieves. These are the ugly realities as I see it.

The US must deal with the power realities in the region – as in “make a deal.” This means dealing with everyone in the region, including Iran. And these deals are no doubt being made right now. With (shaky) alliances with Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the US is in a fairly effective negotiating position.

As for building wider friendships, alliances and international relationships that will aid the US and the West, I think the US military learned too late in Iraq, but they can continue their learning experience by sticking to the old Small Wars Manual: i.e., if you must occupy a foreign people, at least make friends with as many of them as possible, protect them, teach them how to defend themselves, bring them peace while allowing them to achieve prosperity and while respecting their (civilized) traditions and autonomy. Of course I would hope that peoples cease from occupying other peoples’ countries, but that may be the idealist in me dreaming.

These are some of my own reflections. They are not written in stone and they will hopefully evolve with more experience.

.

-Ross Barlow.

Edited by Ross Barlow
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Okay Captain Nemo. When you can cite sources other than the voices in you head, you just let me know.

Ho hum. Let's start with the basics, shall we? (scrolldown to chart)

Brant,

You know, I hope, that I have the highest respect for your gallantry and candor. Sorry if I offended.

Wolf

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Jody,

About another issue, I don't want to stifle strongly held views, but I do have a suggestion rhetoric-wise. Place your passion on the idea, not on the messenger of the idea. It is far more effective to do that and you will convince far more people.

When you call someone a vulgar name, the only way to make that effective is to dismiss him and have nothing more to do with him. But if you call someone a vulgar name and continue to debate him—even calling him other names—whether you like it or not the message that comes across is that you do not believe in the strength of the ideas you promote. You show you need to stifle the other and do not have the capacity to convince him of any idea at all.

Think about hecklers. How many hecklers have convinced anyone of anything at a meeting? How many people think a heckler has a strong argument?

Now think about this. Imagine a meeting where a strongly held controversial view is being presented. Among the audience, there is one (preferably a person with standing, but an anonymous person will do) who suddenly gets up and says loudly: "You are full of crap. I will have nothing to do with this anymore." Then he walks out.

Who made the stronger statement?

A moment in Atlas Shrugged comes to mind. Remember Galt in the meeting at the Twentieth Century Motor Company? He did just that and the phrase "Who is John Galt?" was born.

As to your discussion with Martin, if you wish to have an ongoing exchange with him, the approach has to be different to be effective. One solid fact insisted on in the midst of heated rhetoric is far more powerful than shouting all the vulgar names in the world.

I am not against using vulgar names per se. I do think one must use them with competence, though. Otherwise, the discussion gets robbed of its important ideas and descends into mere bickering between people who do not like each other.

Michael

Michael,

You're right. I owe Wolf and Martin an apology, and I'm offering that now. This thread started with someone I've always admired taking a sucker-punch at me. That put me in a hell of a state.

Thanks Michael. I mean that sincerely. You know me too well! Fortunately you know when I'm being an asshole.

Edited by Jody Gomez
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The sidebar about peak oil (previous page) was tangential to the central question of how to defend America. IMO Ron Paul has a sensible view of national defense. Not to defend Israel or Germany or Japan. Bring the troops home from Iraq.

I can understand strategic assets like subs, missile cruisers, aircraft, and space/telco intel. I can understand a ready reserve and a small standing army in case of emergency. But 9/11 was not a strategic emergency nor an act of war. Remember? A handful of Saudis and Egyptians, trained at US flight schools, known to the FBI and INS, basically unarmed when they boarded in Boston. No bombs, no poison gas. They attacked Cantor Fitzgerald and the Pentagon.

These are the facts as I understand them.

Locking down the citizens of the United States, searching grannies at the airport, and mobilizing our National Guard to occupy Iraq was not a plan to defend anyone other than bulge bracket bankers and the military-industrial complex. Ron Paul has the right idea. National defense, not national serfdom.

W.

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As a footnote to the post above, endorsing Ron Paul's defense policies, I had to append this quote from my spiritual brother-in-arms Billy Beck:

God bless 'em: I do believe their hearts are in the right place, but Ron Paul is never going to work. Listen to me, man: when John Hospers cranked up the first Libertarian Party bid, Frank Chodorov pointed out to them that their problem was that they wanted to "clean up the whorehouse but keep the business". Now, a real libertarian might not stipulate to the metaphor, because of ethical considerations and the exact nature of a whorehouse's business, but it nonetheless points up the basic contradiction of acquiring political power in order to destroy it.

