More Minion Mailbag.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been very pleased to read the great posts from his various ministers this week. Alas, your Maximum Leader has been quite preoccupied by other things. He’s been on the phone with his buddy Pervez almost all week. We’ll see if he takes your Maximum Leader’s advice and just starts carpet bombing…

Anyho…

A few notes… To loyal minion, Kilgore Trout, if you are out there. Your Maximum Leader hasn’t forgotten you my friend. That introduction we talked about a few weeks ago… Well, your Maximum Leader is really really slack sometimes. He’s been unable to get his friend on the phone for more than 30 seconds. He’s going to try again this weekend… Perhaps good will come of it. Your Maximum Leader will tell her to bring you some Hot Pockets, courtesy of your Maximum Leader.

Do my loyal minion readers go and read Anna on Primal Purge on a regular basis? Your Maximum Leader would hope so. Just today Anna strung together a great post from the most unlikely sources. Allow him to add that when he read this post a few weeks ago he both spewed hot tea (Mighty Leaf Hojicha in fact) through his nose, and fell out of his very comfy leather computer throne. Indeed, your Maximum Leader recommended it to the Poet Laureate, who also thought it was good.

Well… Let’s move on to the Minion Mailbag shall we?

A reader named “G.” from “some European Nation that hates Bush” writes:

Subj:The Foreign Minister is the Best!

Wow that guy is incredible!

I love to read his stuff.

Your Maximum Leader responds: Well “G,” your Maximum Leader thinks that the Foreign Minister is pretty cool too. Indeed, we scored so similarly on the Libertarian Purity Test, how could your Maximum Leader not think he was pretty good? Your Maximum Leader doesn’t think there will be any demotions or changes to his Ministerial lineup in the near future. Besides, he knows that the firepower needed to overcome the Foreign Minister is considerable, and resources would be better used elsewhere.

You know… Upon closer examination of that last message… It might have come from… The Foreign Minister himself! Humm… Your Maximum Leader senses some jealousy, no? Well, my friend fear not. Your Maximum Leader knows of at least one person (other than Mrs. Foreign Minister) who thinks you are the bee’s knees.

And in a second message in one week, “Powermfm” writes:

weak weaker, weakest . . . they all fluctuate in a heartbeat. If it’s Tuesday, one country will purge its weapons of mass destruction programs. And yet again, if its Wednesday, well . . . Yes, they all have the capability of falling like a house of cards with the only possible exception being Saudia where Islam started and Mecca and Medina reside. That simply could cause resistance. Yet it really isn’t the institutional governments that would be the real and total problem. Its those petilential cowardly cells. And, oh ML, so many people cannot differentiate political will from psychosis (Hitler, Stalin, et al.). When it comes to China, they are still on the brink of mass famine and starvation as seen about 40 years ago when 600,000 died in such circumstances and the gravity of it all was covered up by Mao. It aint their technology or their sudden craving for a consumer society; its the arable land situation. I am still trying to find anything in China remotely like our midwestern plains full of waving grain. Keep running into those mountains and extraordinarily narrow cuts through them often containing a river perversely given to massive flooding in a light mist. Please also note in recent chinese history things such as SARS and bird flu, neither of which were handled well and they paid the highest price. By the way, I thought it was North Korea currently in the running for the prize of asking us how many of our cities were were willing to sacrifice.

Your Maximum Leader responds: First, of all of the middle eastern nations capable of falling like a house of cards, Saudi Arabia is much further up the list than you give them credit for. The current Saudi Royal Family rules that nation through a combination of strong-arm police tactics, bribery, Sharia, and good old fashion autocracy. See here, here, here, and here for more. Surely Mecca and Medina are in Saudi Arabia, and the current Royal Family is very particular about their role as defender and custodian of these sites. But that fact didn’t keep Ibn Saud from overthrowing the Hashemites in 1925. (Who it can be argued were the rightful rulers of that region and had te stronger historical claim of being custodians of the holy sites.) And that fact will not deter some future person or group from overthrowing the House of Saud.

And moving on to Asia… Your Maximum Leader is perfectly capable of differentiating “political will” from “psychosis.” If you believe that the current leadership of China is psychotic in the Hitler and Stalin vein, your Maximum Leader suggests you pull out a DSM IV and re-evaluate your asessment of psychotic. While they certainly aren’t likely to win any congeniality awards, neither do they bear a resemblance to the Hitler model of leadership. If your Maximum Leader might parapharase Monty Python, Hu Jintao may be short, and fat, and pushy; but at least he’s not insane.

As for China being on the brink of mass starvation… It could happen. If the planets align and plagues of locusts stream in from Mongolia and the Russian Steppes. The starvations you are talking about by your own admission happened 40 years ago. Your Maximum Leader commends for your review this profile from our very own Department of State. To quote a salient passage:

During the 1980s, these reforms led to average annual rates of growth of 10% in agricultural and industrial output. Rural per capita real income doubled. China became self-sufficient in grain production; rural industries accounted for 23% of agricultural output, helping absorb surplus labor in the countryside. The variety of light industrial and consumer goods increased. Reforms began in the fiscal, financial, banking, price-setting, and labor systems.

Roughly half of China’s labor force is engaged in agriculture, even though only 10% of the land is suitable for cultivation. China is among the world’s largest producers of rice, potatoes, sorghum, millet, barley, peanuts, tea, and pork. Major non-food crops include cotton, other fibers, and oilseeds. Yields are high because of intensive cultivation, but China hopes to further increase agricultural production through improved plant stocks, fertilizers, and technology. Incomes for Chinese farmers are stagnating, leading to an increasing wealth gap between the cities and countryside. Government policies that continue to emphasize grain self-sufficiency and the fact that farmers do not own–and cannot buy or sell–the land they work have contributed to this situation. In addition, inadequate port facilities and lack of warehousing and cold storage facilities impede both domestic and international agricultural trade.

