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Parsing the Polls: Who Really Supports Withdrawal?

With the war in Iraq shaping up to THE issue in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, we were intrigued by a question in the new Washington Post/ABC News poll that asked people what should be done about the current number of American troops in Iraq.

The vast majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents -- not surprisingly -- supported either an immediate withdrawal (29 percent) or some sort of non-specific "slower" decrease (46 percent) in troop levels. Eight percent thought the American troop presence in Iraq should be increased and 16 percent thought it should stay the same.

What's most interesting from our perspective is what those folks who support immediate withdrawal look like demographically. Thanks to the Post's polling director Jon Cohen and polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta we got a look inside the numbers.

Let's Parse the Polls!

A look at the profile of the 29 percent who want to pull out all troops now produces a somewhat unconventional picture.

Women are more likely than men to back immediate withdrawal (33 percent to 23 percent). Support for an immediate withdrawal is highest in the West (34 percent) and lowest in the South (24 percent). Thirty four percent of black voters supported an immediate withdrawal, as did 26 percent of whites.

None of those figures is terribly surprising.

But how about the fact that there isn't any statistical difference between liberals and moderates? Twenty-eight percent of self-identified liberals backed immediate withdrawal, while a similar 27 percent of moderates felt the same way.

Age is a similar non-issue when it comes to understanding who supports immediate withdrawal. Among 18 to 34 year olds, 28 percent back immediate withdrawal; it's 30 percent in the 35-54 age group and 29 percent among those 55 and older.

Of those voters who would back Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) in a their state's primary or caucus, roughly one-third supported an immediate withdrawal, while four in 10 supported a slower decrease in troop levels; roughly one-quarter (28 percent) of those supporting Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the 2008 race want an immediate pullout with 52 percent advocating a slower decrease.

Judging by those numbers, it's actually Clinton who is benefiting more from the support of those who want an immediate withdrawal, while more than half of Obama supporters in a primary matchup come from the ranks of those who want to see the American troop presence reduced but don't favor the immediate pullout option.

The poll data suggests any attempt to put a definitive label on those who favor immediate withdrawal (liberals, young people, Obama supporters) falls short. The reality is that the war as a political issue is far too complicated to boil down into neatly-packed subgroups.

Need more proof? While a majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaners support the drawing-down of American troops, when presented with potential negative consquences of that withdrawal they become more circumspect. Seventy-Three percent say they would support legislaton to set a deadline of next spring for withdrawing combat forces, but that number falls to 65 percent when an "increased chance of Iraq going into full-scale civil war" is floated and down to 60 percent if withdrawal "increased the chance that Al Qaeda could establish terrorist bases in Iraq."

It's just not cut and dry. All sides seem to agree that there are no good answers left to the question of "What next?" in Iraq. Can any candidate find a way to navigate this trickiest of political briar patches? It won't be easy.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 25, 2007; 9:49 AM ET
Categories:  Parsing the Polls  
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Comments

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Posted by: egpmzfwx ofctx | August 27, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: acgymlph isma | August 27, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

As Joe Stalin used to say, "It doesn't matter who votes, it's who counts the votes." Same is true for polls. For example, the poll interpreters are fond to report President Bush's support at 32 percent or thereabouts. They fail to report that 73 percent of Republicans support Bush (Pew Research). The pundits say Bush's support is low. But at 73 percent Republican approval, he far outdistances Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama who can muster only 38 percent and 25 percent support among Democrats (RLP Polling data). Further, these same professional writers generally do not dwelve into why 62 percent of Democrats do not support Mrs. Clinton and 75 percent do not support Mr. Obama. To paraphrase "Uncle Joe" (as FDR called him), doesn't matter who is polled, what matters is who interprets the polls.

Posted by: Shaka | July 30, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Trotsky cherry-picks his polling data, just like his neocon heroes do their "intelligence."
When you combine those who say things are going "well or very well" in Iraq you get a total of 32 percent.
Those smart enough to recognize that it is going "badly or very badly" add up to 66 percent.

Posted by: Meredith | July 27, 2007 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Iraq is already in civil war and Al-Queda was not in Iraq until our illegal, immoral invasion!@

Posted by: Meredith | July 27, 2007 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Iraq is already in civil war and Al-Queda was not in Iraq until our illegal, immoral invasion!@

Posted by: Meredith | July 27, 2007 1:23 AM | Report abuse

JimD in FL,
I wrote that because i believe that it is a fact of life (no pun intended, really). It's not that i take healthcare lightly or don't think that we should try to improve the healthcare system (or that i try to be morally repugnant to anyone). The point is that all care in all systems in all countries is rationed in some way, shape or form. Because of that, there will be people that cannot get the care they need for numerous reasons, some of which will die. I'm not saying that is a good thing - i am just saying it is unrealistic to expect that to never occur. The question is who or what entities do you want determining the rationing. Like you, i don't really have any good answers. But when you make the government the entity that determines the definition of "decent" (nationalize medicine), it invariably becomes subject to political pressures, special interests, election cycles, etc. While i am not sold on our current system (although as i posted before it has worked out well for me so far), I don't believe nationalizing it improves it.

Posted by: Dave! | July 26, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Dave writes "There will ALWAYS be people that die because they cannot afford or don't have access to the needed type of health care for their condition." I consider that morally repugnant and I am not a bleeding hear liberal by any stretch of the imagination.

I do not think everyone should have equal health care. I just think everyone should have access to decent health care. There is health care rationing today in the US. Health care is rationed based on income and insurance coverage. Insurance companies ration health care based on how much they are willing to pay.

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 26, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Chris, if I'm reading you right -- does this mean conservatives support it more?

29% of Americans support immediate withdrawl. If that includes 28% of liberals and 27% of moderates, then... that must mean that more conservatives support it (i.e., to get to an average of 29%).

Or, if that 29% is just Dems and Dem leaners only, then that raises another question -- how does 27% and 28% equate to a weighted average of 29%?

Anyone got the full breakdown? I'm sure there's a simple answer here, just curious.

Posted by: John Hlinko | July 26, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Good points, Dave. Thanks for sharing your personal experience.

Who gets to decide what constitutes quality care?

Should health care be equal?

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

JimD in FL,
"I think access to decent health care should not be dependent on income." I understand your arguement. The problem you get into is really the "what is your definition of decent"? There will ALWAYS be people that die because they cannot afford or don't have access to the needed type of health care for their condition. No matter what system is or isn't implemented, it will not provide everyone with the state of the art (read most expensive option) health care. There will be rationing because we cannot afford to cover it all. Since there will be rationing, there will always be someone that loses out on a medical procedure or treatment.

I have had a number of different types of healthcare in my life. The one thing that i have found is that you and your doctors need to work the system, whatever kind that is. About a decade ago, i was on an HMO and found out i needed heart surgery. I made sure i followed all the rules and filled out all the forms. My PCP made sure I got the correct surgeon. I was in the hospital for one week. It worked out well for me and cost me almost nothing (less than $300 if i recall correctly). Later, i was on a plan that did not cover routine physicals. So once a year i would visit with a shopping list of issues i had and my doctor would wind up giving me a physical in order to solve those issues. Today, i have insurance but the doctor i see does not take insurance at all and its a pay out of pocket per visit. I am happy and able to do that. It has opened my eyes to how expensive healthcare is though. That kind of escapes you when you pay a $10 copay for each visit. I am much more likely to go only when i absolutly need it and for my once a year checkup. It has been my experience that good doctors will be able to get you the care you need. I realize that I may not be typical but i have had very few issues in the 17 years i have been working and on insurance. But the fact remains that health costs. The other truism is that there is no free lunch.

Posted by: Dave! | July 25, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha ha, Mark I'm laughing. I thank you for ushering in the Clintons with your vote.

I thinkt the DC pilot idea is hilarious.

I don't regularly read "The Economist", but it has had some interesting articles about malpractice suits driving up costs.

I'm sorry we didn't follow up on your other topic(s).

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, few of you thought that finding a bipartisan foreign policy with wiggle room was worth the compromises. And nobody really wanted to follow up on whether and how we could create a much larger military, like we had for the first 49 years of my life.

So my not-too-obnoxious weigh-in on health care follows.

The Japanese innoculate all school kids against communicable disease and claim it lowers overall health care costs significantly because little people otherwise spread sickness in the general population. I would like to see every state do this in cooperation with the CDC.

That is the sum of my not-to-obnoxious suggestion[s].

"The Economist" claims that it sees Edwards' and Obama's plans as practical for their integration of the insurance industry - I remain dubious.

Perot used to say that the businesslike approach to testing new ideas was not to
pass a multibillion dollar social experiment, but to pass a multimillion dollar pilot project to see if it worked and if it could be justified on some cost-benefit basis. He also suggested that any new Fed social program that Congress wanted to try should be imposed as a test pilot on Washington DC, because it is a Federal enclave. When the programs fail in DC, we would not have wasted even 1% as much on them. And, if by chance, a program worked in DC, it could be reasonably argued that it should be expanded.

Citing BigEars as authority is obnoxious, but I could not resist. I voted for him.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 25, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: myspace | July 25, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: myspace | July 25, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Actually, No Facts; you stayed true to your name, simply stating the surge is working and then directing me to a website to look up the facts myself. American thinker was the one you suggested
So I did just that. The first thing that strikes me about this reference you've chosen is that it its' editor and publisher is a business consultant, specializing in US-Japanese management issues.

http://theonerepublic.com/archives/Columns/Lifson/LifsonHome.html
Thomas Lifson is a management consultant in Berkeley, California, specializing in US-Japanese management issues.

You don't suppose he has his own axes to grind, do you?
I tried to read a couple of the articles on the site, but found them to be extremely pedantic, almost childish, primarily because the authors seem to think that every problem we've ever faced as a nation has been caused by liberals and liberalism.
Of course, no reasoned person could possibly believe this, no more than they could believe the obverse argument, that every problem is the work of simple minded conservatives, so I think it's probably just a lampoon site, something along the lines of "The Colbert Report" but without the humor the television show attempts.
I wouldn't take it all too seriously, No Facts, the majority of our problems are caused by corruption and incompetence, which explains why our problems have multiplied with such gusto under the present administrations.
By the way, I've considered the problem you outlined in your post...
>>you monkeys aren't worth my time.<<
Easily solved, get up from your chair and go do something productive, perhaps removing the wheels from your house might be a good start. Then we wont be waisting your time. No need to thank me, I'm a liberal, we like to help people.

Welcome: Thanks for the welcome.

Posted by: Dijetlo | July 25, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- you may have already signed off for the night.

As it stands, it's debatable as to whether or not the wealth redistribution is happening as you described it.

However, even if it is, You have yet to prove that it is the result of a government policy.

So, for your original line of questioning, no, the government should not be responsible for the redistribution of wealth.

http://conservativestandards.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

"Listen you ungrateful losers, the poor people in Mali are much worse off than you, so shut up and be thankful you don't live over there."

I thank God almost every day that I'm an American.

I suspect a lot of other folks pray that they can some day be an American.

http://conservativestandards.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

No-Name poster might be right, which is unfortunate.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Listen you ungrateful losers, the poor people in Mali are much worse off than you, so shut up and be thankful you don't live over there.

Posted by: GOPers to poor people in US: | July 25, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Mike: "Perhaps someone else can weigh in (preferably in a non-obnoxious way)?"

Hilarious, Mike, real slapnuts stuff. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: LOL Mike told a funny | July 25, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Wakeup call to Conservatives - every time you feel good about a company getting out from under a health care plan or pension plan it agreed to fund in the past, just remember that eventually the retirement benefits and health care costs are going to be covered by the government.

What you're watching is a drip-drip-drip unintended move towards universal healthcare, unless business gets back in the game, which is not likely to happen.

You would be best advised to come up with practical alternatives now, rather than rant against it, becuase it is the most likely outcome the way things are going.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

koward Kos klone - can't you see that this is an adult discussion and has no need for your adolescent interjections. go back to Kos where that stuff plays well.

thanks gang for a healthy interaction. without rufas and Kos koward, this blog has some life left in it yet. superb.

TTFN

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps someone else can weigh in (preferably in a non-obnoxious way)?

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Mike: "Why are so many libs so adamantly opposed to comparing our "poor" to other nation's poor?"

Because it's irrelevant, mmmkay?

Posted by: Cons playing 3-card monte again | July 25, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe we have conflicting data?"

It would seem to be the case. My understanding is that in the US it is now harder to change the class into which you were born than in much of Europe. In other words, in places like France, England and Denmark, its easier to work your way out of poverty, statistically, than in the US.

