Move Chuck Hagel From Obama “Team B” to “Team A”

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hagel twn clemons dc.jpgThis next week on Wednesday, 8 September at the New America Foundation a group of academics, business leaders, journalists, and other policy practitioners — organized as ‘The Afghanistan Study Group’ will formally release this new report titled “New Way Forward: Rethinking U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan.” The report can be downloaded here.
The Afghanistan Study Group is our effort at a Team B approach to thinking through an alternative policy strategy for Afghanistan given the problems undermining America’s current course.
But after reading the following article in the Washington Diplomat by Michael Coleman, it’s clear that former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel — now co-chair with former Senator David Boren of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board — makes a darn good “Team B” package all on his own, particularly when it comes to no-nonsense thinking about the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
Read the entire interview but this is the most potent section on wars which Hagel thinks have been major strategic errors and which, in the case of Afghanistan, he thinks we need to unwind:

“I think we’re in a mess in Afghanistan and I think we’re in a mess in Iraq,” said Hagel, who voted in support of the war in Iraq based on the intelligence assessments and later admitted he regretted his vote. “Our military has been more valiant and done a better job than we could have ever hoped. But we have put the military in an impossible situation.”
Hagel flatly rejects the notion — now conventional wisdom among many Americans — that the war in Iraq has been a success. “Did you see today’s paper?” he asked, holding up a front-page story in the Washington Post that described vast swaths of the country as being plagued by electricity outages.
“Look at the facts: No government, less electricity and people want us out,” Hagel pointed out. “Anyway you measure Iraq today I think you’re pretty hard pressed to find how people are better off than they were before we invaded. I think history is going to be very harsh in its judgment — very, very harsh. And I think we’re headed for a similar outcome in Afghanistan if we don’t do some things differently.”
He stands by his assessment, outlined in his 2008 book “America: Our Next Chapter,” that the invasion of Iraq is the worst American foreign policy blunder since Vietnam, and one of the five worst in U.S. history.
Hagel said the United States “made a terrible mistake taking our eye of the ball in Afghanistan when we invaded Iraq.” Now, he argues that the United States is doing in Afghanistan exactly what George W. Bush famously warned against during his 2000 presidential campaign: nation building.
“We are where we are today — going into our 10th year in Afghanistan, our longest war — because we did take our eye of the ball,” he said. “It’s becoming clearer and clearer. We really made some big mistakes during that time. I have never believed you can go into any country and nation build, and unfortunately I think that’s what we’ve gotten ourselves bogged down in.
“You can dance around that issue any way you like, but the fact is that there are billions and billions of dollars we’ve spent and are still spending, over 100,000 troops, and all the assistance we’ve got going in there,” Hagel continued. “It’s nation building. We should not nation build. It will always end in disaster.”
He argues that the original aim of defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan — a group that the United States essentially “invented” during the Soviet-Afghan conflict in the 1970s — has morphed into something more complex. The U.S. is now building roads and schools, working to establish an Afghan government, and trying to negotiate peace among political factions that have been warring for centuries.
“We became completely disoriented from our original focus,” Hagel charged. “That problem in Afghanistan isn’t going to be solved with 100,000 American troops.”
It’s no surprise then that the former Senator believes it’s time for the United States to aggressively “unwind” in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is the kind of thinking that Obama needs to hear more often — whether it is Team B or in Cabinet meetings or through National Security Council advisers.
It may be time for President Obama to make Chuck Hagel part of Team A.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

112 comments on “Move Chuck Hagel From Obama “Team B” to “Team A”

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Let’s say you had a choice between Hillary and Hagel….between Hillary’s foreign policy and Hagel’s foreign policy…which would you chose?”
    I wouldn’t bother. That isn’t a true choice.
    You had a choice between McCain and Obama. Tell me how the foreign policies of this sack of shit that won differs from the probable foreign policies of the sack of shit that lost. Iran??? Iraq??? Afghanistan??? Isreal?
    You really expect Hagel to be any different? If he was going to be any different, do you really think these criminal bastards running the show would be putting his name forward?
    Like I said, you’re dreaming. Hagel has already shown us what he is made of. And it ain’t much.