While they don’t have amber waves of grain in the Yang’tze river valley, they are not malnurished and on the verge of starvation. Your Maximum Leader suspects that the Chinese will continue to increase their agricultural output as they apply technology to their already staggering labour force in agriculture. Ditto their industrial output.

As for SARS and Bird Flu. Your Maximum Leader is afraid that you over-estimate the full extent of these attacks. While your Maximum Leader concurs that the Chinese Government didn’t deal well with these outbreaks, he hardly thinks that China suffered the “highest price.” According to the World Health Organization, the total number of fatalities due to SARS after the high-point of the outbreak last year was 648. Our own CDC estimates the total deaths worldwide to be 780. As for Bird Flu, the WHO attributes 23 deaths to the most recent outbreak. None of those deaths are in China.

Your Maximum Leader will stand by his comments on China. While he does not believe they are a great threat to the US at this time, the day might come very soon when they will mke us choose between Los Angeles or Taipei.

As for North Korea being more likely to threaten us with nuclear weapons. Your Maximum Leader agrees that if they could deliver a nuclear device to the US they would. At this point your Maximum Leader would more expect that North Korean nuclear weapon to be targeted at South Korea or Japan. (Afterall, NK recently shot a missile towards Japan.) The situation in North Korea is of much concern to your Maximum Leader and to many others. He commends a host of Koreabloggers to read to keep an eye on North Korea. Those Koreabloggers include, our own Big Hominid, Robert at the Marmot’s Hole, and Kevin at Incestuous Amplification. These are the Koreablogs your Maximum Leader checks out regularly.

Carry on.

You talking to me?

Ouch PM…. looks like this blogging is going to kill another work day’s productivity for you as well.
Can’t wait to pass the boot with you again. I am only sorry that we never really got to spend much time together…. it only seems like is was enough for you to consider me a ranting lunatic.

Be that as it may….

You ever notice that the LEFT is usually always the first side to hurl direct insults in a discussion (or political argument)?
And these are supposed to be the “open minded” understanding caring people. Well, at least that is what Hollywood and the media tell us.

Why can’t they all be caring and compassionate like they make their fictional President Bartlet to be?

Not only that, but it is usually a sign that someone has lost an argument. “Well, yada yada yada and you are a ranting lunatic”. I know that this is not the case because I have more respect for the PM than that (and apparently than he has for me….)

Personally, I wouldn’t want to openly debate ANY ONE of the Ministers in the hierarchy of the MWO, least of all the Minister of Propaganda. To be honest I would get smoked. I never took a philosophy or a debate class, and honestly, I spent most my time in college/grad school either staring into a beaker of formaldehyde or in compiling computer programs so I am not prepared or cut out for it.

That being said, I really wonder where the PM is getting his information.

Let’s start with:

Military Deaths
I uess the US is getting so efficient in waging a war that we when we “loose” 571 in a year (in a country that is ground zero for Islamic militant/terrorist to strike at the Great Satan) that it becomes unacceptable.

The point I was trying to (and obviously did not) make is that any venture that is going to put troops on the ground in the Middle East is going to open us up as a target and we will take casualties. And, we should not let the fact that we take these casualties interfere with our ability to do the stated mission. I merely brought up the fact that (according to your sources) we are loosing 123 a year just in training/accidents alone. Is this number so high that we should suspend all military training? I do not think so.

Well, yes I do consider the military deaths in Iraq to be an irreversible fact (unless you were intending ‘fait accompli’ to mean something different) . Does this dishonor the troops? I don’t think so. While I have not served in the military (as you and the M of A have), I am here at an Army base in Germany whose soldiers are, at this moment, deployed to the Sunni triangle.

If you do not think that every time a roadside bomb goes off and kills one of our soldiers, that it does not affect me, you are gravely mistaken. Chances are that the soldier’s son or daughter is in my wife’s 1st grade class, or that I have spotted them on the bench press at the base gym, or that their teenage son has asked me if I “wanted fries with that” at the Wurzburg base’s Burger King.

The Rain in Spain…..
He also engages in a logical fallacy by assuming that terror organizations are focusing on our soldiers in Iraq at the expense of ’soft homeland targets.’ Following the same logic, Spain’s troops in Iraq should have prevented the attack on Madrid.

Wait a minute… the Left has said we moved unilaterally in Iraq and that we did not have a coalition.
They (the Left) have also said that, now that we are in Iraq, hundreds if not thousands of Islamic Militants are heading to Iraq to take on the US military (whether directly or indirectly).
Remember, you guys said that Al Qaeda was not IN Iraq until we started the war….

No, I don’t think that Al Qaeda sleeper cells in Spain, France, and ??? have hopped on a plane and headed to Iraq, but it would not surprise me if Islamic militants in Syria, Palestine, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc have not donned a black head scarf and crossed the border…..

I do believe that a portion (but not all) of Al Qaeda’s financial and material efforts are focused on combating US forces in Iraq (and Afghanistan). Not to say that there AREN’T sleeper cells in the US waiting for a follow up, but at least they are spending significant efforts in Iraq.

Have you given any thought to the fact that everyone’s knee jerk reaction might be right!
I just think that Al Qaeda, if responsible in Spain, will call it a success. Not just because they killed and wounded a bunch of people, but because it changed public policy and the head of government in Spain.

“The Spanish socialists were opposed to the Iraq war before the election and have maintained their position since”

That may be true but the fact is that the Spanish Socialist WERE NOT IN POWER before the bombs went off nor were they expected to be after the election less than a week later. Spain was set to re-elect the president. (who was an ally of the US and Bush) but just three days later, they elected a Socialist that intends to pull out of Iraq.

Al Qaeda 1 Spain 0

You said
“Under the circumstances, I find the dismissive tone and insulting choice of words to describe the Spanish voters as grossly inappropriate.”

