American Liberals Dyed-in-the-Wool Isolationists

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The American liberal Steve Clemons by supporting Pape’s and Feldman’s arguments seems to be, despite his grandiose geopolitical concepts and propositions, either a dyed-in- the –wool isolationist or has strategically a geopolitical ‘split personality’. Is he suggesting that in a dangerously turbulent world America should desist from having Napoleonic points d’appui or withdraw them just because they are subjects of ‘irritation’ and objection to their deadly enemies, such as Osama bin Laden? 

Critics of US bases overseas do not realize or are oblivious of the fact that these bases are placed by professional strategists, and not by papier mache strategists like themselves, in specific countries for the purpose of being most militarily effective against their enemies.

Posted by nadine, Oct 06 2010, 7:08PM – Link

Kotz, lots of people have the naive mindset that people only hate the US because we did bad stuff to them (they conveniently overlook the actions of other countries).

The idea that other nations have enmity to the US due to their ideology or perceived self-interest does not occur to them. Therefore when they see that some action of ours has irritated someone, even a self-declared enemy like Osama bin Laden, they conclude we must be doing something wrong!

Hey guys: here is a lesson from street smarts kindergarten: if your enemy hates a move you just made, maybe that move is good for you and bad for him!

American Liberals Espouse the Building of Mosque on Ground Zero

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Short reply to: Bravo: Fareed Zakaria’s Ethical Stand on Mosque

By Steve Clemons The Washington Note August 06, 2010

Clemons, and his senseless and insensitive cohorts on this thread, may well “salute” Zakaria for “this exceptional leadership.” But he can only do so by the devaluation of all values. To put the sensitivities of ‘moderate’ Muslims who can still blame America for 9/11, like the imam behind the building of the Mosque, whose religion for hundreds of years has profoundly failed to produce anything of value in the social, economic, political, and scientific sphere of man and whose sole contemporary staple product is terror, above the sensitivities of the victim’s relatives and of a fully justifiable aggrieved America emanating from the barbarous and atrocious attack of 9/11 that was bred and nourished within the confines of Muslim religion and culture, is to devaluate all morality and human decency, not to emphasize the political bankruptcy of those who espouse such “exceptional leadership.”

Discussion: American Liberals Continue to Whack Cheney

By Con George-Kotzabasis

It’s amusing to see all the passionate and incorrigible haters of Cheney to have a jab at him even “posthumously” Out of Office. Emily Bazelon on Slate Magazine speaks for all these haters but the context with ‘revenge’ belies what she says about Cheney. The latter did not say at anytime that the documents on torture should be ‘declassified,’ but once they were, they should not have been declassified selectively without also revealing the positive aspects of the harsh interrogations.

The Bush-Cheney administration prudently–knowing thy enemy–unlike the imprudent Obama who apparently lacks rudimentary knowledge of the kind of enemy America is fighting, were unwilling to disclose to their Islamist enemies some of the methods by which the key holy warriors held as enemy combatants were “spilling the beans.”

Halliburton says

Since the memos thus far released were all part of FoIA filings, it was not up to the administration to release them. Based on the Obama administration’s own FoIA policies, the memos had to be released. I might point out that Cheney’s own FoIA request is selective, listing only two documents, and then only some of the pages from those documents.

The “disclosing of interrogation methods” meme is claptrap. All of the methods the Bush administration sought to use are centuries old; SERE-derived methods are duplicates of torture used by the Chinese and North Koreans during the Korean War. There’s nothing new to disclose.

Kotzabasis says

Certainly you are right that the memos according to President Obama’s FoIA policies had to be released since in January 21, 2009 he loosened Bush’s Executive order of November 2001 pursuant to national interests by repealing some provisions of the order. Cheney’s selectivity is consistent in this respect with the political acumen of the previous administration in being determined not to reveal to the enemy—even out of office– unlike Obama in office, its secret procedures in this matter.

As for the “disclosing of interrogation methods,” the sting of the “claptrap” is in you. To say, as you do, that these “methods…are centuries old…duplicates of torture used by the Chinese and North Koreans,” says more about the fertility of your imagination than of the complexity of the situation. Is it conceivable to you that Pentagon and CIA Intelligence confronting a unique enemy such as suicidal fanatical warriors would be using the same techniques and methods of the past without innovating new ones? But I suppose your intellectually barren answer would be “there is nothing new to disclose.”