"For the group of people you've described, their pay has more than outpaced inflation. This much I have read."

It depends on the time period. The middle class did great for many decades. It is only relatively recently that the economy has shifted. I want to say the last decade or so, but don't have the figures handy.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- I thought it was a good line both times you used it on me today :)


JimD -- I'm sorry, I just read your response. I really liked that same paragraph that bsimon posted.

I watched the D debate, and couldn't help but agree with J. Edward's rant that it's unacceptable that in this country, people don't have healthcare.

But I don't think any of those guys/gals had the right solution. Unfortunately, I don't have one of my own at this point.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Mike asks
"Why are so many libs so adamantly opposed to comparing our "poor" to other nation's poor?"

I can't speak for the 'libs' but when we are talking about US policy & transfer of wealth, what do the rest of the world's poor have to do with anything?

I suppose the argument can be made that US policy is exacerbating the plight of the poor in Mexico, which is why they slip over our undefended borders to work here for $5.75 per hour, or whatever the Min just went up to. This pittance of a wage actually makes them rich, which transfers US wealth to Mexico, when they send it home to keep the rellies from starving to death.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- I am a middle class man who aspires to move up in this world, of that you and I agree.

I'm still having a hard time understanding where you're coming from.

For the group of people you've described, their pay has more than outpaced inflation. This much I have read.

And their stay in the 4th and 3rd quintile, while longer than their stay in the 5th, is reasonably short (as in, the average person can move up well within his lifetime).

Maybe we have conflicting data?

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"How many times can I re-word the same old joke about the adult reading seminars?"

I see. The right wing nuts and liberal loons can repeat their tired old jokes, but when I find a good one and use it a couple times, I get called on it. Well, thanks for admitting it was a good line, the first time anyway.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Mike writes
"I've seen evidence (which I unfortunately can't cite right now -- which makes both of our numbers equally believable) that says that the average stay in the bottom 5th is 18 months.

After 18 months, your average Joe Blow is already earning enough to move up to the next Quintile."


I don't dispute that such evidence exists. But, again, I'm not talking about the poor. I'm talking about that 70% of the population between the bottom quintile and the top 10% - the middle class, of which you are likely a member - I certainly am.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

How many times can I re-word the same old joke about the adult reading seminars?

Posted by: bsimon is too original for his own good | July 25, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky makes a great point.

I stayed with a family without a car, air conditioning, cable, hot water, and a lot of other things without which many of our "poor" couldn't live without.

And Mexico isn't even a 3rd world country.

Why are so many libs so adamantly opposed to comparing our "poor" to other nation's poor?

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky writes
"and your solution is to simply steal it from more productive individuals. and that IS right?"

Uh, where did I say that?

Oh, that's right, I didn't say that.

Add Trotsky to the list of posters here with deficient reading comprehension skills. You're welcome to the offer as well - I'm happy to find for you adult oriented reading comprehension classes.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

JimD in FL writes
"I often agree with liberals on the identification of social problems but I often agree with the conservative critique of the proposed liberal solution. I definitely believe the large number of uninsured and under-insured in this country is scandalous."

Well put.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Right now there are a huge number if people in our country who work hard just to stay even, and that's not right.

and your solution is to simply steal it from more productive individuals. and that IS right? Where did you get the idea that equal outcomes are guaranteed in this country? someones desires are not a motivation for policy.

the idea that they are losing ground is also suspect. the goods we buy are cheaper (thanks to walmart and globilization). the "poor" in this country have tv's, cable, air conditioning, cars, food, heat, etc. do you think the poor in the rest of the world would like to be "poor" here.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky,

I think access to decent health care should not be dependent on income. I do not see it as the same as auto insurance or buying a house. People's health should not depend on how much insurance they can afford. Ultimately, some people die because they do not have decent coverage. I understand the libertarian argument you make - and on other issues I would often agree. However, I see the libertarian argument on health insurance as morally indefensible.

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 25, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- It sounds like we both want the same thing - that anyone who works hard can move up.

I've seen evidence (which I unfortunately can't cite right now -- which makes both of our numbers equally believable) that says that the average stay in the bottom 5th is 18 months.

After 18 months, your average Joe Blow is already earning enough to move up to the next Quintile.

And I don't think a "So What" response to my observation about Mexico is appropriate.

Of course the libs don't want to compare our nations poor to other nation's poor - that would expose their fundamental misunderstanding of economics.

As was said previously, it is not as important that the gap widens, so long as the floor rises for everyone.

Do I think CEO's are overpaid? Yes. Do I think government should step in? No(t yet).

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Mike,

I suspect that some some sort of subsidy would be necessary along with structural reforms. I don't know if the employer system is sustainable in terms of our competitiveness. However, moving from an employer system to an individual purchase system would entail a lot of problems. Perhaps, tax credits for employers would get around this.

Maybe setting up large groups that people in small as well as large companies can buy into would work. The larger the group, the easier it is to spread costs. Basically, insurance involves around the many paying for the few. People who use a lot of health care generally receive more in benefits than they pay in premiums. The healthier pay more in premiums than they receive in benefits.

Another disconnect is that as medical treatment has evolved, far more conditions are treated with drugs than was the case 30 years ago. Lots of medical insurance covers little or nothing for prescription drugs.

As I said in my original post - I do not have any good answers. I often agree with liberals on the identification of social problems but I often agree with the conservative critique of the proposed liberal solution. I definitely believe the large number of uninsured and under-insured in this country is scandalous.

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 25, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"Insurance is unaffordable for many individuals without employment coverage. My parents were paying over $1,200 per month in the early 90's before they qualified for Medicare.

My step-son recently married and it will cost over $500 per month to add his 25 year old wife to his employer provided insurance coverage. That is an awful lot for a young couple."

Woe is me, I don't like the cost of things. I want the government to arrange for somneone else to pay this. Is that what you are saying? If health insurance were like auto insurance you could find your own according to your budget. but it is not like auto insurance. it is tied to your employer who can choose whatever product they like. Is getting that job worth that insurance? why is this a question we need to ask.

also, who does health insurance pay for everything that goes wrong with you? does your auto policy cover tires, brakes, oil changes, etc? how much would it cost if it did?

Also if you never had to ask how much anything costs, what would you agree to have done? compare this to deciding whether you will fix that dent or leave it?

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

MIke writes
" as someone who has studied economics, I can tell you it's anything but a zero sum game. So you're argument is inherently worthless."

As worthless as your spelling? Whoops! Sorry, picking on spelling and grammar is a cowards way out. I've studied economics too. There is a fair argument to be made that economics is not a zero sum game. However, that ignores the crux of the issue. Independant of the rate of growth of the pie as a whole (i.e. the pie can grow because its not a zero sum game), there is purchasing power. So, to get back to the 90% who've lost wealth, we have to look at inflation. Most of those 90% have seen an increase in income over the time period studied. However, once you factor in inflation, these people have lost purchasing power - if I get year after year of 3% raises, but inflation exceeds 3%, I'm losing ground. That's where the bottom 90% are losing ground, the middle 9% are holding steady & the top 1% are growing their share.

Then Mike says
"And you want to make the slices more and more even."

I didn't say that. I asked whether government policy should be changed if it promotes redistribution of wealth.

I would prefer a system in which everyone who works hard can improve themselves, economically and otherwise. Right now there are a huge number if people in our country who work hard just to stay even, and that's not right.

Mike lastly says
"I just went to Mexico last weekend. (SOME OF) Our nation's "poor" don't even know what poverty is."

So what? If we have to compare how our poor are doing to people who live in tin shacks without running water or electricity, we're doing worse than I thought. Note that I'm not just talking about the people in poverty, I'm talking about that huge middle class that goes to work everyday and busts their butt to pay for the car and the mortgage and cable TV. They are losing ground.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Mike,

The rules of engagement are designed to protect the civilian population. The rules of engagement were provided by the administration, hardly friends of the ACLU and liberals. The troops do not know who is innocent and who isn't until something happens. There certainly appears to be at least one case where troops have killed bystanders in retaliation for an attack by someone else. Are you arguing that we should just wipe out Iraqi civilians on suspicion? As you said, "human life is human life". We are told that we are doing this for the good of the Iraqi people.

The Iraqi situation is hell and some very few of our troops cannot handle it. These are the few bad apples that kill innocent civilians and abuse prisoners. This always happens in war. However, declaring open season on civilians is not the answer. How are we ever going to achieve anything approaching stability in Iraq if we direct our troops to terrorize the civilian population?

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 25, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

JimD -- I am interested to hear what you think would be the best solution? You have definitely laid out a lot of problems with the current system.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

real fix

If I were designing a social security system from the ground up, I would definitely design it around market investments. However, Bush's proposal ignores the fact that current social security taxes finance current benefits. Social security is facing a serious solvency problem. Diverting any portion of current social security taxes from paying current benefits only exacerbates the problem.

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 25, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

MikeB: I understand your points, trust me I do.

Your description is probably accurate, and you've basically described hell.

It's very bad over there. And everyone knows it.

I guess I'm just not convinced that it can't be fixed, as you are.

Two things you wrote struck me:

1.) "They WILL kill each other if we aren't there, actively preventing it."

2.) "Our troops don't trust anyone. Any and every civilian and soldier will kill you in a heartbeat."

Response:

1. That is precisely why we can't leave. Human life is human life.

2. As this is most definitely true, I don't understand why the libs and the ACLU make us fight with our hands behind our back. Our rules of engagement are a joke. We prosecute Marines who are doing their job. This is a major factor to why things aren't getting better, faster.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

The numbers charade over health insurance ignores a number of factors. Many of those with some coverage are under-insured. Businesses are cutting back on insurance coverage and passing more costs to employees.

The competitiveness of some of our major industries is being undercut by health insurance costs - the largest single cost element in a GM car is health care coverage for employees and retirees.

Many people who have insurance do not have very good coverage. Many HMOs in particular have a bureaucracy and ration treatment as bad or worse than the "socialist" systems the right loves to bash. Moore's documentary was accurate in its portrayal of some of the Catch 22 nature of HMO coverage. My son (22 at the time) was directed to an emergency room by his primary care doctor and the bill at the ER came to $5,000. His insurance maxed out at $1,000 and he spent the next 18 months paying that off. I have very good insurance (provided by the government since I am a retired officer). I was hospitalized for observation and tests at the same hospital for 3 days. The bill came to over $17,000. My insurance paid around $5,000 and the hospital had to write the rest off.

Insurance is unaffordable for many individuals without employment coverage. My parents were paying over $1,200 per month in the early 90's before they qualified for Medicare.

My step-son recently married and it will cost over $500 per month to add his 25 year old wife to his employer provided insurance coverage. That is an awful lot for a young couple.

People like me who have good coverage can access the finest health care system in the world. However, the under-insured are very limited in their ability to access certain treatments. "Sicko" tells of a woman who was transported to the hospital in an ambulance after an accident and had the ambulance fee denied by her HMO since it wasn't pre-approved. This was verified by several media outlets (I did not see the film, I read some reports about its accuracy that cited the ambulance story as true).

Given the astronomical costs of health care, I do not see how "health savings accounts" can be part of the solution for any but the most well-off. Furthermore, I do not think market mechanisms work so efficiently in health care because money becomes secondary for most of us if our health is seriously at risk.

Additionally, our insurance system is weighted towards the corrective instead of the preventive. Encouraging people to get more preventive care now would save money on treating illnesses later.

I am highly skeptical of a single payer system and share the concerns about rationing of treatment and waits for service. I experienced some of that on acitve duty since the military has socialized medicine. Now that I can use the TRICARE insurance, I stay away from the military treatment facilities. However, it is disengeuous to suggest that we do not have serious problems as a society with the current state of our health care system. Platitudes about the market and reducing malpractice suits do not begin to deal with reality. (I have read about a number of studies that say malpractice accounts for a very small amount of health care costs and that malpractice itself is a significant cause of death at many hospitals.)

I admit I do not have very good answers. But I have very little use for those who deny the problems.


Posted by: JimD in FL | July 25, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- as someone who has studied economics, I can tell you it's anything but a zero sum game. So you're argument is inherently worthless.

A lot of people imagine this pie, broken up however it is. And you want to make the slices more and more even.

The truth is, you can grow the pie, in addition to changing the shapes of the pieces.

And growing the pie helps everyone.

I just went to Mexico last weekend. (SOME OF) Our nation's "poor" don't even know what poverty is.

That's because, while they might have a small slice, it's a small slice of a HUGE pie.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

A new report by the Federal Reserve reveals that the "wealth gap" in America may be the largest ever. According to the report, the difference in median net wealth between the wealthiest 10 percent of families and the poorest 20 percent jumped by nearly 70 percent between 1998 and 2001. The gap between whites and minorities grew by 21 percent. Both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, should agree that this state of affairs is troubling.