What on earth are you referring to? Did I even mention the Spanish voters in my previous post? I will look again but All I said about Spain was

“If Kerry gets in, the Terrorist win. Just like in Spain. I do not want a president that has to call Chirac to consult on ANYTHING let alone international affairs.”

Please explain your attack on me because re-readingmy own post does not show anything that you are accusing me of. (althoughvѬ this method of attack is often used by those on the left: Make up something that those on the right have “said”.)

Are you suggesting that we just pull out of Iraq? Will that work better there than in Vietnam?

Why was Spain attacked by Al Qaeda then, because of their participation in Iraq or because that was the next logical step after 9/11?
I don’t think that you can have this both ways.

COST of 9/11
Uhhhh… first of all your first two “Links” are either dead or they successfully link you to a OP ED piece in the highly regarded un-biased “Wisconsin’s PROGRESSIVE Newspaper.
How hard did you have to look to dig up that Gem? Or is it a bookmarked as in the M of P’s Favorites?

Here is a simple trick….. type “Cost of 9/11″ in to Google
if you are feeling lucky will lead you directly to a GAO report on the cost which as of May 2002 were estimated to be anywhere from 56 Billion up to 105 billon! Now this is just New York City folks…. further down in the report sites the New York Senates Finance Committee estimating Tourism, Business travel, and Economic losses to the whole of the US at 639 billion!

If you have been on an aircraft since 9-11, you will notice that there has been a massive increase in Airport security world wide as a result… this is not free and is a direct cost of 9-11. Baggage scanners, security guards, equipment all add to the cost (not to mention the devastation that it caused the airline industry)

On every base overseas, security has intensified as well, gates and fences, security guards (yes, it is contracted out in some situations) servalance equipment (Each base now has a nifty new gigantic 600 million dollar X-ray truck to “scan” vehicles entering the base. I don’t know if they are used at US bases in the states but that is a LOT of money just for the bases in Germany alone.

I would imagine it would be impossible to get your arms fully around the total economic cost of 9-11 to the US and the World….. but if you think that the war in Iraq is costing us more then go here

Germany, Vietnam, Iraq ad nauseum
My point is that we are fully capable of occupying a country. If we are able to do what is necessary to occupy it (which may include loosing troops)
.
No, Iraq hasn’t surrendered… I guess that we could formally “ask” Saddam to “surrender” his country but I am not sure how much good it will do. Most of those in the Middle East are bottle fed on Anti-Americanism, and I don’t expect them to change overnight.

Uhhhh TET.
It does not surprise me that your time in Hollywood has poisoned the well of military history…. I have seen the movies they make and remembering that Fact, doesn’t often make a good story (i.e sell tickets), it does not surprise me about the fallacy of the ordinary American’s idea about Vietnam.

If you want to read a good shortish article about TET, check this out
But, in a nutshell, we kicked their ass! The never took Khe Sanh, and across the board, the NVA and VC forces were forced back and it was all clear by the end of February.
What did happen was how the media had a field day with it and the way it was projected to an American public that had never before witnessed the reality of war in semi-real time.

About Vietnam you said that early in the war “American public opinion strongly supported continued military operations”. This just illustrates the power of the presses ability to change the way Americans think.
Quoting my link above
The security of the Embassy was not in serious danger after the first few minutes and the damage was slight but this attack on ‘American soil” captured the imagination of the media and the battle became symbolic of the Tet Offensive throughout the world.
Thanks media…

If this would have happened in WW2, America would have pulled out after the Battle of the Bulge when Hitler (like Hanoi at TET) used all of his last efforts to divide and sting the Allies.

Even still, I assume that you would rather let communism (or Saddamism) reign instead of propping up corrupt and ineffective governments?

Can’t imagine your thoughts on Haiti.

SELF-GOVERNING DEMOCRACY
Yes
No matter what country and situation you have, after one government is out there is a perceived “pay back” time that the former “out of power now in power” folks want to hand out. Lets hope this will not happen. But even Iraq’s next door neighbors Iran are internally struggling with their Religious rule and they are rethinking the process. Lets hope that a democratic Iraq can be a beacon that the rest of the middle east can use.

Unless you don’t want Democracy in Iraq to be successful? While this is great politically for the left, it is not good for the Iraqis or anyone else.

I am glad to hear that Kerry has Promised to consult with our allies. I feel so much better. I just hope that the Countries he consults with have no vested interest in what we want to do.

Kerry: Hey Chirac, we need to sort out Iraq.
Chirac: No can do, they owe us billions of dollars and if you replace the regime, we wont get our money back.
Kerry: Hey Putin, can you help us out with Iraq
Putin: Are you high? They owe us billions! We have sold them tons of military equipment and have signed contracts to pull oil out the ground worth 30 Billion, don’t fuck this up for me, my economy sucks enough as it is
Kerry: Sezer my Man! Can you help us out in you Neighbor Iraq?
Sezer: You got 20 Billion?
Kerry: Oh well, even though I have testified that Iraq has WMD and is a threat to the US, I guess its not in our best interest right guys?

“The Foreign Minister’s display of jingoism is an embarrassment”

Wow, I have embarrassed the Propaganda ministervѬ you want embarrassment, waste one hour and fifty nine minutes HERE

Back to the trenches (where I will lift a glass of fine German wine to the health of the PM)

PS
I have ALWAYS enjoyed the fact that you signed me up for that kids enviromental newsletter. Really, I got a chuckle out of it and thought of you every time it came in the mail!

Archives work!

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader believes all of the archive links on the left are now active. But the permalinks at the end of each post are not quite right. So, he continues to work on them. If you want to link to a particular post, look it up in the archives and use the permalink found there. Those work just fine.

Carry on.

One More Round on Iraq

I love the Foreign Minister and I’d gladly drink from the boot with him, but, politically speaking, he’s been a ranting lunatic since I’ve known him and I’m not going to try and change his mind about anything. I will, however, take the opportunity to correct a few of his assertions and identify a few logical fallacies. Maximum Leader, if you could edit my posting to delete this sentence and embed my links, I’d be most grateful; we’ll get that blog training underway in the near future, I promise.