Halliburton says

It’s certain that Cheney wants to keep portions of the reports he wants released secret, but I don’t have your faith in his judgment. After all, we are talking about the man who helped create the 1976 “Team B” report on the capabilities of the USSR, which was wrong on every detail, notably the nuclear-powered laser beam weapons the Soviets were supposedly building. Cheney also thought it a good idea to undercut Gorbachev in 1989, and Brent Scowcroft and James Baker squelched him. I’d be more likely to believe that Cheney doesn’t want portions of those reports released because they might undercut his assertions.

My “infertile imagination” seeks exceptional proof in the case of exceptional claims. Nothing about Al Qaeda and its fellow travelers is unique in history. Your claim that the CIA has some “new” methods of torture – “enhanced interrogation” if you wish – is an exceptional one, and would require exceptional proof. Only disclosure would provide that. It’s far more likely, however, that your imagination is overheated.

Kotzabasis says

I don’t want to go back to the past, mistakes can be made and only the Pope is infallible. And just as someone can be ‘serially’ correct in the past he is not bound to be correct all the time in the future. The same logic applies in inverse to Cheney.

But your belief is misplaced as already the portions of the reports released have “undercut” The Bush administration’s “assertions.” Cheney therefore is more concerned to prove that the “enhanced interrogation” did work in preventing the jihadists launching further attacks and releasing those memos that provide this evidence while ‘clinically’ isolating them from the overall intelligence that would be invaluable to the jihadists.

All the professionals in matters of war in contrast to laypersons consider al Qaeda to be a UNIQUE enemy. Of course there have been fanatics and their “fellow travelers” in all ages. But just give one example from ‘your own’ history where the mortal foes of a nation were operating within it clad in civilian clothes and in the carapace of cutting-edge technology and armed with the most modern deadly weapons, including potentially with nuclear ones, and crashing airbuses into the sky scrapers of a metropolis. If you cannot provide such an example of an enemy then you too must logically come to the conclusion that the holy warriors of Islam are verily unique foes.

In view of this incontrovertible fact do you consider an “exceptional claim” that needs “exceptional proof” that the intelligence services of a superpower such as America confronting such a ‘supernally’ dangerous enemy in times of asymmetrical warfare would not have developed new interrogation methods that would be appropriate in extracting vital information from their captives   saving thousands of lives? It would take lukewarm imagination to have come to this deduction.

Merry Go Round Discussion with American Liberals Whether the War Has Being Won

Kotzabasis says…

How clever of professor Krugman and New York Times columnist to use his “Four legs good, two legs bad” drill to open a hole to the old debate about the levity of the decision of the Iraq war encapsulated in his “They attacked us, and we are going to strike back.” After failing in all his prognostications about the unwinnable war and showering for years with mockery and disparagement the proponents and supporters of the war, now that the war is being won and Iraq makes its first strides toward democracy –with its corollary that history might after all crown the neocons with the laurels of victory-all he finds to fill the holes of his rotationally fallacious argument is to revive the old squib of the non-connection of Saddam with Osama and hence the conspiratorial origin of the war.

Although there was ample evidence, as provided by the NIE report, of such connection between the intelligent services of Saddam and agents of Osama, the Bush administration after the 9/11 attack was more concerned that this rudimentary connection might take in the near future a gargantuan form that would gravely threaten the strategic interests of the US and indeed, its own land and its people. No astute and responsible government could disregard such a potential threat and not take the defensive-offensive measures to negate it. It was in such a context that the decision to go to war was taken. As well as on the further reason that it’s always more prudent to defeat an irreconcilable and implacable enemy while he is still weak, which is an irreversible canon of war.

Lafaytte says…

Saddam disliked Osama, see
here, a minor fact that seems to escape you.
Saddam could not abide Osama’s Saudi Salafist tendencies which for the larger part of Sunni Muslims outside of Saudi Arabia, was far too fundamental. Which is why, when Osama proffered troops in the war (1980-88) against their supposed common enemy (the Iranian Shiites), Saddam refused. And he was not such a fool as to partner with the man responsible for 9/11 later on.