    Reply

  2. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Carroll..Secretary of Defense is appointed, not elected, so why not appoint someone who got it right from the git-go? Don’t ask, don’t tell. We won’t like the answer.
    Instead of choosing the best of the best, we always get to choose the lesser of evils.
    Great system…best in the world, our flag lapel pin wearing citizens tell us.

    Reply

  3. Carroll says:

    POA
    Kucinich and Ron Paul wouldn’t ever be elected..they should be electable but they aren’t.
    Let’s say you had a choice between Hillary and Hagel….between Hillary’s foreign policy and Hagel’s foreign policy…which would you chose?
    Forget that you or I or others might not want either one, which one would you not want to see the public elect?

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    No thanks. You miss being logical on this one, Carroll. Why would you trust someone who is a KNOWN liar and criminal to act with conviction once placed in a position of power? Hasn’t he already shown you he will abuse such a position?
    If his stance on illegal wars, Israel, and middle east policy in general are the criteria that you judge suitability for this position, why not advocate for someone that has proven to be honest with long term and unwavering adherance to the positions you respect? Kucinich and Ron Paul come to mind.
    Hagel simply cannot be trusted. He has shown us that. There ARE politicians that CAN be trusted to be EXACTLY what they claim to be. Why should we settle for less? And what greater crime can a politician commit than to subvert the security of the electoral process, and rob us of our ability to trust in this process??? Hagel gets a HUGE thumbs down.
    When you see an insider like Clemons advocate for someone, (such as Hagel) because of his alleged stances on foreign policy, while IGNORING those that have held the same stances for far longer, and with far more conviction and vocal and actual activism, you should think twice. There is a reason that the TRUE opponents of our middle eastern policies are marginalized, demonized, and ignored.
    Now that you’ve seen what this sack of shit Obama is REALLY made of, don’t you find ANY appointment he may make as being suspect? Do you REALLY think this cowardly posturing piece of shit would put in a Secretary of Defense that may rock the boat or shift the staus quo??? You’re dreamin’.

    Reply

  5. Carroll says:

    Good enough for me. Hagel for President.
    You can squabble over his domestic issues once we have taken America back from the zionist.
    Hagel’s Pentagon bid draws frosty reception
    By Adam Kredo
    Published: Friday, September 10, 2010 1:10 AM EDT
    WASHINGTON (Washington Jewish Week)
    – Former Republican senator Chuck Hagel raised many Jewish eyebrows in 2007 when he informed an Arab-American crowd that his support for Israel is not “automatic.”
    Many of those same eyebrows were lifted again in recent weeks after several reports indicated that Hagel, who has taken heat over the years from Jewish groups for his statements about Israel and the Middle East, is on the short list to replace Secretary of Defense Robert Gates when he steps down from the post next year.
    Hagel, widely seen as jockeying for an administration job, reportedly is being touted by U.S. National Security Advisor Jim Jones, who is said to believe that the former Nebraska senator and Vietnam veteran could serve as a prominent Republican defender for the administration, according to a report by Politico.
    Hagel, who endorsed then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008, has been a critic of the Iraq war. He also called for a winding-down of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and for direct talks with Hamas and Iran. During his time in the Senate, he refused to sign several congressional statements backing Israel.
    The possibility of his selection has some pro-Israel organizations and activists worried.
    “Hagel would be in a position to reinforce the worst aspects of the administration’s current Middle East policies, which would be very dangerous for Israel,” said Morris Amitay, a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and treasurer of the Washington PAC, a pro-Israel political action committee.
    Shoshana Bryen, senior director for security policy at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, said Hagel is attractive to the administration for several reasons: He “shares the president’s belief that Iraq was a bad war,” aims to cut the defense budget and seeks closer relations with the Arab world.
    What do these views mean for Israel?
    “A slowdown in things Israel needs or wants,” such as military equipment, Bryen said.
    Last month, Hagel publicly threw his support behind embattled Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. Joe Sestack, whose race for a Senate seat has transformed into a proxy war between liberal and conservative pro-Israel outfits.
    Yet even liberal Jewish groups such as J Street and the National Jewish Democratic Council have balked at coming to Hagel