MILITARY DEATHS
Between 1998 and 2002, military on-duty accidental deaths averaged 123/year. As of Nov 4th, the count for 2003 was 225, with 83 credited to Iraq. (https://www.denix.osd.mil/denix/Public/ES-Programs/Force/Safety/fy03_final_trends.ppt) Of course, those 123 accidental deaths a year are still happening regardless of operations in Iraq. Just over a year’s worth of operational fatalities in Iraq have been much higher of course: 571 dead and a staggering 2,825 wounded, as of March 17th, 2004. (http://lunaville.org/warcasualties/Summary.aspx) There is no comparison between the daily casualties we’re suffering on the ground due to combat operations and the accidental deaths elsewhere. Frankly, while I’m sure it was unintentional, I found the Foreign Minister’s dismissal of Iraq casualties as a ‘fait accompli’ insulting to the sacrifices our troops are making. He also engages in a logical fallacy by assuming that terror organizations are focusing on our soldiers in Iraq at the expense of ’soft homeland targets.’ Following the same logic, Spain’s troops in Iraq should have prevented the attack on Madrid.

COST OF 9/ll vs IRAQ
With some room for debate, the economic costs of 9/11 are estimated at about $54 billion (www.gao.gov/new.items/d02700r.pdf). I say some room for debate, because that figure includes an stimated $8 billion for infrastructure improvements and a business stimulus package unrelated to the attack. Estimates for rebuilding Iraq fluctuate wildly but realistically average between $500-600 billion (http://www.madison.com/captimes/opinion/editorial/54847.php). By the Pentagon’s own estimates, military operations are costing about $4.7 billion/month (http://staugustine.com/stories/021204/nat_2125108.shtml). For a running total of costs, go to http://costofwar.com/, which is based on estimates from the Congressional Budget Office; it currently stands at well over $106 billion.

GERMANY and VIETNAM vs. IRAQ
The Foreign Minister’s lack of historical perspective is an embarrassment to his portfolio. There is no parallel between the defeat of Germany after WWII and the defeat of Iraq. The Allies received a formal German surrender after years of conflict across the European continent. The weary and defeated German army returned home and assisted with the rebuilding effort. Iraq never surrendered — all of the leadership fled — and the military simply disappeared into the countryside, along with all of their weapons, ordinance and whatever semblance of organization still existed. Surprise! These individuals are considered a major aspect of the insurgency we’re currently fighting. Vietnam is a better comparison, but not based on your trite suggestion that we lost it because of ‘appeasement monkeys’ back home. Initially during the Vietnam conflict, American public opinion strongly supported continued military operations, and both the politicians and the new media reflected that viewpoint. Public opinion shifted after the 1968 Tet Offensive because the scale of the attacks suggested a level of insurgency that was inconsistent with what the U.S. government had been reporting. Even if the public had remained blindly in support of the war in Vietnam, the fact is we were attempting to prop up a corrupt and inept government against a popular revolution. Read just a little about Ahmad Chalabl in Iraq and draw your own comparisons.

SELF-GOVERNING DEMOCRACY
Does America really want a self-governing democracy in Iraq? Most Shiites (the vast Iraqi majority which was oppressed under Hussein) favor a religous-style theocracy like…Iran. They’re also itching for revenge on the minority Sunnis, who made up the basis of Hussein’s government. The Kurds in the north actually favor in independent country, which unfortunately includes a significant portion of our NATO ally, Turkey. If the Kurds don’t get granted near autonomy, they are likely to start a civil war. Iraq was not and is not a stable country like Germany or Japan, and concern over these consequences was a probalby THE major factor in Bush I’s decision not to remove Hussein from power in 1991.

SPAIN vs TERRORISM
Everyone on the blog, including the normally rational Minister of Agriculture, has displayed a knee-jerk reaction to the recent Spanish election. The basic fallacy is automatically linking the ‘War on Terror’ to the ‘War in Iraq.’ Al Queda’s objective is the complete collapse of western civilization. Of course they are not going to respond to appeasement. They are going to continue attacking us no matter what we do. We have to hunt and kill every member of their organization, and I’ve always been in favor of taking the fight to them (as the record will show, I was and still am in favor of operations in Afghanistan — I wish we hadn’t curtailed them when we shifted resources to Iraq). But withdrawing from Iraq isn’t like ransoming hostages. The point is, as far as Al Queda is concerned, it really doesn’t matter if we or the Spanish or the Poles are in Iraq or not. The war in Iraq was a bad policy before the Madrid attacks and it remains a bad policy after the attacks, irregardless of what Al Queda says or does. The Spanish socialists were opposed to the Iraq wr before the election and have maintained their position since. The incoming government has promised a strong crackdown on terrorism and I believe them. The Spanish are not idiots: they have been and will continue to be strong allies in tracing the terrorist networks in Europe and arrested their members. But it is only U.S. policy that has tried to make the Iraq war the primary front against terror. We can fight terrorism without getting bogged down in Iraq; my hope is that our country will undergo a similiar re-examination without first experiencing such horrible tragedy. Under the circumstances, I find the dismissive tone and insulting choice of words to describe the Spanish voters as grossly inappropriate.

Finally, consulting with our Allies in matters of international affairs, which Kerry has promised to do and Bush has ineptly refused to even consider, isn’t stupid or weak: it’s called LEADERSHIP. A good leader always consults with others, particularly his subordinates, even if the final decision remains his alone. If we want other nations to follow our lead, we need to start acting the part. The Foreign Minister’s display of jingoism is an embarrassment, and I request that the Maximum Leader revoke his portfolio. Give him something less problematic, like the Ministry of the Interior or Homeland Security, and let him start fresh.

