American Idle

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Tax guy, host & producer of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, former co-host of the Wall Street Journal E-Report

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Boooo Democratic candidates...

...hoooray beer!

16 Comments:

Anonymous Darren R. Sussman said...

Listen, now....your party had a chance to screw everything up and they did a fine job. Give someone else a turn. :)

11/08/2006 9:20 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

All I have to say is they better not 1. raise my taxes even more than they are now and 2. try to yank our troops out of Iraq prematurely and make the situation worse.

Or else.

Actually, I really have no legitimate threat other than to continue to vote republican and shake my fist at the 17" box on my desk that houses the internet.

Honestly, I can't wait to see them unveil whatever vague plans they had. Hopefully there's more substance there than just the anti-Bush rhetoric they got elected on. They've got two years now to show their hand...they can't use the anti-Bush platform in '08. They took their potshots, now let's see if they can do better.

11/08/2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger M-D said...

Make the situation WORSE? Is that even POSSIBLE??

11/08/2006 11:32 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Well, yeah, Carrot Top could be performing there on a nightly basis.

Seriously though, there's a difference between limited chaos and outright anarchy. There's a goverment in place right now and things are slowly improving in the country. Unlike other wars in the past where the other side just gave up, the Saddam regime bolted, leaving the government needing to be rebuilt from scratch.

The whole endeavor is going to take time. The infrastructure is fragile and if we abandon it now it could collpase. We're trying to grow democracy in an area run by monarchies and theocracies that fund terrorism. If we see this through to the end, Iraq could be the penicillin to the Middle East. If not, we could have just wasted the last three years.

And, if you think about it, three years is a pretty short amount of time to conquer a country and then try to rebuild it from within. I think we live in such an immediate-gratification society that people don't really understand what it's like to be in a long struggle for anything. Unlike our grandparents who had to go through WWI, WWII and the great depression, the recent generations haven't really had to struggle through anything. And the last major conflict we had was Vietnam, in which we actually had an advantage until it lost popularity due to overoptimistic military claims and negative media coverage in the states. As a result, we abandoned the South Vietnamese government which was quickly overrun by the North.

I fear that if the Democrats don't learn from recent history, Iraq will end as another Vietnam...there are already a lot of similarities now. The terrorist leaders sense this and they anticipate that the American public doesn't have the guts to see it through to the end. They may be right.

So the Democrats have two choices: redouble the efforts in Iraq and see this through to fruition or to panic and quit, repeating history. I just hope it's not the latter.

11/09/2006 8:35 AM  
Blogger M-D said...

See, here's my issue with the war: Bush stated that we were invading to unseat Saddam and find the WMDs. Well, we unseated Saddam - and now he's been sentenced to death. As for the other thing...well, not so much. But for the large part, we've accomplished what we intended to do in Iraq.

So why are we still there? If I had to hazard a guess, it's to set up a western-style democracy and ensure that the new government didn't become a religious autocracy, falling right in line with Iran, Syria, etc. Problem is, you've got two sides of the same religion who hate each other, and the only thing they can AGREE on is that they hate the US more than they hate each other. It's been argued that the only thing that was holding back a civil war in Iraq for all these years was Saddam and his iron fist approach to governing.

Where does that leave us? Well, the international community at large sees us as fighting an unwinnable war in unfriendly territory. Within Iraq, we're seen as invaders (not 'liberators', sorry Cheney) trying to imprint our way of life on their country. And domestically, the people are asking ANYONE in the government for a straight answer as to why in the blue hell we're still over there.

We're doing the same thing in Iraq as we did in Afghanistan, and we're losing control of the situation there - if we 'stay the course' in Iraq, who's to say history won't repeat itself? I'm not suggesting we 'cut and run', or make with the helicopter evacuations a la Saigon, but there has to be a happy medium. Bring in the UN, turn control over to another country's military, something. I don't know.

The fact of the matter is this: The president is still the CiC of the military. The legislature can't take direct control of our troops, only pass measures condemning the president's actions or pulling funding for the military - and they won't pull funding, because that'll look HORRIBLE to all of the conservatives who crossed party lines and voted Dem in this year's election. (Politicians - especially those in the House - are eternally campaigning, after all.) In the end, the administration, the legislative branch, and the international community are going to have to put some kind of compromise plan together to resolve Iraq, or we WILL end up with a repeat of Vietnam.

Of course, that's just my opinion - I could be wrong. =)

11/09/2006 1:42 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Unfortunately, we'll probably never get a clear answer from the president as to why we're over there. But the reason for that isn't as devious as it may seem, it's simply that whenever the president speaks, he speaks to the whole world, not just the US. He can't just gather all the Americans into one big room (and that would be one hell of a big room) and have a private conversation with us telling us why we're there.