News of this report will undoubtedly set off a new round of debate over tax policy and the value of various government social programs. But a remedy is already at hand: President Bush's proposal to allow workers to privately invest a portion of their Social Security taxes through individual accounts. It will build wealth across the board. And it will help end the wealth gap.

http://www.socialsecurity.org/pubs/articles/mt-02-07-03.html

Posted by: A real fix | July 25, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

In a modern open-market capitalist society, entrepreneurs get rich and the poor get better off as a result -- OF COURSE they're not going to get as rich as fast (duh). So, of course the gap thereby gets wider -- but the top AND BOTTOM of the gap both rise to levels much higher than before. The gap is widening?? Well, hooray for everyone's sake! ESPECIALLY the poor!

http://freedomkeys.com/gap.htm

Posted by: Libs can fix anything | July 25, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Mike, My sources are my two sons and the sons of friens that I have spoken with during their leaves and between deployments. I am hearing that they have to intervene between the Iraqi militray and the police all of the time. The military is most Shia and the local police are Sunni. They WILL kill each other if we aren't there, actively preventing it. Moreover, they tell me that the military will run rampant through Sunni towns, raping women and murdering people in cold blood. They are hated and armed by us and, so, we too are hated. It gets even more confused when these young men see posters around the villages they sweep through, offering bounties for dead Amercians. Those boundies are huge, enough money to feed and cloithe and house a family for years. SO there is no end of unemployed young men, willing to sacrficae their lives to provide something for their starving families.
Most of what we hear on the new is utter rubbish. Most IED's are artilliary shells coupled to propane tanks. The artilliary shells ARE NOT from Iran, eithr. They are laying about, all over the countryside, tens of thousands of them freely available to anyone wishing to simply pick them up. The artilliary shells are preferred to mines becasue they provide a ready shaped charge that will penetrate the weakened under-carriage of tanks and Bradley's. Another press lie is that we have "friends". No we don't. Our troops don't trust anyone. Any and every civilian and soldier will kill you in a heartbeat. We stopped embedding U.S. troops with Iraqi troops because they literally SELL them to various war lords and "insurgent" groups. Jobs, again, are hard to come by and people are hungry and that was a quick way of making money. Every medic will tell you that being deployed with an all Iraqi squad is a death sentence.
Basically Mike, we are dealing with chaos, with a complete breakdown of civil norms, of government, of anything remotely resembling law and order. Much of the population is fearful and rather fed up with the non-ending violence, but the are in pretty much the same position as that family that was murdered this week in a home invasion. They have been disarmed, the police don't provide any real protect, they simply investigate the crime afterwards, and so they sit there as cash cows, ready made victims for criminals and things.

Posted by: MikeB | July 25, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Mike wants evidence
"whether or not the wealth exchange has actually happened"

The argument is that the economy is a zero sum game. In other words, split up the big ole American Pie into 300 million (give or take) pieces and see who has what. Compare the size of your piece to the size it was 10 years ago. Then compare the size of the one percenters to the sizes of their pieces 10 years ago. Unless you're one of the one percenters, your piece has shrunk - if we average the amount that the bottom 90% have shrunk, it comes out to about $7k apiece.

Trotsky - I'm thinking about the source of my numbers, it may have been Ben Stein who has occasional pieces in the Sunday NYT business section; he's been discussing the subject a lot over the last several months.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Mike writes
"bsimon -- you thought you had me, but you've failed to prove any correlation between any govt policy and upward wealth redistribution."

The Bush Admin & its supporters are claiming that their tax policy has caused the 'booming' economy. That 'booming' economy is not benefitting all of us, it is benefitting an extremely small percentage of us.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- I'm still waiting on the edge of my seat for:

1. what specific government policy has caused this wealth exchange,

2. whether or not the wealth exchange has actually happened,

3. and your evidence proving one caused the other.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I am a Lib, of course I know everything, including what's good for you.

Posted by: We tried, we failed, We're Libs, situation normal | July 25, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky writes
"bsimon, those look like Kruggman numbers - known to be a sham. Let's see the link if you want to claim that."

The actual numbers aren't relevant - the ones I provided are close enough for government work, as they say. The point is that the bulk of people in this country are fighting to stay even, while an extreme minority are benefitting astronomically. Furthermore, the point isn't to be 'right' or win an argument about the 'solution' but to provoke discussion and challenge some people's beliefs.

I tend to think that investment in people is a worthwhile government function. I think that government policy should promote basic skills & health in our citizenry and that spending money to educate our populace will pay enormous dividends in the future. I think that small-government conservatives make compelling arguments about how throwing money at problems doesn't solve them - but that doesn't mean the problems shouldn't be solved, it means we have to figure out how to solve them most effectively.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Just like your sources for the Democratic party's "positions" on various issues?

Posted by: Sources, Mike? | July 25, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

MikeB - you would be right if you were right. You said "there is no possible fix you can do".

HOW DO YOU KNOW?

Honestly. Who told you? I wish I had the CNN/George Soros/Crystal Ball you had.

You're a civilian, right?

Have you ever been to Iraq?

What information has made you believe this?

I am honestly curious. I just don't understand some people that think they know everything. How do you know everything? What are your sources?

Because I can easily tell you mine.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

someone calling themself "bsimon enjoys beating his/her head against a brick wall" writes
"There is no other explanation for his/her continued engagement of mike, who is nothing but a classic troll"

Or I'm bored (a 'him' bored, not her).

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Posters here kepp using the term "surrender". Since when is it surrender when you realize that you made a horrible mistake, there is no possible fix you can do, and the best course is to simply stop. "Surrender" is another of those propaganda terms, invented by the right wing nut jobs, to dedge responsibly for the horrible mess they made to begin with. Iraq was a stable country when we went in there. It was managed by a brutal dictatorship, but so what. Most of that regions countries are managed by brutal dictators. Every time we, in the West, have tried to impose our ideas of "democracy" upon them it has led to a diaster. Jimmy Carter tried it with Iran and we got the current crop of religious nut jobs. The EU has tried it with Turkey, holding out EU memebership as some sort of reward, and it now appears that the worst of the Islamists have taken control. Ditoo with Reagan and Lebanon. Now, the people who tried to impose our ideas of democracy did so with the best of intentions, but it has backfired every time. When will we learn that nothing short of a brutal dictatorship will work to keep the various scabbling factions in the Middle East from killing each other and spreading their violence, intolerance and hatred to our own shores. Getting out is the only rational thing to do.

Posted by: MikeB | July 25, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"There is no other explanation for his/her continued engagement of mike, who is nothing but a classic troll."

Mike's more fun than those rufuses.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

kowardly kos klone signals retreat again. More than one line too much for you dumpkopf?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, those look like Kruggman numbers - known to be a sham. Let's see the link if you want to claim that.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

There is no other explanation for his/her continued engagement of mike, who is nothing but a classic troll.

Posted by: bsimon enjoys beating his/her head against a brick wall | July 25, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- you thought you had me, but you've failed to prove any correlation between any govt policy and upward wealth redistribution.

What Govt policy are you referring to?

What evidence exists to link these two?

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Mike senses what's up
"though you're probably trying to lead me down a garden path, I'll bite... Sure [gov't policy should be changed if it promotes the redistribution of wealth]."


The recent gains by top income earners have come at a cost to the bulk of US households. I don't recall all the breakouts in terms of which % wins and which loses, but I believe it is the top 1% has seen net growth in their portion of national wealth, the next 9% are even and the bottom 90% have lost their net worth. The transfer of wealth has been as though the bottom 90% of households wrote a check for $7000 to the top 1%.

The point being: Conservatives often bash tax policy (i.e. 'death' tax) or social programs as being little more than programs designed to redistribute wealth in some kind of commie / socialist program of equality. Yet the recent economy has instead done the opposite - it has redistributed wealth upwards - the middle class is losing ground, but the richest of the rich are collecting more and more. Why aren't conservatives upset about this redistribution of wealth? If redistribution downwards is evil, why isn't redistribution upwards evil?

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Hey Nuance/Surrender -- I suggest you read above. Unfortunately, your neglecting this entire thread has made us all look bad."

It says volumes that you think I was advocating for Republicans. I suggest you read what I wrote. Republicans are the weak-willed, spineless, never-had-the-guts-to-fight surrender monkeys who speak of 'complications' and 'nuance' and crap like that when it comes to actually fighting terrorists.

Al Qeada in Iraq hasn't knocked over any towers and I doubt they ever will, Osama and his cronies are doing pretty good at that. I'm all for using the entire might and force of our brave boys and girls in uniform, but you republicans run crying about 'complications' because you don't have the stomach for the fight.


Posted by: Repubs still surrendering | July 25, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky asks
"do you want to pay over 70% of your income out?"

I don't. But I'm happy to pay 26% or even 30% instead of 25% if it means that I pay for benefits I receive, rather than benefitting from borrowed money that my children will have to pay back. And I bet that such a minor change in tax policy would not have a detrimental impact on the economy.

Regarding the claim that
"It would seem that if we are indeed on a particular Laffer curve, that raising taxes will send us back where we came from - lower tax revenue."

I would argue that it is invalid to conclude that recent revenues are a result solely of change in tax policy. Kindof similar to how the boom years in the 90's weren't the result of Clinton's tax increases.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- though you're probably trying to lead me down a garden path, I'll bite.

Sure.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

You throw out the proper word and the dogs salivate: surrender, retreat, taxes...

Posted by: Frank Luntz | July 25, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey Nuance/Surrender -- I suggest you read above. Unfortunately, your neglecting this entire thread has made us all look bad.

FH -- another good couple of points. We've already chosen the battlefield, why change it.

And if any of you don't think we're fighting Al-Qaeda in Iraq, you're so far entrenched in Vietnam-era protest that you're not worth talking to.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I asked
"Should government policy promote or restrict the redistribution of wealth?"

Mike said, I think in response to the above
"Neither"


So, if gov't should neither promote nor restrict the redistribution of wealth, should government policy change if it is found to promote the redistribution of wealth?

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky, I'm not the one being dishonest. In arguing that our current system is perfect and universal healthcare is bad, you're praising government-run healthcare.

Our current system isn't fully capitalistic. If you want to only talk about the private segment of our current healthcare system, you're only talking about 68% of the population. (Actually less, since public healthcare for the elderly is so common.) If you're going to say that our current system is great because public healthcare fills in the gaps of private programs, then you're praising government-run healthcare.

What do you think the role of government should be in private healthcare? Despite your posturing about "socialized medicine", you clearly don't mind that ~15% of the country is covered by government healthcare. In fact, you seem happy that the rate of government healthcare coverage is increasing. You're defending the status quo, even though the status quo doesn't support your argument that a capitalistic system is perfect. What's the deal?

Posted by: Blarg | July 25, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"As for hypotheticals...not very helpful."

Yes, let's not think about hypotheticals. how pre-9/11 of you.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

that all 18 benchmarks have been met

i think this is a bit much to expect from a nascient government. your new Lib congress has only met one of six of its benchmarks and they have over 200 years experience doing this.

citing examples is not changing the topic. the laffer curve is fine if you want to use that. since we won't be able to agree on whether a marginal raise in tax rates will increase tax income, perhaps we can agree that tax revenue is at an all time high, seemingly after the last tax decrease. It would seem that if we are indeed on a particular Laffer curve, that raising taxes will send us back where we came from - lower tax revenue.

but I am not so concerned with the meat and potatos of tax revenue - i would be happy to see them starve to death. My take on tax policy is more philosophical. along the lines of what is the proper role for a federal government in the way of taxing and spending. If the pols agree that the federal government needs to be involved, tax enough to pay for it. why the shell game with SS, medicare, etc. Are the Libs afraid when the actual price is revealed, the public will balk? do you want to pay over 70% of your income out?

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"I'd rather protect innocents, Americans, and freedom."

Mike, please explain: 1) how invading Iraq and making a mess there was protecting Americans, when the enemy was in Afghanistan and Pakistan (and still is to a great degree).

2) How invading Iraq was protecting freedom?

3) Who put it in the U.S.' mission statement that it is our obligation to protect innocents all over the world? If it is, then we have a massive job we're ignoring by limiting ourselves to Iraq. How do you propose we protect the innocents in China, North Korea, the African countries, from South American Dictators (and Hugo Chavez), etc.?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Troops aren't for winning peace. We're still fighting the taliban, lets go after them. It's a global war on terror, switching one front for another is not surrender.