Incidentally, my own portfolio as Minister of Propaganda refers to my professional work as a member of the liberal Hollywood elite. The political blogging is just for fun.

UPDATE FROM MAXIMUM LEADER: Links were activated. And politcal blogging (even among friends) is lots of fun. Thanks for joining. Even if you do get fan mail.

Burgess-Jackson Responds

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was over at the Analphilosopher site today and he saw this response to a recent post by the Minister of Agriculture.

This Minister of Agriculture said he was ready for return fire… Methinks he wasn’t quite ready for return fire from the good Doctor Burgess-Jackson.

Cross-blogging debates! Your Maximum Leader loves it!

Carry on.

Christopher Hitchens in Slate

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader always enjoys reading a Christopher Hitchens piece. Although this one started off in a way that was somewhat disturbing, Hitchens gets to the point effectively. That point being Europe can’t hide from terrorist attacks, and that retreat after being attacked is a recipe for more attacks.

Carry on.

Good morning laugh.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader got a great belly laugh from the most excellent Kilgore Trout after reading his most recent post. Go check it out. You’ll laugh…

Carry on.

My God who is he the Propaganda Minister for???

Short and Pithy eh?

Ok… maybe he should be the Minister of Misinformation.

It is obvious that everyone on the left (except John Kerry) did not and would not support a war against Iraq. For whatever reasons you could care to list. Hindsight, is a wonderful thing.

We had 10 years of no complying and evasive maneuvers from Saddam and his regime. Are the Iraqi people better of now that they were 1 year (and a few days) ago? (or 2, 4 or 15 years???)

The Middle East is a festering pustule! Have we upset that balance? Certainly, but how could that be a bad thing?

I take issue with America’s ability to occupy a defeated country. I am living in Germany now (a defeated and occupied country). We can do it, as long as we have the political backbone to do so. If our military (and leadership) have to contend with wishy-washy appeasement monkeys that want safety but don’t want to get their hands dirty in the process, we will not be successful. Vietnam?

US soldiers are going to die in Iraq. That is a fact. Given the choice between soldiers dying in Iraq and civilians dying in NY (or Washington DC, Chicago, etc) I choose the soldier. At least it gives terror organizations something to focus on besides soft American homeland targets.
I would imagine that a military member dies daily in training or on exercises every day (or at least every week) OUTSIDE of Iraq. The Middle East is desperate for a self governing democracy and if we can help create on, so much the better.

The cost to rebuild Iraq is a mere fraction of what the aftermath of 9-11 cost us.

If Kerry gets in, the Terrorist win. Just like in Spain. I do not want a president that has to call Chirac to consult on ANYTHING let alone international affairs.

And Lastly.
Will the left quit whining about “there are dictators and human rights abuses all over the world and we do nothing about them because there is no economic reasonvѬ .” You are just painting yourself in a corner.
1) WHEN we do decide to tackle THOSE regimes, you won’t be able to be “against it” because you will have been on record as saying that we should have done it “all along”.
2) IF we are going to deal with regimes, isn’t it prudent to START with the ones that economically impact the US first?

Oh and M L I scored 42 on the Libertarian test.

Bush is a lying liar, and other truths

To support a recent post by the Minister of Agriculture, I’m providing this ever-so-fresh link to a compilation of Bush’s most-recent lies, complete with footnotes.

http://www.misleader.org/daily_mislead/Read.asp?fn=df03162004.html

Footnotes! Check it out, gentle readers.

Speaking of the Minister of Agriculture (and yes, while we are old friends, I did once address ‘Smallholder’ as ‘Shareholer’ and intend it as a sexual insult), I think I need to clarify a note from my own post to which he responded. When I said the sanctions against Iraq were working, I was referring only to Saddam’s development of WMD’s, specifically his failure to actually produce any. The system of inspections and sanctions, while far from perfect, met this goal, at least — even the Bush-selected post-war inspector, David Kaye, concluded the same thing before quitting (one can muse that perhaps he quit in disgust after being told repetitively to find evidence of a program that in fact did not exist). Smallholder’s suggestion that the sanction were not working and that, instead, the invasion of Iraq should be seen as a ‘humane’ undertaking is another discussion entirely. (I’ll slip in a first attack by adding that it’s almost completely a philosophical/theoretical discussion, and dismissable if we’re discussion actual policy: in practice we’ve ignored and continue to ignore many, many despotic regimes and human rights abuses that don’t involve our geopolitical interests; I don’t think it can suddenly become an issue with Iraq.)

And on a personal note: if readers are so inclined, do please send more fan mail concerning my postings directly to Maximum Leader. I suspect that a high profile on his site may be the only factor that prevents my immediate confinement to a reeducation camp (using the phrase ‘Beloved Minister of Propaganda’ in your e-mail is a nice touch, I think). I love my Maximum Leader, but that doesn’t mean I want to be subjected to whatever passes for popular entertainment at his house.

Minion Mailbag

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader opened up his mailbox today and cried out “Great Jeezey Chreezey!” while doing his best James Mason impression. It is time for a Minion Mailbag!

First, allow your Maximum Leader to register his total disgust for certain minions who choose to heap fame and honours on his ministers (or one minister in particular) and not even give a semi-convincing complement to your Maximum Leader as an afterthought. Remember minions, it is the MIKE WORLD ORDER! That is your Maximum Leader’s name you know, Mike. It is not the Smallholder World Order, or the Hominidal World Order… The Mike World Order. Your Maximum Leader now realizes that the early years of the MWO will be characterized by larger Re-education Camps than he first expected. Gonna have to do some housecleaning people… Ah well… Don’t say your Maximum Leader didn’t warn you.