Of course, such subtleties are beyond people who view the world only through the prism of Judeo-Christian religious history. In fact, these subtleties are at the very heart of the modern Muslim world.

But, subtlety is not the forte of this lead-headed administration, which is why Uncle Sam finds himself in very deep sneakers in the Middle East, embroiled in a war he cannot win and only loose with grace.

Kotzabasis says…

Of course Saddam was a secular leader. And indeed, he might have “disliked” and not “trusted’ fanatics. But the game of power politics, which Saddam played as a virtuoso in the Arab world, is not propelled by likes and dislikes. And talking of subtleties, Saddam could see the ascendancy of Osama’s fanatics in the Muslim world and wanted to have contact with them not because of a predilection of amity toward them but because he wanted to control them and use them for his own geopolitical goals. It’s this subtlety that escapes you. And it would be wise for someone who lives in a glass house not to throw stones at others, such as “this lead-headed administration”, as it’s obvious that subtlety is not your forte either.

Lafaytte says…

Once again you are showing your ignorance of Muslim mentality and its subtlety. You wouldn’t be the Ultimate Crusader perchance?

You justified the invasion of Iraq based upon a false argument – an improbable relationship between Hussein and bin Laden. We’ve been through this huckstering nonsense before. Why, on earth, bring it up again?

War in Iraq is indeed good for American business. I do hope you’ve invested your son in it.
Saddam could see the ascendancy of Osama’s fanatics in the Muslim world and wanted to have contact with them not because of a predilection of amity toward them but because he wanted to control them and USE them for his own geopolitical goals.

What is this you’re submission for a James Bond film?

It’s hallucinatory nonsense. Saddam simply wanted to maintain Sunni control over a country that was largely populated by Shiites (who outnumber the Sunnis by 3 to 1).

“And it would be wise for someone who lives in a glass house not to throw stones at others … as it’s obvious that subtlety is not your forte either.”

Yeah, right. I live in a glass house. Now you are actually getting funny. In fact hilarious.

Bruce Wilder says…

Kotzabasis: “I’m using the metrics of incontrovertible reality: Reduction of violence, the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, the defeat and disarming of the Mahdi militia, and the first strides of Iraq toward democracy . . . “

I think you are confusing the Right-wing Noise Machine’s continuing kabuki play version of the Iraq War with a reality, with which you are too little acquainted.

“Reduction in violence”, I guess, is the new peace, like pink is the new black — hopefully a short-lived fashion. You have scarcely any idea what the Mahdi Militia is, let alone why the U.S. should be the least bit interested in its vicissitudes.
Al Qaeda in Iraq?? “Defeating” Al Qaeda in Iraq is swatting a swarm of specially imported may flies with a $3 trillion sledge hammer, which we financed by borrowing from China — not the kind of pointless, extravagant and unnecessary victory any sane person would celebrate.

Kotzabasis says…

Bruce-Starting from the end of your post, victory over a mortal foe is priceless and only the historically fatuous would not celebrate. The “Mahdi Militia” being the major combative militia against the coalition forces and you say that “the US should be the least bit interested in its vicissitudes.” In what kind of strategic cuckoo land are you domiciled?

But two words of your post provide the key to the secrets of your heart, “hopefully” and “unnecessary.”

By ‘discolouring’ the “reduction of violence” by your intellectually invented colours or rather by ‘defining’ it, “like pink is the new black—hopefully (m.e.) a short-lived fashion,” you show pellucidly that your hope lies in a future increase of violence against the Iraqi people and the coalition forces, so you can justify your original misplaced antiwar stand and gratify as well your fervent anti-Bush emotions. And your unnecessary victory over a deadly irreconcilable enemy reveals your historical blindness and ignorance as well as your bereftness of foresight.

Lastly, ironically by your own ‘unborrowed’ sledge hammer you knock yourself off your pedestal of “institutional ethical injunctions” as an outcome of your ‘secret’ wish to see the US defeated in this war, which as a nation is the foundation of your institutional moral existence, according to your own philosophical standards. This is intellectual, spiritual, and ethical suicide at its best.

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