Posted by: | July 25, 2007 03:08 PM

The question implies that we are not already fighting them, which I regect.

As for hypotheticals...not very helpful.
Why would we invade a tangential target when we are already engaged at the heart of the problem area?

Posted by: FH | July 25, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"FH -- bravo on making a very good point.

The Afghans are a very complicated, tough, and proud people.

The almighty Soviet could not win, with superior numbers, technology, and firepower (no thanks to the CIA, of course).

I think it's interesting that people are so cavalier about just "redeploying" "90%" of our Iraq forces to Afghanistan.

It's a different ballgame, and I'm glad you pointed that out."

Why do you repubtard surrender flag wavers want to cut and run on Afghanistan. 'Nuance' and 'different ballgame' are just codewords for not having the stomach to fight. You yellow cowards want to give Afghanistan to Osama and his taliban cronies so they can hit America again with impugnity. Why do you hate America's troops so much? They can fight in Iraq but in Afghanistan suddenly the people are 'complicated'. You're just scared.

Posted by: What you call nuance, I call surrender. | July 25, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Neither

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"The problem with this plan is that the Afghans would almost certainly see the influx of all those troops as an invasion of their country, which would turn the populace against us. It would also give the Taliban many more targets to try and increase the amount of collateral damage, which has already been problematic as we try and walk the tightrope of being aggressive on the Taliban without alienating ordinary Afghans."

What, you mean like in Iraq (replace Taliban with Shia, sunni, wahabbi Sunni, Iranian agents, al qaede in ariq, etc...)?

What happens when the next attack happens on US soil and they're from Somalia or Chad or Indonesia or the Phillippines. Apart rom skewering the whole 'fight them there so we don't have to fight them here' logic, how to we send an attacking force into somalia or chad when our forces are seriously depleted in Iraq, playing nursemaid to an insurgency. The troops won the war already. Troops aren't for winning peace. We're still fighting the taliban, lets go after them. It's a global war on terror, switching one front for another is not surrender.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

While we're on loaded questions, here's one:

Should government policy promote or restrict the redistribution of wealth?

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

blarg - From your own study - why twist the facts all the time? do you need to always lie/spin to fool your constituency?


"Between 1999 and 2004, the percentage of people under
age 65 with no health insurance coverage at a given
point in time has remained between 16% and 17%,
whereas the percentage with private health insurance has
declined and public programs have expanded to fill in
some of the gaps."

OMG - public programs expanded under Bush - don't tell the times. this could ruin their gig.

why would people who have free public coverage seek out private coverage. your argument is just silly.

In Iceland they have essentially free heat - because there is warm volcanoes under the whole island. do you think a measure of public heating should include all the Franklin stoves they don't sell? Is this another form of tricky Lib math?

and the 16% includes illegals, those who choose not to buy it despite having the money and half who will get it within four months at their new job. doesn't seem like such a crisis now does it? How about a little honesty in this debate instead of power seeking?

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky writes
"does raising taxes harm the economy - why yes , how much harm?"

Well, now you're trying to change the subject, just like you predicted you would in an earlier post.

Regarding taxes, according to the Laffer Curve, there is a 'sweet spot' in the tax rate at which revenues are maximized - which implies that they aren't so high that the economy is adversely impacted, nor so low that the gov't doesn't collect enough $ to perform its duties. What we don't know is at what point this 'sweet spot' exists. Back when the highest tax rates were around 70%, conservatives used the Laffer Curve to make a pretty compelling argument for cutting taxes. But they've given up on referencing the Laffer Curve, apparently in fear of finding out that taxes have finally been cut to the point where further cuts are no longer effective. So, in short, the question does not provide enough information to answer; raising taxes does not always hurt the economy, just like cutting taxes does not always help.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"that is different from what you originally stated. you implied no progress in the least has been made"

It is not. I said 0 of 18 benchmarks had been met, which is 100% accurate. In fact, what I did say, was that I look forward to the announcement in September that the surge has been successful, that all 18 benchmarks have been met and that our troops - or at least our part time troops - can start coming home. This was in response to your claim that the surge is working. Surely you haven't steered me wrong, or setup false hopes?

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

FH -- bravo on making a very good point.

The Afghans are a very complicated, tough, and proud people.

The almighty Soviet could not win, with superior numbers, technology, and firepower (no thanks to the CIA, of course).

I think it's interesting that people are so cavalier about just "redeploying" "90%" of our Iraq forces to Afghanistan.

It's a different ballgame, and I'm glad you pointed that out.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

To reiterate, 0 of 18 goals have been met by Iraqis, though the White House says that 'satisfactory' progess has been made on 8 of them.

that is different from what you originally stated. you implied no progress in the least has been made. that is why I wondered if you work at the times.
If you want to make your argument stronger, state the oppositions point of view and then tear it down, being fair on your critique. why do all you Libs need to lie about everything to win an argument? Are the facts that much against you?

for example - are lines long for socialist health care - indeed they are. what do you get in trade?
does immediate retreat from iraq involve any consequences - yes it does, discuss.
does raising taxes harm the economy - why yes , how much harm?
does ignoring terror, public health care, immigration and other serious topics in a national debate on a slanted network tell us anything about the nature of Dem politics - quite right
does advocating an open ended committment to green theory, while ignoring cost, science and policy, evoke irresponsibility - yes?
should liberals be allowed to throw more and more money into failing programs that have demonstrated no effect after all the other money? got me on that one.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I get my statistics about healthcare from the National Center for Disease Control:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus06.pdf#133

Table 133 in this PDF describes private insurance coverage of people under 65. In 2004, that coverage was 68.8%.

The issue here is private coverage. If you're going to praise our "perfectly functioning capitalistic system", you can't include the people covered by the evil and incompetent government. The capitalistic system covers approximately 2/3 of the country; it does absolutely nothing for the other third.

Posted by: Blarg | July 25, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

And I presume you're suggesting that it would be prudent to retreat.

Prudent for whom?

There's no doubt, that in the immediate future, that would be the best for the troops.

But what happens when Iraqis are slain in mass numbers?

What happens when the terrorist follow us home?

You can keep your so-called "prudence". Me, I'd rather protect innocents, Americans, and freedom.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"I believe in a pull-out of Iraq and a redeployment of 70-90% of those troops to Afghanistan to help stabilize the country, pin in Osama and the taliban and provide us the kind of military and political leverage we need on Iran."

The problem with this plan is that the Afghans would almost certainly see the influx of all those troops as an invasion of their country, which would turn the populace against us. It would also give the Taliban many more targets to try and increase the amount of collateral damage, which has already been problematic as we try and walk the tightrope of being aggressive on the Taliban without alienating ordinary Afghans. Lastly, the terrain in Afghanistan is unsuitable to large numbers of troops...the Soviets learned this lesson the hard way.

bsimon: In the long tradition of Commander and Chief's, Bush has every right to hire and fire as many generals as he feels necessary until he finds one who can achieve success. The "Surge" is new, it is having modest success at this point. Will the Iraqi's find the political motivation to do what is necessary to bring their country together? Eventually I feel they will, if not, we have other options. I am certainly not opposed to the abolishment of the government and the setting-up of a "strong-man", or any other viable alternative if it comes to that.

Posted by: FH | July 25, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Mike, sometimes in War it is best to take the prudent action. All good military commanders will tell you that, even if the politicians won't.

From Webster's: Prudence

1: the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason

2: sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs

3: skill and good judgment in the use of resources

4: caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

Time to be prudent about Iraq!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky writes
"the state of the hate filled blogger is sad. but when forcibly confronted they demonstrate what they wish our army would do - run away, surrender, hide, ignore the battle, change the subject."

Trotsky, I didn't see your response to my correction of your misstatement of fact about Iraq (not) meeting its 18 goals. Did you change the subject on me? Or just ignore your incorrect claim & hope nobody called you out on it?

To reiterate, 0 of 18 goals have been met by Iraqis, though the White House says that 'satisfactory' progess has been made on 8 of them.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

no retort so attack motivations, personalities, etc. typical Lib loser and prevaricator.
"
Mr. Zouk:

does ANYONE like you?"


Translation - I got nothing to say about issues when it gets past the one liners or what I can find over at Kos. so I must fall back on this crap. sorry, that is the best I can do. same as always. why do you think they kicked me out of the infantry for being too stupid?

I will now revert to completely ignoring Kos Klone. what a waste of skin.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"And if we always gave up when THINGS GOT HARD, where would we be?"

How about not creating things which become hard, so we don't have to even consider giving up on the mess which we created!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted By No-Name Coward: "It's pretty ignorant to make snide remarks about a poster's mention of WWII not too long after you made a snide remark about Libs and Normandy."

Of course, the reference to Normandy was not a unique reference to WWII - it was simply stating the idea that WARS ARE HARD. And if we always gave up when THINGS GOT HARD, where would we be? You can replace Normandy with anything you like.

Whereas, the other poster was making a Direct Comparison between WWII and the WOT.

Then again, libs are libs and they are professionals at taking things out of context.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

beaten by facts, arguments and persuasion, the ignorant Kos koward - a drop-out from the military, flexes his anguish at his previous comrades in arms. his littany of lies and deceit aren't selling and beaten by zouk again and again, due to reason, logic and citations from zouk, the ignorant Kos koward leaves the field of battle in disgrace, sending off one last stupid parting shot:


"American Thinker" - an oxymoron?

Posted by: "military intelligence" | July 25, 2007 02:19 PM


the state of the hate filled blogger is sad. but when forcibly confronted they demonstrate what they wish our army would do - run away, surrender, hide, ignore the battle, change the subject.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Zouk:

does ANYONE like you?
does ANYONE think you're a thoughtful person?
does seeing you bring a smile to ANYONE'S face?
does ANYONE ever say about you, "He's a nice guy." - ?

Do you help people across the street?
Would you mow a neighbor's lawn - as a favor, for free - if asked nicely?
Do you belong to any community organizations/do any volunteer work?
Have you ever done anything nice for someone whom you did not know?
Have you ever done anything nice for someone who was not yourself?

Why do I suspect that the answer to each of those questions is "no"?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"I am shocked at how low the liberal value of an American Soldier or Marine's life is worth. Wow."

Mike, ask Zouk how he values the lives of U. S. military. To him they are simply numeric factors in a cost benefit analysis.

I've seen far higher regard for the soldier's actual lives from probable Liberal bloggers the Fix, than from the Neo-Con parrots.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Mike: "And it's pretty ignorant to compare this fight to WWII, where the enemy was centralized and easily identifiable."

It's pretty ignorant to make snide remarks about a poster's mention of WWII not too long after you made a snide remark about Libs and Normandy.

Posted by: Mike you are pathetic | July 25, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

no retort so attack motivations, personalities, etc. typical Lib loser and prevaricator.

followed by shallow posting using someone else's name. you are a cretin and a loser Kos koward.

thanks for showing us your true colors - yellow.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"American Thinker" - an oxymoron?

Posted by: "military intelligence" | July 25, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Truthunter says "I would like to see a poll where the question is: Is it OK to send your son or daughter to fight in Iraq"

This is one of the most vile statements you've made in quite some time, TH. I'm surprised at your level of ignorance on the workings of the executive branch. See, the CIC gets to decide if it's OK to send soldiers to fight wars. Since you seem to be stuck in Vietnam-protest mode, maybe you need reminding that we have an all-volunteer military now; the draftees who did not sign up willingly are no longer serving. Those that sign up are over the age of consent and don't need mommy or daddy's permission.

But in any case, why not pose such a question on your own personal blog that we've all seen advertised a million times. Then at least mikeB can cast his vote and you will have allowed him to voice his parental objections.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | July 25, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"Walter Reed Hospital is run by a private company, due to recent outsourcing. During the Clinton administration, when it was run by the government, the VA had some of the best healthcare in the country."

Walter Reed is an Army hospital, not a VA hospital.

The VA healthcare system is totally separate from the Dept. of Defenses'. When the Walter Reed problems surfaced people began to mix and match the two systems. Some lazy reporters in the MSM contributed to the confusion.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

but you expect anyone to believe what's on a far-right blog like american "thinker"?

no retort so attack motivations, personalities, etc. typical Lib loser and prevaricator.


no ignorant Kos koward - I don't expect YOU to believe anything that you don't already know from reading Kos, nation, huff, NYT, etc. My arguments are not aimed at hate-filled zealots. This blog demonstrated yesterday that you and your kind are a small pitiful minority of Dems. I never attempt to convince fools like you. shouldn't you be getting back to answering the phone now?