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “How easily some on TWN have overlooked!”
    Not “overlooked”.
    Ignored.
    Everytime Hagel’s name has come up here on this blog I have pointed out that he’s just another scumsucking political piece of shit that has escaped accountability for actions that were at the very least unethical, and very probably illegal.
    Apparently, it just doesn’t matter to many people that post here. The attitude seems to be “Ho hum, they all do it”. Its the very attitude that has brought us to this juncture in our history, where we now see ourselves throwing out the very essence of what we claim to be. Even crimes that result in hundreds of thousands of deaths, and cost trillions of dollars, are going unpunished.
    Hagel is actually just a small time crook compared to some of these sacks of shit in DC.

    Reply

  7. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Dennis….soooo right you are….the handful of Senators and Congressman who got it right from the git-go should be advisors now.

    Reply

  8. Dennis says:

    September 8, 2010
    Mr. Clemons;
    Time and again I and other Americans get tired of any Congressional politician who voted for this nation to attack Iraq saying he or she cast their war vote on the best information possible.
    While over half of all Americans could easily see that the entire Iraq operation was nothing but a cooked up bunch of mess, we simply will not now buy that members of Congress “voted on the best information possible”, including Senator Hagel.
    And it would be appreciated if you would stop running interference for him and all other Congressional persons who make that same claim.
    Sincrely,
    Dennis A. Rice
    250 Millstone Circle
    Athens, Georgia 30605

    Reply

  9. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Sand…speaking and wriitng books on controversial issues is very informative…a way to educate the voting public…this is more than can be said for the plethora of party hacks who get nominated and regulary regurgitate the same old tired sound bytes.
    You sound like you think Nader just didn’t want to organize or mobilize…not true(I have a Nader sign in my garage)…Americans, for all our affluence, are not that great about voting, much less working on campaigns…and when we do, we are so conditioned to vote only D’s & R’s it’s really a challenge to get someone to break that Pavlavian conditioning….boots on the ground are more visible in a small geogrpahic area, like one state, than one a national level…you don’t seem to take into account the way the MSM treats him and the significance of being excluded from the debates…
    Progressives’ problem, in my opinion, is their devotion to the two party system…we are always taken for granted by the pols running the DNC.. they know most won’t bolt, like the abused wife, we stick around for more of the same crap and shallow esxcuses.
    Nader is living proof that the most qualified, most ehtical candidate doesn’t stand a chance…only big schmooozers need apply.

    Reply

  10. WigWag says:

    Jeffrey Goldberg’s exclusive interview with Fidel that Paul alludes to can be found here,
    http://www.theatlantic.com/jeffrey-goldberg/
    It would appear that with his recent Iran piece and now this interview with Fidel that Goldberg is the hottest reporter in Washington, D.C.

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    Commonist, eh? Thought he was a terrist conspiring with those
    sandniggers, but what the hell do I know? A commie, you say?
    Well, if one of them commonists from the jungle in Nam are
    warning against this anti-Semitism thing and this nuke stuff,
    than I sure as hell am for it.

    Reply

  12. DonS says:

    “Speaking of good news – quoted from the BBC:”
    This can’t be good news Paul. Castro’s a commonist, doncha know. Ergo he must be wrong in all things, whether it’s invading Iraq or anti-Semitism. Get with the program.