Here's a serious and very complex question set to very simple terms: if Ron Paul is elected, what exactly is going to keep congress -- not to mention the whole administrative commissariat -- from spending four straight years laughing right in his face?

The whole thing that we're looking at is a lot bigger than any president. And here's something else: the cultural trauma that we're going to have to go through, at this point, in order to make our way back through the whole bureaubotic crusture will not endear any of it to your average dolt in the street. They'd take about one round of it -- maybe -- before they're on their knees and begging for the whip. The reversal of decades on end of economic distortion alone would half kill 'em.

All that -- and a lot more -- is how serious things are now.

(An aside: I fully realize that there will never be anything popular about what I'm saying. That doesn't matter to the facts and their implications.)

:rolleyes:

Edited by Wolf DeVoon
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I had to append this quote re Ron Paul, from my spiritual borther-in-arms Billy Beck:
God bless 'em: I do believe their hearts are in the right place, but Ron Paul is never going to work. Listen to me, man: when John Hospers cranked up the first Libertarian Party bid, Frank Chodorov pointed out to them that their problem was that they wanted to "clean up the whorehouse but keep the business". Now, a real libertarian might not stipulate to the metaphor, because of ethical considerations and the exact nature of a whorehouse's business, but it nonetheless points up the basic contradiction of acquiring political power in order to destroy it.

Here's a serious and very complex question set to very simple terms: if Ron Paul is elected, what exactly is going to keep congress -- not to mention the whole administrative commissariat -- from spending four straight years laughing right in his face?

The whole thing that we're looking at is a lot bigger than any president. And here's something else: the cultural trauma that we're going to have to go through, at this point, in order to make our way back through the whole bureaubotic crusture will not endear any of it to your average dolt in the street. They'd take about one round of it -- maybe -- before they're on their knees and begging for the whip. The reversal of decades on end of economic distortion alone would half kill 'em.

All that -- and a lot more -- is how serious things are now.

(An aside: I fully realize that there will never be anything popular about what I'm saying. That doesn't matter to the facts and their implications.)

:rolleyes:

Excellent points. Yes, even the most moderate attempts to turn the internal Congressional process around, would spread real pain and misery which as we should know is virtually guaranteed during any revolution, any place and any time.

Moreover, your observation concerning the immense federal, state and local structures that have become entrenched over just the last 74 years is going to mete out real pain in the homes and hovels of 90% of Americans.

I personally am convinced that most folks do not understand that when a candidate is elected to any executive position which carrys with it the power to make provisional appointments, you get a few pieces of the best and most innovative individuals [defined as the ones that will never take a civil service exam so that they can never be fired] and the rest of barely competent individuals who want the security that permanent civil service gives them.

In that last group, there are the individuals with skills and agendas.

They become the middle and upper level managers of the governmental structures and the mere act of staying in the system and taking the tests and moving up in the structure, they either become the policy makers or worse, control the critical information which decides how the policy maker will make the decision that effects you and I.

Yes, it is much much worse than most people even want to think about knowing.

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Iran never called for the destruction of Israel. This so called threat by Ahmadinejad was based on a mistranslation of a statement he made, which has by now been well documented. But don't let the facts get in the way of your hysteria. Even if Iran had threatened Israel, Israel is more than capable of defending itself. Your analogy between Iran and Nazi Germany is laughably absurd.

Martin

Really. Perhaps you would do us the service of re-documenting it or point to a reference?

Here's a very good link that goes over the whole history of this issue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmad...onism.22_speech

From the above link,

"According to Juan Cole, a University of Michigan Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History, Ahmadinejad's statement should be translated as:

The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e eshghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).[13]

Norouzi's translation is identical.[12] According to Cole, "Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to 'wipe Israel off the map' because no such idiom exists in Persian". Instead, "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse."[14]

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translates the phrase similarly.[15] On June 15, 2006 The Guardian columnist and foreign correspondent Jonathan Steele published an article based on this reasoning.[16]

Sources within the Iranian government have also denied that Ahmadinejad issued any sort of threat.[17][18][19] On 20 February 2006, Iran’s foreign minister denied that Tehran wanted to see Israel “wiped off the map,” saying Ahmadinejad had been misunderstood. "Nobody can remove a country from the map. This is a misunderstanding in Europe of what our president mentioned," Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference, speaking in English, after addressing the European Parliament. "How is it possible to remove a country from the map? He is talking about the regime. We do not recognise legally this regime," he said."