After flopping out of the military and not getting that hoped for promotion, I would think you might want to actually do something productive at this new job. but of course that would be contrary to your inherent nature. hence the lib thing, looking for a handout.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The ability to read for meaning is not necessary in order to enjoy "American Thinker." It may in fact get in the way.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I am not Zouk. He is far smarter and better-looking than I. No, the closest I come to him is a collection of some of his wisdom, neatly printed on a soft pink paper with luscious purple ink. Some, but not all, of the misspellings have been corrected - I am, after all, a professor - but I felt it would take away from his voice to correct them all.
Indeed, often I return to my office frustrated from a dispute with one of my cantankerous Democratic students, and sit before my collection of Zoukisms for a soothing read. "Libs" I say to myself, "Libs." Like magic, my growing migraine suddenly cuts and runs. Would that I could communicate my appreciation to the King, but alas, our love is doomed never to be.

Posted by: Walter W | July 25, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Will -- Just because YOU happen to think we should allocate more fighting men to Afghanistan doesn't mean that the COMMON LIBERAL AGENDA isn't to mis-use an important sounding word.

And it's pretty ignorant to compare this fight to WWII, where the enemy was centralized and easily identifiable.

There are only 2 clear battlegrounds in this war, and if we back down from one, at least another will open up. And if you want that battleground to be here, where even more innocent Americans will die, then I feel fully justified in questioning (people like) you.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Senator Coleman is just a lying surrender monkey then!

Posted by: pavlovian republican response | July 25, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Mike writes
"So, yes - you misused a word, in defense of a liberal plan, in a way that liberals commonly use to veil their true message.

I apologize."


Well thank you for the apology.

Though I would argue with your characterization of 'redeployment' being liberalese for 'surrender'. I could be mistaken, but I believe the Bi-partisan (i.e. not all flaming liberals) Iraq Study Group calls for redeployment of troops both within Iraq & in neighboring countries. Sen Coleman (R-MN) called for similar selective redeployment within Iraq following the announcement of the surge (which he did not agree with).

I recommend retraining your reflexes regarding 'redeployment'.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Blarg - making up numbers again?

Health Care Lie: '47 Million Uninsured Americans'
Michael Moore, politicians and the media use inflated numbers of those without health insurance to promote universal coverage.

http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2007/20070718153509.aspx

any of you Libs want to throw numbers around, show me where you got them. Otherwise I will just assume you are making them up or lying as usual.

Posted by: no facts please, we're Dems | July 25, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

zouk/trotsky/walter/mike/et al: you brainiacs mock left-wing blogs, but you expect anyone to believe what's on a far-right blog like american "thinker"?

pretty funny. I put "thinker" in quotes for obvious reasons, of course.

Posted by: LOL a far-right blog? | July 25, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

So I post facts and links about the surge working and the Lib retort - as usual - fingers in the ears.

you monkeys aren't worth my time. Are there any honest Libs out there? I don't mind that your views are nonsensicle. But if you are caught with your pants down (as Libs are wont to do) admit it. No finger wagging and lying about it.

"So again, how is it working?"

assuming you can read, go here.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/07/the_surge_succeeds.html

Posted by: we refuse good news, we're Libs | July 25, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The 12:30 post was by a professor at GMU? It's hard to imagine a professor calling people "Lib liars". I guess that school has some low academic standards. Either that or you, Zouk, are making posts in other peoples' names in order to get credibility. How very honest of you.

In your post masquerading as Walter, you said that we have a "perfectly functioning capitalistic system". Even if you take the ludicrous position that our healthcare system functions perfectly for those it covers, it doesn't cover 1/3 of the country under 65. That's what you call a perfectly-functioning system?

Posted by: Blarg | July 25, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"bsimon -- this isn't even worth either of our time (sorry for the late response, by the way).

"Redeployment" is a brand new Pelosi-Reedism that has been employed by the defeatists. When you used the word, which I still maintain was misused, I admit, I made some assumptions about you.

Then again, when a lot of libs say "it's time for something new" - "it's time for a change", there is only ONE option which they are referring to - retreat.

You can even read that sentiment on this thread.

So, yes - you misused a word, in defense of a liberal plan, in a way that liberals commonly use to veil their true message.

I apologize"

So when the US redeployed it's troops in WWII from unsuccessful battlefronts to other areas in order to better attack the Axis menace, were they admitting defeat? If I happen to think the war on terror will go a lot better by redeploying most of the troops in Iraq to Afghanistan, does that mean I'm advocating the defeat of American troops? In your anger Mike, you would be suited to remember America, and Americans such as myself are not the enemy.

Posted by: Will | July 25, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"questionably-motivated"

that's why the Senate voted overwhelmingly for it.
More lies to prop up inconsistencies and weak positions.

"They ARE there now" - so is it a civil war? - apparently NOT. Now we are getting somewhere.

"The rest of the world is re-organizing itself into new political and financial groupings in which we are not necessarily being asked to play a part." - OK, let them stash their money somewhere else. you can't really be this clueless can you? France, Germany etc are comimng crawling back after the experiment with uber-socialism, which failed them miserably.

"70% of Iraqis want the US out of Iraq" - do you think we want to be there? the point is we will leave after our goals are met. Our goal is not to elect hillary. do you Libs have any inkling of following through on something difficult. take the war on poverty. how much has that cost? how much can you show for it? when we will accept defeat and go home? Its been over 30 years now. by your standards this is a no brainer, something a Lib is destined to understand.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I believe in a pull-out of Iraq and a redeployment of 70-90% of those troops to Afghanistan to help stabilize the country, pin in Osama and the taliban and provide us the kind of military and political leverage we need on Iran. I'm also a liberal. I guess my desire to do what it takes to beat Osama, the Taliban and hamstring Iran's nuclear efforts makes me a surrender monkey?

Posted by: Will | July 25, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Dijetlo: "The surge is working" is con-speak for "We have no idea if the surge is working."

Posted by: Welcome to the board | July 25, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

No Facts: The surge is working?
Really?
I thought the goal of the surge was to suppress sectarian violence in Iraq? Give the Iraqi government some breathing room to effect a political solution to their civil conflict.
In reality, sectarian violence continues to climb and the Iraqi government is on month long vacation. In any case, there doesn't seem to be any progress made towards attaining the primary goals of the "Surge", at least nothing that can be quantified or reasonably inferred.
So again, how is it working?

Posted by: Dijetlo | July 25, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- this isn't even worth either of our time (sorry for the late response, by the way).

"Redeployment" is a brand new Pelosi-Reedism that has been employed by the defeatists. When you used the word, which I still maintain was misused, I admit, I made some assumptions about you.

Then again, when a lot of libs say "it's time for something new" - "it's time for a change", there is only ONE option which they are referring to - retreat.

You can even read that sentiment on this thread.

So, yes - you misused a word, in defense of a liberal plan, in a way that liberals commonly use to veil their true message.

I apologize.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky: "Blarg - you can find Walter over at George Mason University. He is a distinguished professor of economics and actually knows a thing or two about the subject. It would seem you don't."

Sure, Trotsky, this "distinguished" professor is spending time making anonymous posts on message boards.

Posted by: Walter the Nutty Professor? | July 25, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky says
"that was 8/18 - still with the lies to make your point. are you that weak?"

BZZZTTT!!! They met 0 of 18. The White House claimed 'satisfactory' progress on 8 of 18.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

And to the annoying Trotsky/sand flea/Zouk:

of course it's great that the US armed forces are having more success in Iraq. This should not in any way take the focus off the poorly-planned, questionably-motivated, and (at least until recently) poorly-led nature of this military adventure. Let's recap:

-al Qaeda was NOT there before we went in . They ARE there now. So if bin Laden and co. are claiming it as the "central front," it's only because we have allowed them to do so. That's a gift to the enemy, courtesy of policy decisions made by The Decider.
-In a recent poll, 70% of Iraqis want the US out of Iraq.
-At last count, we have so far spent over half a trillion dollars in Iraq. Have we gotten our money's worth? Keep in mind that not a small portion of that amount is now in the pockets of Halliburton board members, even though they halted work on many (all?) of their initiatives in Iraq. For those keeping score at home, half a trillion dollars would pay for universal health coverage, among other worthy expenses. It would also take a big bite out of the national debt.
-The rest of the world is re-organizing itself into new political and financial groupings in which we are not necessarily being asked to play a part.

Football fans (Mark in Austin? and others) will appreciate the analogy of a team who, after losing 15-20 yards on the first two downs, runs a successful draw play and makes it back to the line of scrimmage. That's where we are now - 3rd and 10, and we just called a timeout. We are not "winning," it's late in the second half, and the fans are calling for the coaching staff to be fired. Zouk and some others, however, are hoisting a warm domestic brew to the fact that we have regained some of the yardage we have lost.

Posted by: the Gipper | July 25, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

This laissez-faire attitude toward the heart of the middle east is almost incomprehensible, and its supporters really have only one reason...it's hard.


there is another reason - election victory. Reid said it himself. the Libs can't win on any of their tax and expand positions, so they look for something easier to manipulate with their ally the LSM. It is their only hope.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"despite hitting 0 of 18 a week or two ago)."

that was 8/18 - still with the lies to make your point. are you that weak?

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Blarg - you can find Walter over at George Mason University. He is a distinguished professor of economics and actually knows a thing or two about the subject. It would seem you don't.

We used to have private fire departments, there were badges on the outside of the house to determine if you had paid. the problem was that if you paid and your neighbor didn't, you still might get burned. this is actually a local common good which has little if any contraversy over its support. But you will note it is run by counties and small cities, not the federal government. that way you get to decide if Hannibel MO needs a new engine and new boots, not Hillary. See how nicely that works?

there is an old problem in economics called the free-rider dilemma. Look into it if you want an answer to your fire department question. And, yes, the free riders are ALL Libs, as usual.

"functioning perfectly, with absolutely no flaws" - is that your requirement? you are going to have a very hard time arriving there with Hillary-care. consider that the list of paid-for drugs will be quite short. Meanwhile the line you must wait in for every service (at the price Hillary sets)promises to be long, long, long. Just like in all the other socialist countries.

is your proposal that we ruin it for everyone so we can all suffer together?

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

FH writes
"I think it would be a disaster to leave Iraq in its present state, which is why a cannot support a candidate who advocates an immediate pull-out."

I agree. Where you and I likely differ is that I also think staying the course will also be a disaster.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"bsimon, let me get this straight, you are fully prepared to declare defeat, but if the white house even mentions victory it is too soon?"

Huh? Where did 1) I declare defeat or 2) the White House declare victory (other than the 'mission accomplished' photo-op, of course)?

What I said was, 4 1/2 years of whack-a-mole was enough & we need to find a strategy that will achieve our strategic goals & implement it. Sending our troops back to fallujah to clean out the evildoers every year or two doesn't feel like a good long term strategy. If you want to argue the surge is working, fine - great in fact. I look forward to General Petreus announcing the success of the surge in September. I look forward to the announcement that the Iraqis have met all the benchmarks set out for them (despite hitting 0 of 18 a week or two ago). And, most of all, I look forward to the new withdrawl plan of the bulk of our troops, so that at least the the Guard & Reserves can return to their civilian lives.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

It certainly didn't take 4 years (and counting) to clear the Germans out of France (and Poland, and Norway, and Denmark, and whatever other little countries are over there).

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 11:40 AM

But after the war we stayed until the Germans were able to support themselves. This rebuilding plan took decades. I wonder what the world would look like today if the planned Nazi insurgency had actually taken place, and we had decided it was no longer worth the effort.

The reason we stayed is because we did not want to leave a weakened and easily corruptible country to fall into the hands of the communists. We also stayed so that we could be a buffer against further communist encroachment into Europe. I can't understand why so many on this site are willing to cede Iraq to the group that gets the most guns, even if that group happens to be our mortal enemy.

This laissez-faire attitude toward the heart of the middle east is almost incomprehensible, and its supporters really have only one reason...it's hard. I think it would be a disaster to leave Iraq in its present state, which is why a cannot support a candidate who advocates an immediate pull-out.

Posted by: FH | July 25, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

sorry - this is re-posted from the last thread cuz I guessed we were done over there. Heads up, Mike:

Mike, of course you think you're right. Most people do. As someone with experience in Iraq, your opinion is certainly differently informed than mine is. (However, I have a cousin - a major in the Rangers - who has now been deployed twice, and he does not agree with you.)

Respectfully - and don't get me wrong, I do respect your experience - I have to say that I think using "ideology" and "morality" to determine how viable a solution is represents a lot of what I don't like and think is absolutely wrong and dangerous about this war.