So… On to message one from the Minion Mailbag. “Powermfm” writes:

That guy claiming not to be James Webb was pretty darn good! One little filip to his contribution . . . after being so Euro-centric for so many years and letting things get out of hand in the Middle East this country has lost its bases in Saudia and Turkey isn’t so welcoming any more it was really rather kind of necessary to whup gluteus maximus in Iraq where the Big Bad Guy was actually the weakest murdering despot in the area. WMD was a smokescreen even a blind man could see. The most massively destructive weapons Saddam had consisted of tons and tons and tons of m-o-n-e-y. Shame, utter shame on gwb for the lying. Ditto Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al. That they do it at all is horrendous. That they do it so blatantly badly is super-horrendous.

Your Maximum Leader responds: THAT GUY WAS PRETTY DARN GOOD!!!! What is it about the Minister of Propaganda that just draws people to him?!?! He must have the “Kavorka.” Women want him, and men want to be like him. It is crazy!

NB to other loyal minions: Does no other minister excite you all like the Minister of Propaganda? Do you not love your Maximum Leader? The Minister of Propaganda blogs once or twice over the span of a week or so. And just like that! Fan mail. Your Maximum Leader didn’t get his first fan mail for more than two months after beginning his blog. (He got hate mail shortly thereafter.) Does your Maximum Leader have to hire Zogby or Morris to take a poll to see which of us is most loved? Has the Minister of Propaganda become the Sergey Kirov to your Maximum Leader’s Stalin? Oh Despair! Perhaps the MWO housecleaning will start with our very own Minister of Propaganda! (Unless your Maximum Leader can find his price too… He found the Minister of Agriculture’s…) But I digress…

To address the content of the minion’s message, and by extension the Minister of Propaganda; did we go after the weakest murderous despot in the region? Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure about that. He believes that most of those regimes are houses of cards that will collapse under a little pressure. As your Maximum Leader has said before, and will say again, WMD was not the only reason for invading Iraq. It was the one most easy to understand, and most readily reported. Did Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld lie? When dealing with intelligence matters it is hard to tell. What is clear is that the President and his advisors are going to stick to their guns on this. The intelligence at the time indicated that WMD were there. Intelligence is often unclear, and like any set of information (sometimes without full context) can be interpreted differently by sensible people.

The Minister of Propaganda did mention the UN inspectors were in Iraq, but that they were withdrawn before they could do their job. Your Maximum Leader stated that the Hussein regime did not make a reasonable effort to comply with UN resolutions. Your Maximum Leader admits now that he made a poor choice of words. Hussein let the inspectors in, but started the same song and dance routine that had gone on for decades before. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t believe this is compliance. To keep this part shorter (and pithier), the UN is a process driven organization. Their inspectors would gladly have fallen into the same routine as before. Hussein would keep this up for as long as he could. Without US pressure, the routine could have gone on for more decades. That was not acceptable policy for the US after 9/11.

And to make a quick address to the very valid point of the M of P about the Army War College report. Your Maximum Leader read over the report. The important missing element is this, no military commander wants to occupy a foreign nation. The Army War College is making a valid and incomplete observation. Occupation doesn’t run among the strengths of our military. Indeed, the US military’s strengths are mobility and superior training and firepower. We are good at the “glory” aspects of war. We excel at making war. But, very importantly, the US has not fought any type of military action in over 100 years where we have not followed up combat by being an occupying power for a significant time. The Army War College should give this a little more thought - as should policy makers. If we fight wars, and then occupy countries; why do we only prepare to fight wars? Why don’t we train for the other half of the war? If we don’t know how to do it, we ought to learn awfully quick.

Now on to our second item in the minion mailbag…

This item comes from “Carpemundi.” And guess what? It too is about the Minister of Propaganda’s most recent post! What the hell is going on here? Two messages from different readers about the same post by the newest Minister! Stop the insanity! At least this one isn’t all praise and support… Carpemundi writes:

Regarding the post 16 March:

America is the only superpower on the planet — the only nation that has the reach and strength to change a government anywhere on the planet.

While thier direct mlitary might does not compare, I think that close examination of the capabilities of the Chinese, especially in their intel, technology, and political weight, will reveal that they are indeed more powerful than anyone else on the planet (except the US) and may be the only country which we cannot defeat.

-carpemundi

Your Maximum Leader responds: This is an excellent point. The last time he gave it much thought he determined that the US military had a significant advantage over the Chinese military in just about every single category, save two. The first was sheer manpower. This is a factor of population more than anything else. The second is political will. Now if you will forgive your Maximum Leader in advance, he is about to have a G. Gordon Liddy moment. The Chinese Communists have got more political willpower than we do. They are relentless in their aims. They are happy to take the time to plot and plan and wait until the moment is right. It is this political will that makes them very powerful indeed. A day will come where China will finally decide to take a stand for something they want. The “something” will likely be Taiwan. And the Chinese will, as John Derbyshire once wrote (and your Maximum Leader paraphrases), say they are annexing Taiwan and are prepared to fight over it. The US will say okay, we’ll fight too if that’s the way you want to be. Then the Chinese will calmly state that they are prepared to lose 6 major cities to win this fight. They will ask the US how many cities we are prepared to lose. And we will not know if they are bluffing. Your Maximum Leader is afraid of the outcome of that day.

But on a more positive note, Chinese society is changing and they are growing more fond of western consumerism. And war generally isn’t good for shopping! So we can hope that the Chinese develop their own variant of the “mall-rat” subculture and lose their political will.

NB to Carpemundi from your Maximum Leader: When you choose to start blogging again regularly, please let your Maximum Leader know. It is always good to read your writings.

For some more pithy comments on the ongoing discussion here, check out the Big Hominid’s recent “le paracours general.”

Well loyal minions… That wraps up this Minion Mailbag. And what does your Maximum Leader have to show for it? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Rien. He thinks he will go and beat some dwarves.

Carry on.

Driveby Smallholder

In the tradition of Americavvs free, unlicensed gun ownership, I hereby offer these driveby shootings. I have several substantive things percolating in the back of my wee mind, but have no time to shake the lint out. So here is a quick fifteen minute blog:

SPAIN AND AL QUEDA

The incoming Prime Minister has said that it was a mistake to JOIN Americavvs UNILATERAL war. Take a second and parse that sentence. Ivvll wait.