Quoting from another section of the above link,

"Gawdat Bahgat, Director of Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, commenting on this saying of Ahmadinejad and Iran's nuclear program states: "The fiery calls to destroy Israel are meant to mobilize domestic and regional constituencies. Iran has no plan to attack Israel with its nuclear arsenal and powerful conventional military capabilities. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni summed up his country’s stand on the Arab-Israeli conflict by stressing, '[The] Palestine issue is not Iran’s jihad.'" In fact, Bahgat says that according to most analysts a military confrontation between Iran and Israel is unlikely.[30]

In the speech, Ahmadinejad gave the examples of Iran under the Shah, the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq as examples of apparently invincible regimes that ceased to exist. Ahmadinejad used these examples to justify his belief that the United States and the State of Israel can also be defeated claiming, "they say it is not possible to have a world without the United States and Zionism. But you know that this is a possible goal and slogan."

It's far from clear that Admadinejad's statements are any kind of real threat against Israel, rather than rhetoric designed for consumption by the Iranian public. Iran has neither the motive nor the capability to attack Israel, which has a nuclear arsenal of several hundred nuclear weapons. By contrast, both Israel and the United States do possess the capability to pretty much totally destroy Iran. The U.S. government has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran, with both conventional and possibly even nuclear weapons. "All options are on the table", according to almost all of the republican and democratic presidential candidates, the Bush administration, and Congress. The U.S. government, unlike the Iranian government, has the capability to make good on this threat. The Iranian government does not.

And I am sure Ahmandinejad's denial of the holocaust was a mistranslation also.

I never suggested that. So Admadinejad has some wacky, bullshit ideas. So does our esteemed president George W. Bush. And Bush has far greater power and access to far more lethal weaponry than Admadinejad could ever hope to have.

Martin

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Iran never called for the destruction of Israel. This so called threat by Ahmadinejad was based on a mistranslation of a statement he made, which has by now been well documented. But don't let the facts get in the way of your hysteria. Even if Iran had threatened Israel, Israel is more than capable of defending itself. Your analogy between Iran and Nazi Germany is laughably absurd.

Martin

Really. Perhaps you would do us the service of re-documenting it or point to a reference?

Then let Israel defend itself. Know what that means?

--Brant

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  • 1 month later...

How to defend America? Successfully! If that means finding the bad guys in someone else's backyard then so be it.

Somebody has attacked us; and not just once but several times! We have a right to defend ourselves against whoever did that.

If you think we got it wrong by going to Iraq then offer another solution. Don't tell me I have to wait for them to kill my grandchildren before I can act against them because I am going to hate you for offering such a stupid idea.

Edited by UncleJim
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You're right. I owe Wolf and Martin an apology, and I'm offering that now. This thread started with someone I've always admired taking a sucker-punch at me. That put me in a hell of a state.

Thanks Michael. I mean that sincerely. You know me too well! Fortunately you know when I'm being an asshole.

OK! Good boy.

Now don't let the ship sink. Keep up the pressure. It's real easy for some to criticize how its been done. No one likes war! I would much prefer they would take all the money they make from our buying their oil to teach their people the capitalistic ethic. Some how I don't think that's going to happen.

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How to defend America? Successfully! If that means finding the bad guys in someone else's backyard then so be it.

Somebody has attacked us; and not just once but several times! We have a right to defend ourselves against whoever did that.

If you think we got it wrong by going to Iraq then offer another solution. Don't tell me I have to wait for them to kill my grandchildren before I can act against them because I am going to hate you for offering such a stupid idea.

Flailing around and attacking random nations while engaging in incompetent nation-building activities isn't going to help your grandchildren, it's going to bankrupt this country and put them at even more risk. And that's not mentioning what all this has done to civil liberties in this country.

Shayne

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