Remember, despite what is currently the party line about our reasons for entering the war ("to fight al Qaeda, who attacked us on 09.11"), at the time of "shock and awe," our motivation was to disarm Saddam/dismantle his nuclear/bio/chem weapons capability. No one at the time seriously thought that he was an author of or contributor to the 09.11 attacks - in fact, as we have recently learned, our intelligence services were pretty sure that he was NOT involved, and that there was NO al Qaeda presence in Iraq.

Bush's success over the six years which have followed has been to keep the focus on fear, and off logic, and that has enabled him to pursue a list of domestic and foreign policies which have been harmful to our country. If the situation in Iraq IS improving - I said "if" - it is still far less stable than it was at the time of the invasion, and our presence there has so far has both helped motivate the creation of an al Qaeda presence there AND, by taking the pressure off, allowed the original (Afghan) organization to rebuild in Pakistan, to the point where some experts now say it is as strong as on 09.11. How is that progress?

And FYI, I do not blame America, or the armed forces (with the exception of Haditha, Abu Ghraib, etc.) for this failure. It has been a failure of leadership - leadership whose policy decisions were predicated on "ideology" and "morality" (or at least their understanding of it) rather than "reality."

I do NOT think we can pull out of Iraq completely, nor do I think it can happen quickly. I DO think that the analysis of experts that at the current rate of deployment the military will be unable to sustain its troop commitments beyond next spring MUST be taken into account.

and in re: draft/larger army - I think that if we are determined to continue an aggressive military posture in the world at large, we must have a larger force. I do not think the political support exists to re-establish the draft, as I do not think that the majority in this country trust its civilian leaders (who have, at least at the top levels, no military experience to speak of) with the lives of their children at this point. And recruitment goals are being missed on a monthly basis. So what's the solution? I have to think that either the mission must be changed to one which has a greater degree of public support and confidence or a great deal more money must be spent on pay, training, and equipment... or probably a combination of the two. What are your thoughts?

Posted by: Bokonon | July 25, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

If they didn't want to fight, why did they join the military? It is about time you Libs understood the idea of consequences of your actions. It is reasonable to assume that if you join the infantry, you might be sent off to war, you might get your leave cancelled, you will most certainly carry a pack.

Are your sons as whiney as you are? I doubt it?

Parents of soldiers do not make military policy, it is perfectly clear what that policy would be. that is not the point of having an Army.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky, where did your buddy Walter go? I want him to come back and explain how our healthcare system (which covers 68% of the under-65 population) is functioning perfectly, with absolutely no flaws. I also want him to tell me why we have public fire departments, since private ones would be so much better.

Posted by: Blarg | July 25, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you missed one critical group that tends to support immediate withdrawl - parents/family of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have two sons in the military, both in Iraq. I want them out RIGHT NOW, not in six months. Something I KNOW you are aware of, too, is that we parents "socialize" with each other. A lot of this is hand holding, talking through the nightmares, waiting for those rare ten minute telephone calls where we can't discuss much of anything except the 130 degree heat they experience or the 75 pound packs, when they might be coming home on one of those 30 day leaves, why the leave was missed (twice now, my sons unit was lined up, bunks made, packed up and ready to come home on leave, only to have it cancelled). I, and this is completely literal, I don't know of even one parent who supports a gradial withdrawl, every single one of the 30 or so families I am in almost daily contact with, wants immediate and total withdrawl.
It is my belief that our belief and wishes in this matter take precidence over those of anyone else in this debate. That goes for the bozo's on the right waving their made in China flags and blather on about "victory" and "supporting the troops" and the those on the left that apparently want to make politcial capital off this mess. Well, for both sides, those two young men are MY SONS, the others are children of friends. None of you has qany right to play games with their lives nor to denigrate their sacrifice and heroism and it is certainly not your right to use them to prop up this failed President, hide behind them as the scumbags in the Pentagon do, nor to use them to achieve some lame and empty political victory.

Posted by: MikeB | July 25, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

It's now quite clear how the results of the surge will be dealt with by domestic opponents of the Iraq war.


They're going to be ignored.


They're being ignored now. Virtually no media source or Democratic politician (and not a few Republicans, led by Richard "I can always backtrack" Lugar) is willing to admit that the situation on the ground has changed dramatically over the past three months. Coalition efforts have undergone a remarkable reversal of fortune, a near-textbook example as to how an effective strategy can overcome what appear to be overwhelming drawbacks.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/07/the_surge_succeeds.html

so bsimon, let me get this straight, you are fully prepared to declare defeat, but if the white house even mentions victory it is too soon? Caution on their part is to be rewarded or discouraged? you can't have it both ways, even if you are a Lib. I know you are only willing to accept defeat, despite any actual facts to the contrary. do you work for the NYT?

amd I can predict that Ignorant Kos Koward will supply his usual fact barren invective carefully lifted from Daily Kos, the Nation and Huff, facts be damned.

when your quiver is empty, you must resort to lies and insults, all Libs do it, don't feel too bad.

Posted by: no facts please, we're Dems | July 25, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Who Really Supports Withdrawal?

Governor Bill Richardson.
http://www.richardsonforpresident.com/issues/iraq

It's really quite simple. If you want all our troops home as soon as possible, he's your guy, end of story. He is the ONLY candidate calling for immediate withdrawal of ALL our troops, no residual forces, within 6 months. Again, he is the ONLY candidate with this clear position on the war, and he was the first candidate to call on Congress to de-authorize the war NOW, and to stop their ridiculous fumbling.
http://notroopsleftbehind.com/

Posted by: CNYAlison | July 25, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Trotsky writes
"you mean like a surge, which is evidently working?"

I thought it was too soon to tell? Last I heard from the White House, the 'surge' just started in June and has to be given time before we can analyze success or failure. Now you're claiming - unsourced, by the way - that it's 'evidently' working. Which is it?

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"you mean like a surge, which is evidently working?"

Can someone please help me get back to Mother Earth?

Posted by: Trotsky in Bizarro World | July 25, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON - Bill Clinton will be there. So will 300 officeholders from more than 45 states. But one thing will be missing when Democrats gather in Tennessee this weekend to discuss how to appeal to moderate, independent-minded voters in 2008: the Democratic presidential field.

Not a single one of the eight presidential candidates plans to attend the Democratic Leadership Council's summer meeting, a snub that says less about the centrist DLC than it does about a nomination process that rewards candidates who pander to their parties' hardened cores while ignoring everybody else.

"They have tunnel vision," DLC founder Al From said of his fellow Democrats.

From said he has nothing against Clinton's wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, or the other seven (dwarfs) Democratic presidential candidates. He even understands why they won't attend the DLC meeting.

But that doesn't make him worry any less about the future of his party.

"Presidents are elected in the middle and they are elected by being bigger than their party. Neither parties' activists alone can elect somebody president," From said in a telephone interview from his Washington office. "Democrats have a long history of nominating people, including people who have lost badly. The challenge for Democrats is to nominate somebody who can win the election."

Posted by: history repeats Libs set to lose | July 25, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Thirty four percent of black voters supported an immediate withdrawal, as did 26 percent of whites.

Uh, if this is true, how do you come up with 29 percent of all those polled support an immediate withdrawal??

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"In other words, after nearly 4 1/2 years of playing Whack a Mole, maybe its time to do something different"

you mean like a surge, which is evidently working? why ignore the bad news for Libs? going to cost you the election - again. betting on america to lose is a bad bet, only Libs do that.

the country is learnig the truth and the change in direction of the polls proves it. the level of support for the Lib congress is sub-snake. the truth finds a way to get out, despite the LSM fighting it tooth and nail. now if only you could fight so hard for something IN the national interest.

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

PENiS WENiS

Posted by: George Bush | July 25, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

PENiS WENiS

Posted by: George Bush | July 25, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

penis

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

penis

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

penis

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Walter W, I would ask that you read my post today on the sorry state of our health care, and then make your corporatist case.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | July 25, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Most of the rest of the debate involved the candidates showing little genuine emotion or conviction and no new ideas. Questions about health care were handled with outrage at George Bush and a total evasion of the challenges of actual cost controls. (Medicare, for example is unfunded through 2070 to the sum of 40 or more trillion dollars.) When asked by one questioner whether they would cut benefits or raise taxes -- all the candidates agreed that neither were really necessary. Although, admittedly, Obama emoted far more sincerely-looking about the terrible problem than did the others.

Only one issue evoked genuine passion: how quickly it would take to retreat from Iraq. And here, the candidates had clearly been doing earnest private research before the debate. Gov. Richardson said he could get all the troops out in five months. Sen. Dodd claimed he could do it in seven months, while Sen. Biden was insistent that it would take a full 9 months to a year to move American troops and civilians down the two-lane road through Basra to the sea.

Bragging at how quickly they could retreat seems to be a peculiarly liberal inclination. While, as I recall, conservative little boys practice quick draw with their cap guns while playing cowboys and Indians; apparently liberal little boys practice how fast they can throw up their hands to surrender to the guys in the black hats.


Most remarkably of all, not one of the candidates even mentioned the danger of Islamist terrorism the entire night. The Democratic candidates seemed pretty cocky on Monday. But they may have an Achilles' heel: national security. Their manifest indifference to the nation's security may yet cost them public trust come next year's election.


Posted by: tony | July 25, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Mike, I said
"It is likely that with a redeployment, this kind of violence will stop."

In that sentence, 'this ind of violence' referred to boobytraps set for our troops by Iraqis who want us out of their country, as defined in the prior sentence to the one quoted above. This would mostly exclude the 'al qaida' element.

Note that I followed that statement by saying "[t]hat doesn't necessarily mean that just quitting & leaving is the best idea".

Got that? Just because some people are only attacking us solely because we are there does not mean that 'surrendering' or 'cutting and running' is the best idea.

Yet you responded that by merely using the word 'redeployment' in a sentence, I must mean the troops should just throw down their weapons and walk home. You totally ignored my conclusion, which was az follows:

"Perhaps our best course would be to try something new - perhaps engage with regional players who may have more credibility with the locals than we do."

In other words, after nearly 4 1/2 years of playing Whack a Mole, maybe its time to do something different. I didn't say 'leave', I didn't even say 'redeploy'. I said try something different.

But you picked out the word 'redeployment', interpreted it out of context, & posted your knee-jerk reaction about presumed liberals, peacenicks and surrender-monkeys. Upon review of the post in question, I feel quite vindicated in questioning your reading comprehension and general intelligence.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

""Yes, Mike, you mean just like the Republican Party wanted the US to tell the rest of the world until December 7, 1941?"

does this even make sense to anyone out there?"

Of course it makes sense to most readers of this blog, numbnuts, because unlike a simpleton like you, they know that the Republican party in 1941 was dominated by isolationist morons.

why don't you do a little reading before trying to play with big kids? LOL nice try, though. Really, it wouldn't take much for you to learn enough to avoid looking like an idiot 100 percent of the time.

Posted by: we tried, we failed to make a coherent point | July 25, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Walter, you think our current healthcare system is "perfectly functioning"? Even President Bush and the Republicans in Congress don't think that. The fact that you're able to ignore all of the very real problems with our healthcare system shows that you aren't seriously discussing this issue. 8 million people don't have "capitalistic" healthcare? The real number is more like 32% of the country (under age 65), and it's going up every year.

The fire department is run by the government. Why is that? Wouldn't it be more efficient to have competing private fire departments? Then when your house is on fire, you can call your fire department, and they'll send over some trucks. If your dues are all paid up, of course. And if it's not too expensive for them. And if you can prove the fire isn't your fault. And so on.

Posted by: Blarg | July 25, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The moment our Commander in Fief recklessly invaded Iraq he shattered the egg.

And we're left to deal with the resulting mess.

The reason people are in such a quandry and the polls are so fractured, is because there are no "good" answers.... only a hoped for diminuation of unknown consequences with any of the very difficult choices.

Since we can't put the egg together again, perhaps we should follow Biden's well-thought-out plan to federalize Iraq.

I would like to see a poll where the question is: Is it OK to send your son or daughter to fight in Iraq.... or, should we somehow find a way to withdraw.

The opinions might not then be quite so fractured.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | July 25, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I see Loud and Dumb voter is living up to his name.
"Yes, Mike, you mean just like the Republican Party wanted the US to tell the rest of the world until December 7, 1941?"

does this even make sense to anyone out there?

"everyone else recognizes as a lost cause" you mean everyone of the Kos haters? this thread is about the numbers stooge. You Libs need to take a remedial math class and Loud and dumb could use a little grammar too.