At the polls, Spanish voters had to choose between peace and honor. They chose peace. They shall have neither.

* Extra credit to the first blogger who identifies the original speaker whose Munich quip is bowdlerized above. No, Maximum Leader, you canvvt play.

Spain has now sent a giant signal to Al Queda: If attacked, we will retreat. Excellent plan, nimrods. It seems the enlightened European population has forgotten 1938. There mistake last time devastated the continent. We saved their bacon. The devastation this time may not be limited to Europe, but donvvt expect this taxpayer to pony up for another Marshall Plan.

We canvvt negotiate with Islamo-fascists. There is nothing we can do, not even abandoning Israel to the tender mercies of the genocidal Palestinians, that will appease these evil men. The success of our system gives the lie to their Koranocentric totalitatian fetishes. Societies based on individual freedom and mixed-economy capitalism (MOP, please note the qualifier) work better than societies based on Sharia. They HAVE to destroy us.

Like Lileks, I want to tell my daughter about how we won. I donvvt want to bury her smallpox pustule-ridden body in the back forty. Ivvm not for futile appeasement. Ivvm for killing violent terrorists dead, dead, dead as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What scares me about Spain is that is will embolden the terrorists to repeat what has worked. My wife and I were thinking about accompanying the Maximum Leader on a pilgrimage to Sagamore Hill via the rail system. She turned to me last night and asked if I really wanted to take sweet little Emilie on a train. This prompted me to reply that worries like this might make me vote for Bush (See the Big Hominidvvs site for the economy & social justice vs. security conundrum). She replied that that would be a divorce-level crime against humanity. But I guess thatvvs another story.

Annika

A while ago, Annika opined that the issuance of gay marriage licenses was exactly akin to Mullah Moorevvs Ten Commandments crusade (forgive me, but I donvvt know how to do trackback links). I believe she was dead wrong. The civil disobedience by the mayors of various cities was in accordance with the Constitution and Moorevvs was in defiance of the Constitution. The difference between the two levels of civil disobedience is also made clearer that, when faced with a court ruling, the mayors DID desist. Did Moore also accept the rule of law?
Speaking of Gay Marriage

Perhaps Bush has unintentionally done justice a favor when he pandered to his right wing base. In coming out for a Constitutional Amendment, he acknowledged that the current marriage laws ARE currently unconstitutionally discriminatory. The Amendment will fail. And, having failed, the course of the rest of the debate is as foreordained as the failure of Massive Resistance to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. We have won. It is all over but the shouting.

Analphilosopher

I read the good Professorvvs blog nearly every day. He often posts intriguing, thought-provoking stuff. But his political blogs have become increasingly long on invective and short on the logic he values so highly. Recently, he admitted that he does at times propagandize. Propaganda doesnvvt bother me. Blind partisanship does. He could use his persuasive powers to make an argument; he has challenged me to think and clarify my attitudes about meat production and consumption. Instead of making me think about politics, he is now just making me skip the political rants. A case in point is his Tech Central Station column about accusations of Presidential dishonesty. I would like to see him apply his standard, vv falsehood with the intent to deceivevvp to current reports that Bush purposely suppressed information about the true cost of his Medicare bill and intentionally deceived members of Congress so they would vote for the bill.

A friend of mine recently criticized me for inveighing against Kerry. If Kerry is better for the country than Bush, he argued, I should use my (tiny and pathetic) platform to attack the President. Any acknowledgement of Kerryvvs shortcomings would muddy the issues and perhaps sap the resolve of readers to displace the Commander-in-Chief. This would be moral; if the end (a Democratic president) was moral, then it was okay to self-edit in order to achieve that end. Ivvm not up on all the fancy philosopher lingo that Analphilospher likes to sling around, but would this be called act-consequentialism?

Perhaps Analphilospher has become an act-consequentialist on the issue of Bushvvs re-election. He has decided that a Bush election is in the best interests of the country. He therefore willingly joins the elephant echo chamber and churns out blindingly uncritical arguments supporting the righteousness of the commander-in-chief. Most reader may drink the pap. But for many of us vv those who like a more reasoned discussion - these hagiographic fan letters undermine the Professorvvs credibility. Convince me, professor. Donvvt snow me.

Speaking of Lying Presidents

How can anyone not see that Bush has lied repeatedly? Now, Ivvll be the first to admit that Old Bill was allergic to the truth. But it just boggles my imagination that people seem to think Bush is honest. Take a look at his employment numbers. Take a look at his vv no double-taxvvp crusade against the inheritance tax (which largely affects untaxed capital gains). Take a look at his repeated convention that the inheritance tax hits family farms (No farm has EVER been sold due to the inheritance tax. Some children did have to pay a tax when they took the farm and broke it up for development. But this tax was neither the cause of the end of the farm or a double tax). Take a look at the Medicare lie. Take a look at how he redefined small businesses to include partnerships so that he could claim his tax cut for the rich helped vv small businessesvvp vv including small businessmen like himself and his Vice President. Take a look at how he claimed that his tax cut would not go overwhelming to the rich. My God, if you really believe in tax cuts for the wealthy vv and one can make an argument for it vv make that argument. Donvvt lie to us about who is going to benefit. Take a look at Bushvvs claim that no one could have anticipated an airplane attack even though his own intelligence briefings were warning of just that attack. I donvvt blame Bush for 9-11. In a free society, determined, evil men will be able to kill Americans. But to claim he had no idea? Blatant, verifiable lie.

One can argue about whether Bush or Clintonvvs dishonesty is worse. But one side claiming the absolute moral high ground is ludicrous.