So we have to do our best at translating what he says and what our actions are. WMDs were just one piece. And it was a justifiable piece too...given the cat & mouse game Saddam played with the U.N. for a decade leading up this war, everyone else thought they were there too, so it wasn't just one big lie by the president as some people on the far left might think.

But Iraq is a major strategic location in the Middle East. A *critically* strategic location. In the past, all we've had as an ally was Israel who's basically hated by everyone in the Middle East. With Iraq, we can sow democracy as well as have an ally who can, yes, not only produce oil, but also allow us extensions to our military bases right in the heart of the Middle East. Yes, Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, but creating a U.S.-friendly democracy in the Middle East could begin the downfall of rampant Islamist extremists. Being able to attack the cause at the heart is probably more vital than going from hostile country to hostile country and to try to catch bin Laden (which, by the way, they're still trying to do anyway).

These are things that Bush can't be 100% straightforward about when he speaks.

But, if you think about it, invading Iraq was inevitable. If we kept our focus solely on bin Laden and kept trying to press Pakistan (or Syria, or Iran, etc.) to give him up, Iraq would still be a question mark. During all this, Saddam would continue to be his same boistrous self, no doubt taunting the U.S. during their efforts.

In fact, if the search for OBL continued to be fruitless, in an ironic twist, the media would probably be *clamoring* for the military to be doing something about Iraq. After all, we would have just conquered the Taliban with little to no effort, searches in Pakistan came up empty with little to no help from the locals (who, by the way, despise us now) and forget about Syria, Iraq or Iran who won't even let us into their countries for a little look around. Who else better to target than the loud guy who gave us so many problems 15 years ago and is still surrounded by a shroud of mystery? What exactly *is* he hiding in that country?

And as for the U.N.? Please. All they can do is draft resolutions that take an act of God to actually enforce. "We're warning you! We're warning you again! Okay we're really serious this time! Okay, now we're going to do something! Who wants to help? No one? Okay, now what? Alright, we're really, *really* serious this time!"

11/09/2006 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Darren R. Sussman said...

I think you both have valid points. I think the ultimate issue here is that people need to stop being leftist or rightist or Democrat or Republican. We need moderate, sensible, middle of the road thinking that has less to do with political motiviation than it does with real problem solving. I realize there are no easy answers to the problems we're facing in Iraq, but I don't know that I've heard any real solutions or even ideas, yet. I've heard a lot of rhetoric about how we're doing such a great job and how freedom is on the march, but not much more than that. And I realize that the president (or anyone else) can't just come right out and say, "Here's our plan!" But don't feed us a load of crap, either. Just be honest with us. And when I say be honest, I don't mean be patronizing, which, and don't even try to do deny this, this president has a big tendency to do. We're not idiots. We don't expect you to give us the location of the next troop strike. Just give us more than a symbolic landing on an aircraft carrier and a speech in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

11/10/2006 12:04 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Know what's funny? I've always thought that George Bush's personality and frank speaking style worked against him. He's not a slick, polished politician like Bill Clinton. If he was, I wonder if there would be the same level of animosity against him that there currently is. Even I'll admit that even when Bush is being frank about issues, he still emits a certain level of untrustworthiness. And, yes, his presentations often make him look dumb, although he certainly isn't. You put a Bill Clinton in there delivering that speech and I think the rough spots disappear.

And that really is a sad statement against the general public. As a whole, people (and again, I'm talking generally here, not to your last comment) would rather be fed an ambiguous line of hooey than to be told the truth. And if that person oozes with charisma, they can say just about whatever they want.

11/10/2006 1:14 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Hey, check it out, the NY Times agrees with me! They must have been following this discussion closely. LOL

11/13/2006 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Darren R. Sussman said...

I agree completely with that editorial. I think that was the point of my first comment. We don't know that the Democrats are going to do a better job, but we know that the Republicans (or at least the people who have been running things up until now) have done a bad one, so it's time to give someone else a chance and see what they can do.

11/14/2006 7:00 AM  
Blogger jimbuff said...

Hey Dobbie which of your heroes has made the worst decisions: George W. or Art Shell.
In 2 years times it might be Shell for president!
Couldn't be any worse.... could he?

11/14/2006 1:46 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Awwwww, now I'm getting bashed from the remote outposts of Canada. :)

Well, since Dubya didn't hire Tom Walsh as offensive coordinator, I'd have to say Art Shell.

11/14/2006 2:01 PM  
Blogger jimbuff said...

Ha! Good One!

11/14/2006 2:43 PM  
Blogger M-D said...

Don't you mean "Good one, eh!"?

11/14/2006 11:16 PM  
Blogger jimbuff said...

m-d,
As you say in The U,S and A: y'all right I did forget the eh. Didn't want to confuse Tom with the Canadian language.

11/15/2006 8:23 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Well hell M-D, as long as we're reinforcing nationalistic stereotypes, you might as well do the guns a' blazin' cowboy impersonation. You know. In...uh...blog format.

11/15/2006 8:59 AM  

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