Posted by: we tried, we failed, as usual | July 25, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- you have 3 times now failed to explain your misuse of an official-sounding word that masks your true intentions. And twice you have implied that I am the one who can't read.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Blarg - "Private healthcare companies have no interest in your well-being. It's in their financial best interest to deny you treatment whenever possible, so they can collect your premiums without paying out."

simply false, from the Lib liars, as usual.

does your car insurance company make money by never paying out? why don't you just go over to state farm the next year? you can you know. then your old company would soon be gone. Insurance companies survive and are profitable by tight management and conforming to agreed upon contracts and customer service. Just like all successful businesses. Exactly opposite of big government.

No one expects to be treated for drug abuse if your contract specifically says "no drug abuse". but if it is covered, it would be nice to get to the doctor sometime this year - not an option in the big government programs as is clearly known and is somehow being swept under the carpet by the power hungry Libs. why lie to gain the power? Is your position so weak you must lie?

why do you want to ruin a perfectly functioning capitalistic system to cover a marginal 8 million people who aren't completely paid for? this is less than 3% of the population. we don't make massive policy changes for 3%.

Posted by: walter w | July 25, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: you might as well get used to the idea of insulting mike's intelligence, because his posts prove conclusively that he is a moron.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | July 25, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The Liberal Agenda.

2 "Ideas"

Raise Taxes
Socialize Medicine


Many Non-Ideas

Oppose Bush
Oppose The War
Oppose Entrepreneurship
Oppose Bush (In All Forms)
Oppose Freedom of Speech (Fairness Doctrine)
Oppose The Troops
Oppose God and Morality
Oppose Border Security
Oppose The Rule of Law (Sovereignty)
Oppose Scientific Debate (Global Warming)
Oppose Economic Progress

Oppose America (Blame the USA for most of the world's problems, including climate change, poverty, war, terrorism, etc.)

http://conservativestandards.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The Liberal Agenda.

2 "Ideas"

Raise Taxes
Socialize Medicine


Many Non-Ideas

Oppose Bush
Oppose The War
Oppose Entrepreneurship
Oppose Bush (In All Forms)
Oppose Freedom of Speech (Fairness Doctrine)
Oppose The Troops
Oppose God and Morality
Oppose Border Security
Oppose The Rule of Law (Sovereignty)
Oppose Scientific Debate (Global Warming)
Oppose Economic Progress

Oppose America (Blame the USA for most of the world's problems, including climate change, poverty, war, terrorism, etc.)

http://conservativestandards.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Mike: "I am shocked at how low the liberal value of an American Soldier or Marine's life is worth. Wow."

That's pretty funny, Mike, considering it's cons like you who have no problem wasting more soldiers' and marines' lives in the name of what everyone else recognizes as a lost cause. Wow.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | July 25, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Mike: "I guess prior to Normandy we could have just told western Europe that we've had enough, they can take care of themselves."

Yes, Mike, you mean just like the Republican Party wanted the US to tell the rest of the world until December 7, 1941? Thanks for reminding us about that.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | July 25, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Mike is wrong again, when he writes
"OK you're right. I forgot, I was arguing with a lib. And when you call a lib out on something, they immediately attack you personally."


Mike, you regularly and apparently deliberately misinterpret what people say, and then pretend to get offended when they call you on it? Why are you so sensitive?

Your apparent problem is that you think anyone who disagrees with you is a liberal and that all liberals want to surrender to Osama bin Laden. Neither of those positions are even close to accurate, which leads me to believe that you are truly delusional, or, at the very least, incapable of rational thought or discussion.

What is more comical, is that out of one side of your mouth, you criticize liberals for wanting to bring the troops home, but out of the other criticize them for 'devaluing' our soldiers' lives. Have you considered that some people want the troops home precisely because they value those lives? Some people think this war cannot be won, and that every additional life lost over there is a waste of a human being's future potential. It could be fairly argued that these people value our soliders' lives more than our political leaders who continually order them to risk their lives & limbs fighting the same battles over and over again with no end in sight.

So, perhaps if you can begin to address the arguments that are made, rather than the ones you imagine are made, I will stop insulting your intelligence - for then there will be some small sign of it existing. Until then, brush up on your reading comprehension - if you need contact information for adult reading programs, I'm happy to look it up for you.

be well-

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

CC
"While a majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaners support the drawing-down of American troops, when presented with potential negative consquences of that withdrawal they become more circumspect." 13% (73% to 60%) is your idea of more circumspect? The number that strikes me as shocking is the 60% of Dems that believe that we should draw-down American troops regardless of the consequences. What that says is that 3 out of 5 democrats could care less about the Iraqi people or their fate. Previous to Bush, weren't the Democrats the ones that argued that the US needed to get more involved (in most cases via the UN) around the world where there were people being slaughtered and brutalized? Weren't they the ones that claimed that we needed to address human rights violations across the globe? These are the same people that are aghast that there are enemy combatants that may have been tortured in Gitmo or insulted in Abu Ghraib but are apparently ok with massive bloodshed in Iraq and could care less about keeping up the fight against Al Qaeda.

Posted by: Dave! | July 25, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

It looks to me like the next election is boiling down to some very simple choices.

do you want a big government, high tax, bureaucratic regulation, economy stomping, morals challenged, feckless foreign policy, nothing substantial Lib solution?

Or do you prefer individualism, low taxes, minimal government, effective foreign policy, higher economic performance?

the choices are clear for those paying attention.

Of course if you point this out to Libs, they will deny the facts, they always do. Be sure to ask them how they are able to arrive at their conclusions. they will not be able to answer truthfully. Mostly they will just name call and try to change the subject - same as always.

Posted by: kingofzouk | July 25, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Walter W, I have a question for you. I'll ask it as if you were a real poster here, not just a copy-and-paste from another site by the guy who constantly whines about people copying and pasting.

Walter, you say that you'd rather have your healthcare provided by people who care about profits. Why? Private healthcare companies have no interest in your well-being. It's in their financial best interest to deny you treatment whenever possible, so they can collect your premiums without paying out. Why do you want your healthcare provided by people who are better off not helping you?

By the way, Walter Reed Hospital is run by a private company, due to recent outsourcing. During the Clinton administration, when it was run by the government, the VA had some of the best healthcare in the country.

Posted by: Blarg | July 25, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Simon writes: "Here is an idea: Leave, but keep some forces in the region. Let them govern and defend themselves and let them run their own industries"

WOW, Simon. You are truly a brain donor.

That's your idea? Leave some troops there to be attacked and killed.

Let them defend themselves.

Then we'll see what we can do next.

You should be so far removed from military decisions that you shouldn't even be allowed to an Academy store.

I am shocked at how low the liberal value of an American Soldier or Marine's life is worth. Wow.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

For those accustomed to taking from government, it was a tremendous night. For those accustomed to giving to government, it foreshadowed the nightmare to come if a Democrat is elected president.



During the debate, various candidates suggested increasing government by mandating universal health care coverage, health care coverage for illegal aliens, a massive increase in the minimum wage, a minimum salary for school teachers, more spending on public schools generally, cars that get 50 miles per gallon and even reparations for slavery.

They also suggested increasing government revenue by imposing a carbon tax on the U.S. economy, increasing taxes on oil companies, increasing the amount of personal income subject to the Social Security tax, increasing the tax rates on the top 1 percent of earners and increasing taxes for virtually everybody by terminating the Bush tax cuts.

Posted by: tax and spend | July 25, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

bsimon writes: "Mike, with all due respect, your resentment should be directed at your own misinterpretation of what I wrote. Don't be afraid to ask for help - there are programs available for adults who struggle with reading comprehension."

OK you're right. I forgot, I was arguing with a lib. And when you call a lib out on something, they immediately attack you personally.

You are still a coward for conceling your call to surrender by cloaking it in official-sounding terms like "redeployment".

Coward.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Do we want the government employees who run the troubled Walter Reed Army Medical Center to be in charge of our entire health care system? Or, would you like the people who deliver our mail to also deliver health care services? How would you like the people who run the motor vehicles department, the government education system, foreign intelligence and other government agencies to also run our health care system? After all, they are not motivated by the quest for profits, and that might mean they're truly wonderful, selfless, caring people.



"As for me, I'd choose profit-driven people to provide my health care services, people with motives like those who deliver goods to my supermarket, deliver my overnight mail, produce my computer and software programs, assemble my car and produce a host of other goods and services that I use.

There's absolutely no mystery why our greatest complaints are in the arena of government-delivered services and the fewest in market-delivered services. In the market, there are the ruthless forces of profit, loss and bankruptcy that make producers accountable to us. In the arena of government-delivered services, there's no such accountability. For example, government schools can go for decades delivering low-quality services, and what's the result? The people who manage it earn higher pay. It's nearly impossible to fire the incompetents. And, taxpayers, who support the service, are given higher tax bills.

Before we buy into single-payer health care systems like Canada's and the United Kingdom's, we might want to do a bit of research. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute annually publishes "Waiting Your Turn." Its 2006 edition gives waiting times, by treatments, from a person's referral by a general practitioner to treatment by a specialist. The shortest waiting time was for oncology (4.9 weeks). The longest waiting time was for orthopedic surgery (40.3 weeks), followed by plastic surgery (35.4 weeks) and neurosurgery (31.7 weeks).

As reported in the June 28 National Center for Policy Analysis' "Daily Policy Digest," Britain's Department of Health recently acknowledged that one in eight patients waits more than a year for surgery. France's failed health care system resulted in the deaths of 13,000 people, mostly of dehydration, during the heat spell of 2003. Hospitals stopped answering the phones, and ambulance attendants told people to fend for themselves.

Posted by: walter w | July 25, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Test.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | July 25, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

CNN tipped viewers off to its ideological direction when it continuously praised all the "passionate" and "thoughtful" submissions in preview segments leading up to the debate. When CNN aired environmental questions, they came from parents holding children panicking about the global-warming menace. When it aired health-care questions, the questioners wanted to know why government subsidies are so inadequate. When it aired "faith" questions, they were from people scandalized by too much old-time religion in our politics.

The Republicans will also subject themselves to the CNN-YouTube bubble machine on a Monday night in September. They will be foolish to expect a similar treatment. It's rare for the liberal TV news networks to conduct a town-hall presidential debate that even splits the questions down the middle ideologically. Charlie Gibson did it in the second Bush-Kerry debate in 2004. Now that debate, with its simple one-for-you and one-for-you, seemed strangely groundbreaking.

Brent

Posted by: commie news net going strong | July 25, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

While we spend untold billions blowing up
Iraq, just 600 miles away in Dubai,
the tallest building the the world is being built, along with an amazing complex
of construction goes on. Why not tie the
two countries together? No one else
seems to think of that.
GeoBoots@aol.com

Posted by: George D. Weber | July 25, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

While we spend untold billions blowing up
Iraq, just 600 miles away in Dubai,
the tallest building the the world is being built, along with an amazing complex
of construction goes on. Why not tie the
two countries together? No one else
seems to think of that.
GeoBoots@aol.com

Posted by: George D. Weber | July 25, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

In the course of answering a question about global warming, Clinton discussed a new government program she would create to pay for green energy projects. She said as President she would get money to pay for it "by taking away the tax breaks for oil companies, which have gotten much greater under Bush and Cheney."

At no time Monday evening did Clinton bring up her plan to implement universal health care. She also stayed silent while other candidates were asked to outline their positions on gay marriage. No questions related to illegal immigration were asked of any of the candidates

no mention of the word terror. Is this Dem cotillion running for President or PTA?

Posted by: we must hide our positions if we are to win | July 25, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Alot of conservative angst amongst the respondnents.

Obviously they are not among the troops who have better things to do protecting themselves than contributing here.

The war was lost before it started. Based on political expedience, planned and initiated by bureacrats attempting to prove an unproven concept in small forces that was to create efficient military economics, poorly resourcing our troops while enriching contractor freinds of the administration, and losing the hearts and minds of the American people (if it keeping the hearts and minds could be rationally expected over 6 years of war).

It is immoral to continue it for the sake of some imperial machissmo, or partisan pride.

Or are the vitriolic pro-war respondents objecting because acknowledging the failure of a flawed exercise will call into question the charade of the Administration's concept of "Continuous War"- the underlying principle of the inappropriately named 'War on Terror'? No such thing actually, but a great excuse to justify unfettered executive power.

Reality is, we have abused the willinginess of a very noble military force. By next spring, the Pentagon will be unable to rotate in new troops.

Who will fight the "continuous war"? Even the most loyal will recognize when they are being take advantage of in the Bush/Cheney attempt at creating a South American junta style military autocracy.

One has to hope that this administration does not transfer their attention to an invasion/attack of Iran because they have nothing else to lose with 65% of Americans opposing Iraq. Word is that Cheney does not trust whoever the next president is-Republican or Democrat, white, black, male or female- and feels the need to reset the Iranian government.