Minister of Propaganda

My childhood friend and I have differed on the Iraqi war from the beginning. I am beginning to think he was right in certain particulars when we considered the results of the half-assed reconstruction the Haliburton team is putting together. In the Smallholder World Order, we wouldnvvt have cut taxes on the rich and would use that revenue for a modern Marshall Plan, which would rebuild Iraq on an unbelievable scale.

But I have to disagree with the MOP on the sanctions. They werenvvt working. And they were resulting in terrible suffering (Saddamvvs sins, not ours) as Saddam diverted all resources to fuel his military behemoth. Invading Iraq was MORE humane than leaving the people to Saddamvvs tender mercies under the sanctions.

And does the MOP seriously believe that Saddam really intended to comply with an inspection regime?

As to planning the invasion, that planning began under Clinton. Hell, Clinton should have done it. It would have saved lives.

Maximum Leader

I well remember our college debating days. We went to a school that could be charitably described as a vv second chance college for kids who partied too hard in high school.vvp Our peers werenvvt particularly academically gifted folks. Discussion oriented philosophy classes and political science classes had lackluster student participation (with some notable exceptions, particularly our wonderful Laura and the Horseman of Famine). The ML and I dominated many of our classes. So, since there was little competition from our peers, we had to manufacture some. Mike would wait to see what side I took and take the other. But it wasnvvt just fun. It is educational to argue for a position you oppose. It helps to examine your own assumptions and look closely at the other sidevvs position.

I stand prepared for return-fire.

I’m not James Webb, but I’ll answer the questions…

Basically, the correct target is to hunt the terrorist organizations themselves. Attacking and removing a head of state should always be the action of last resort. Your fallacy (a rare failure, Maximum Leader) is in lumping Afghanistan and Iraq together. Afghanistan allied itself with and directly protected Al Qaida and therefore became a legitimate target. Iraq had no such links to terror, despite the continuing efforts of certain members of the administration (I speak of you, Mr. Cheney) to suggest otherwise in stump fund-raising speeches.

In fact, concerning Iraq’s behavior leading up to the war, I think our ever-beloved Maximum Leader is remembering the propaganda and not the reality: Iraq did allow UN inspectors to return, and they had to be pulled out because the U.S. attack was imminent. In ctuality, the George W. Bush administration (which I will henceforth refer to as ‘Bush the Lesser,’ or ‘bush’ with a small ‘b’) began planning an invasion of Iraq almost immediately after their election, and 9/11 was an opportunity to put these plans into effect. I suspect that this administration spent more time in the first year planning for another Iraq war than they did addressing the threat of terrorism itself (read Al Franken’s book, even if you oppose his politics). Oops on them.

James Webb and the Army War College are dead-on in their asessment of the military situation and the war on terror (I also noticed, Maximum Leader, that you didn’t address the Army War College report). The greatest assets of our military are technology and mobility. Combined, these factors give us an edge of our terrorist enemies, and yet neither is effective when our troops are stuck on the ground. Before the Iraq war, most anti-Americanism was theoretical, in the sense that even the people doing most of the hating probably weren’t all that familiar with actual Americans. Now, much as the Israelis experience in their own occupied territories, our troops are an ever-present reality and, consequentially, provide a direct target for those feelings of hatred. And now if you want to kill Americans, you just have to set a roadside bomb or a sniper on a hill. As the Army War College concluded, we have opened a new front for terrorist tacks, and a front we are ill-prepared for. Our troops can’t possibly defend themselves against all of these little attacks, and we don’t know who to kill in response. And that situation sucks. While one or two or even seven dead soldiers a day won’t change our military intentions, I don’t think those youngs lives are worth it.

The deaths of our servicemembers are especially wasteful when victory in Iraq wasn’t necessary for us to make our point. Our invasion of Afghanistan and the quick victory we achieved was all the example we had to show the world for the ‘New World Order’ we wanted to create. Iraq was already contained: the sanctions and inspections were working to prevent Hussein from developing WMD’s, and while Hussein may have maintained illusions of grandeur, he was not a threat to even his neighbors. Libya (when was the last time they even uttered a threatening word?) has been coming around for years, and Afghanistan alone would have clinched it. I believe the same is true of Syria. Preemptive warfare is a bad doctrine, particularly when the threat is not imminent. Despite claims to the contrary by the bush administration, Iraq was not an imminent threat. America is the only superpower on the planet — the only nation that has the reach and strength to change a government anywhere on the planet. Whereas 9/11 should have awoken all of us, there’s a big difference between engaging the threat of terrorists in the world and invading and occupying whole countries. This administration has turned 9/11 into an excuse to do the latter. I think our Democratic Presidential Nominee will return us to a course of the former.

For the record, Maximum Leader, I think I prefer the short, pithy exchanges. Now I’m going to be tired at work tomorrow, and I didn’t even get to talk about how the Bush the Lesser lied about the Medicare bill (please feel free to post the info, Smallholder). Perhaps we’ll open up that front another day.

Update from the Maximum Leader: Here I thought my reponse to your post was short and pithy… But it appears as though both of those attributes are in the eye (fingers?) of the beholder. Your Maximum Leader will ruminate on this and post more.

Parable is good…

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, like Roger Simon, often feels as though he can get a better survey of the news around the world by reading the glorious creator of world’s website than the New York Times. Well twice in one day Allah has provided a link that is worth reposting. Read iowahawk: Timid Townfolk Sweep Sheriff Election. Very good.

Carry on.

ephilosopher

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thanks the always interesting and readable Dr. Keith Burgess-Jackson for directing us to the ephilosopher site. It was so good we too decided to add it to the links on the left. No further news.

Carry on.

France and China, perfect together.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to direct you to this article from Conrad at The Gweilo Diaries: Frucking Fogs!.

It is a crazy world in which we live my minions. (One that will be much more sensible during the MWO.) As Conrad says, we can only hope the Chinese become the legendary seamen that the French have been. Your Maximum Leader would suggest a UN resolution condeming the actions… But really… Who would go for that?

Carry on.

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