Just to validate the truly un-American concept of 'Continuous War'.

Posted by: poor richard | July 25, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Americans seem so obsessed with the idea that to leave is to quit, to quit is to admit defeat, and that losing is the Worst Thing Ever. How ridiculously fifth grade of us... Here is an idea: Leave, but keep some forces in the region. Let them govern and defend themselves and let them run their own industries. If things go fine for a while, good, we can go home. If things stay the same or get worse we can go back in. If things get worse after we have left the region we can go back in. It's so simple. No wonder politicians have not thought of it. The country has long been buying into the idea of the dichotomous solution; there are only two solutions to a problem: winning, and losing. It is like admitting that something was a bad idea is not even on the table. Heck, it was considered national news when Virginia passed a bill actually apologizing for slavery and cruelty to native Americans...

Posted by: Simon | July 25, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The New York Times suggests that politicians win votes by "talking more and more about the anemic growth in American wages and the negative effects of trade and a globalized economy on American jobs." And Sen. Hillary Clinton, whom the leading London betting site has as a remarkable 1-1 favorite, mourns the "rising inequality and rising pessimism."


No wonder so many of us think life is getting worse.

But that's nonsense. Average wages are up. Last month, America created 132,000 new jobs. In the last four years, America created 8.2 million jobs. Much of the world is desperate to immigrate to America.

America is rich, and because of that it is humane, with increasing numbers of people developing the tolerance that the intelligentsia says Americans should practice. Why doesn't this good news get the attention it deserves?

Could it be because Lindsey's story has the profit motive at the center? The great material abundance he writes about was not the result of altruism but the pursuit of profit and win-win voluntary exchange. For some people that's bad -- no matter how wonderful the consequences.

This is perverse to say the least. The personal pursuit of happiness is a good thing, particularly when it makes everyone better off, too.

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/column.aspx?UrlTitle=good_news&ns=JohnStossel&dt=07/25/2007&page=2

Posted by: stossel | July 25, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Zouk, you forget to take into account Bin Laden's motivation. He wants a global war between Islam and the West. He wants all Muslims to join together against people of other religions.

So of course he's going to act as if the war in Iraq was part of this World War 3. What else would you expect him to do? If he can convince Muslims that the war in Iraq is about America trying to crush Islam, he can get more Muslims to join his cause. That's who the foreign jihadists in Iraq are: People who were attracted by the chance to fight the US.

You quote Bin Laden as if he were an objective and credible source, which is ridiculous. His goal is to hype every conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims as examples of the great war against Islam. And you play right into his hands.

Posted by: Blarg | July 25, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Mike writes
"I resent people like you using the term "redeployment". It's a misuse of the word, and its deceitful.

Just say what you mean - retreat/withdrawal/defeat."


Mike, with all due respect, your resentment should be directed at your own misinterpretation of what I wrote. Don't be afraid to ask for help - there are programs available for adults who struggle with reading comprehension.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Hi Fix- I find the article very interesting, but would also like to know your thoughts about the other candidates and how their supports feel about the war. Could you analyze them? Namely I'd like to hear about Edwards and Richardson, but think it would be good to hear about all the candidates. I don't believe this is a two horse race just yet. At least not for me.
Justin

Posted by: Justin | July 25, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Mike writes
"I guess prior to Normandy we could have just told western Europe that we've had enough, they can take care of themselves."


The battle of Normandy involved nearly 1.5 million US/Brit/Canadian troops. Perhaps if we had treated the invasion of Iraq as seriously, we wouldn't still be there. It certainly didn't take 4 years (and counting) to clear the Germans out of France (and Poland, and Norway, and Denmark, and whatever other little countries are over there). And that was during a two-front war - keep in mind a lot of attention was also being paid the Battle of the Pacific at that time.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

History will not look kindly on those in the West who insisted on bringing the avowed Marxist Mugabe into the government. In particular, the Jimmy Carter foreign policy--feckless in the Iranian hostage crisis, irresolute in the face of mounting Soviet ambitions, and noted in the post-White House years for dalliances with dictators the world over--bears some responsibility for the fate of a small African country with scant connection to American national interests. In response to Carter's comment last month that the Bush administration's foreign policy was the "worst in history," critics immediately cited those well-publicized failures. But the betrayal of Bishop Muzorewa and of all Zimbabweans, black and white, who warned what sort of leader Robert Mugabe would be deserves just as prominent a place among the outrages of the Carter years.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/746zsgtg.asp?pg=2

Posted by: obama remix | July 25, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Clinton has high support among people who don't follow the issues closely. Or at least, people who are not following the candidates' positions closely at the moment. That's fine, in principle; you can't expect everyone to be completly engaged at this point.

Clinton's position on Iraq has been subject to very little scrutiny, and it's worrying that it appears that a good part of her support does not understand her position on this all-important matter. If you seriously want immediate withdrawal and you know the candidates, you'd be supporting Richardson or Republican candidate Ron Paul. If her position on the matter is probed more publicly in the media, could Clinton's support prove unstable?

Posted by: Antigone | July 25, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Friend | July 25, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Consider what bin Laden said about the importance of the war in Iraq in December 2004:

I now address my speech to the whole of the Islamic nation: Listen and understand. The issue is big and the misfortune is momentous. The most important and serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War, which the Crusader-Zionist coalition began against the Islamic nation. It is raging in the land of the two rivers. The world's millstone and pillar is in Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate.

The whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries; the Islamic nation, on the one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other. It is either victory and glory or misery and humiliation. The nation today has a very rare opportunity to come out of the subservience and enslavement to the West and to smash the chains with which the Crusaders have fettered it.

Likewise, here is how Ayman al Zawahiri described the war in Iraq in a letter to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, then al Qaeda's chief terrorist in Iraq, in 2005:

I want to be the first to congratulate you for what God has blessed you with in terms of fighting battle in the heart of the Islamic world, which was formerly the field for major battles in Islam's history, and what is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era.

According to Clinton and Obama, "this is not our fight." According to bin Laden and Zawahiri, the
war in Iraq is the "most important and serious issue today for the whole world" and "the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era."

Posted by: sand flea | July 25, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

A new joint poll by CBS News and The New York Times shows that public support for the original invasion of Iraq has risen by a fifth - from 35 percent to 42 percent of those surveyed - over the past two months.

Moreover, there's been a similarly startling drop in those who say the war is going badly, from 45 percent to 35 percent. The number of those who say the war effort is going well is up by about a quarter, from 23 percent to 29 percent.

Back in May, in other words, twice as many Americans thought the war was going badly as thought it was going well. Now the numbers are only a few points apart.

To be sure, the poll shows overwhelming support for a reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq or a complete withdrawal. That's hardly surprising, given the spate of negative reporting from Iraq and the lack of political progress.

So what has changed over the past two months?

Reports from Iraq say that the troop surge is gaining real traction. Indeed, there has been a significant drop-off in suicide bombings. All of which suggests strongly that support for the Iraq effort has long been directly linked to the actual state of the military situation.

Another likely factor: The public's renewed appreciation that the insurgency is linked both to Iran and al Qaeda.

Sure, Americans have serious qualms over the way the war has been prosecuted - and particularly with the seeming inability of the nascent Iraqi government to begin shouldering its share of the military burden.

That's entirely understandable - and not unjustified, either. Even the fiercest pro-invasion partisans are disappointed over what has happened in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was toppled.

But if, in fact, Americans increasingly understand that the invasion of Iraq was justified, that has tremendous political implications for Campaign 2008.

The Democratic presidential candidates, who are falling all over themselves touting their anti-war credentials, may find that running a "Bush lied and thousands died" campaign doesn't resonate as well with voters as they now hope.

If that's the case, it hopefully also holds true that Americans won't allow the Democratic-controlled Congress to undercut the troops by forcing them to cut and run before their mission can be accomplished.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/07252007/postopinion/editorials/the_public__the_war_editorials_.htm

Posted by: Trotsky | July 25, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Bipartisan Former Officials Tell '08 Candidates: Diplomacy Is The Answer

A bipartisan group of top-level former administration, congressional, foreign policy and military leaders including former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and James Baker, former secretaries of defense Frank Carlucci and William Perry, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin released a statement today urging the 2008 presidential candidates to define new visions for U.S. foreign policy and national security that will prioritize greater investments in international development and diplomacy.

http://onthehillblog.blogspot.com/2007/07/bipartisan-former-officials-tell-08.html

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"down to 65%"? "down to 60%"? "not cut and dried"? You've got some pretty tough standards there, man. It looks to me like you never got out of overwhelming majority landslide territory.

Posted by: david | July 25, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Mike. If Hitler was prowling around South America while we blew up Western Europe, we would have told them to figure it out themselves and then invaded Argentina.

Iraq is a factional civil war, not Osama's hideout. Whatever happened to "dead or alive"?

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: chrisfl | July 25, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Blarg, you are so right, and I completely agree. I would just rather b*tch and moan about it, because, as you intimate, there has been little else for me to do in Presidential years.

bsimon, maybe CC will pick up on that thread.

JimD yesterday pointed out one of the excesses of the "activist" left during the Chavez discussion - its hyperbolic tendency to equate GWB with Chavez, or GWB with Osama, which totally undermines by its excess the legitimate point-by-point criticisms of GWB that have been made. Another excess of the far left is its irrational fear of, and opposition to, maintaining a strong military. On this blog, a discussion of whether and how to strengthen our armed forces would become heated, but probably would draw some very insightful commentary.

But I would pose another philosophical question as well: Is it in the national interest to have a bipartisan foreign policy with wiggle room, as we did during the Cold War, regardless of our disagreements on domestic agendas? And if it is, how do we go about achieving it?

Lets take an example. Mike and proud oppose B-H because they see it as defeatist, while some here have opposed it from the other side, seeing an unending commitment of the USA to an entangling foreign involvement, including military resources, in the Near East. Is it possible that as in dispute resolution between factions that must continue to live and work together, that it is more important to reach a consensus that satisfies no one completely and everyone a little so that we can have a united front to the world?

I do not care if we argue taxation until we are all blue in the face, but I really think foreign policy should not change its broad outlines every four years, if at all possible.

I'll look in again tonight. Thanks for your patience.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | July 25, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I guess prior to Normandy we could have just told western Europe that we've had enough, they can take care of themselves.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm just curious. I don't suppoort a complete withdrawal, but when someone calls a withdrawal advocate a "white flag waver", I wonder if they can explain just who we would be surrending to? If we are saying "look, we've had enough, figure it out yourselves" to the Iraquis and focus our efforts on smoking out terrorists around the world, just what would we be giving up?

Makes me wonder who really doesn't know what's going on.

Posted by: John D in Houston | July 25, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I resent people like you using the term "redeployment". It's a misuse of the word, and its deceitful.

Just say what you mean - retreat/withdrawal/defeat.

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Mike writes
"it's interesting that the defeatists who immediately want to retreat, when faced with the possibility that things might actually be worse, quickly change their tune."

The problem, of course, is that it is entirely unclear what each potential course of action will cause. According to our own intelligence experts, much of the violence in Iraq is perpetrated by Iraqis who want our troops out - so they plant booby traps for our troops. It is likely that with a redeployment, this kind of violence will stop. That doesn't necessarily mean that just quitting & leaving is the best idea, but it also implies that staying the course isn't such a great idea either. Perhaps our best course would be to try something new - perhaps engage with regional players who may have more credibility with the locals than we do.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

What about health care, what about social security? If you are getting to the point of "is this just another way for the politicians to draw the focus away from more important issues?" I totally agree with you.

Posted by: Germantown | July 25, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

beware of slicing & dicing into statistically meaningless sample sizes. If I recall correctly, the poll asked around 1100 people questions, if 29% of those want immediate withdrawl, we're talking about 330 people, give or take. To then split that further into age groups, or merely gender, and try to extrapolate meaningful conclusions about the population as a whole is statistically invalid. Perhaps the explanation for the lack of statistical difference between liberals and moderates lies in the math, not in the positions those groups hold.

Posted by: bsimon | July 25, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I think it's interesting that the defeatists who immediately want to retreat, when faced with the possibility that things might actually be worse, quickly change their tune.

Just more evidence that most of you white-flag-wavers can't see past your nose and don't truly understand the challenges we face.

http://conservativestandards.blogspot.com

Posted by: Mike | July 25, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

If voter preferences are so diffuse, maybe it isn't true that Iraq is THE issue in the race.

What about immigration? What about education?

Posted by: Golgi | July 25, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

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