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    Speaking of good news – quoted from the BBC:
    “Cuba’s Fidel Castro criticises Iran over anti-Semitism
    8 September 2010 Last updated at 09:59 GMT
    Fidel Castro has criticised Iranian President Mahmoud
    Ahmadinejad for what he called his anti-Semitic attitudes.
    The former Cuban leader also warned that an escalating
    conflict between Iran and the West could lead to nuclear war.
    (…)
    Mr Castro was speaking to Jeffrey Goldberg, a journalist with
    The Atlantic magazine based in Washington, DC, whom he
    personally invited to Cuba.
    (…)
    Mr Castro’s “body may be frail, but his mind is acute, his
    energy level is high”, wrote Goldberg on his blog on The
    Atlantic website.
    Over the course of a five-hour discussion, Mr Castro
    “repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism”, and
    criticised Mr Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust.
    “The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than
    ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust,” the
    former president said.
    Mr Castro said that Iran could further the cause of peace by
    “acknowledging the ‘unique’ history of anti-Semitism and trying
    to understand why Israelis fear for their existence”, Mr
    Goldberg wrote.
    Mr Castro told Mr Goldberg that he understood Iranian fears of
    Israeli-American aggression and that he did not believe that
    sanctions and threat would dissuade Iran from pursuing
    nuclear weapons.
    “The Iranian capacity to inflict damage is not appreciated,” Mr
    Castro said. “Men think they can control themselves but [US
    President Barack] Obama could overreact and a gradual
    escalation could become a nuclear war.”
    (…)
    Mr Goldberg then questioned Mr Castro about his stance
    during the Missile Crisis of 1962, asking if he stood by his
    recommendation that the Soviets bomb the US.
    “After I’ve seen what I’ve seen, and knowing what I know now,
    it wasn’t worth it all,” he said.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11226158

    Reply

  14. Paul Norheim says:

    Thanks, Questions, and yes, that’s precisely what I was hoping
    for. Now we’ll wait and see…
    Jones has said that he’ll pray to his Buddy in Heaven for advice
    before making the final decision. Here is hoping that he
    suddenly hears some sort of weak, mysterious rumble from
    deep within his soul (or stomach) during the prayer; and
    interprets this weird noise as Jesus Christ trying to tell him:
    “Hey Terry, listen to what Bill said. He’s right, my brother. Don’t
    burn the Koran!”
    A lot of lives may depend on that mysterious rumble, so let’s
    hope that Jones’ wife prepares a healthy portion of beans for
    dinner before the prayer.
    ———————————————-
    “TUESDAY, SEP 7, 2010 11:14 ET
    Fringe 9/11 church pastor opposes even fringier Quran-
    burning pastor
    Bill Keller draws a line on the Muslim-hating, says of Terry
    Jones’ plan, “This stunt is just stupid”
    BY JUSTIN ELLIOTT
    AP
    Extremist Pastor Bill Keller, the man behind the anti-Muslim
    9/11 Christian Center at ground zero, is now joining the ranks
    of Gen. David Petraeus and others who are speaking out
    against Florida pastor Terry Jones’ plan to burn copies of the
    Quran on Sept. 11.
    Keller, who opened his 9/11 Christian Center on Sunday with a
    sermon denouncing Islam as a “1,400-year-old lie,” told Salon
    today that he likely agrees with Jones on most theological
    matters, including on the question of Islam.
    But, Keller said, “this stunt is just stupid.” He added that there
    is “no biblical support for such a thing” and “it does nothing to
    advance the Gospel in any way.”
    Keller, who, like Jones, is based in Florida, says he does not
    know Jones.” (from Salon)

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    Hey Paul, from your electrons to the ears of Bill Keller, Nutwing Extraordinaire, or so I suspect.
    He’s denouncing this vast anti-Islam thing — the church affiliated with the burningdude has about 50 members. So I guess it’s a little bigger than that of the Phelps family…..
    I so hope this shit burns itself out soon. It’s all so silly and so little is at stake.
    The nutty right needs to be recognized for its nuttiness in very public acts of discussion.
    Where are you, O Republicans with half a brain at least?

    Reply

  16. Paul Norheim says:

    “There is a civil war within Islam between radicals and
    moderates.”
    And between different sects, to a certain extent even
    branches of Islam, moderate or not, analogous to the
    religious wars in Europe centuries ago.
    Have I written about this at TWN? Probably not. But there
    are a lot of important and very interesting contemporary
    issues that I have not yet commented on, and perhaps
    never will.
    But it is unacceptable when you draw far reaching
    conclusions based on what I have not yet commented on. I
    have no reason whatsoever to deny the fact that there are
    huge conflicts within Islam, and that these often have been
    expressed in massacres, terrorism, ethnic cleansing -
    notably in the last decade.
    Why would I have any interest in denying that?
    You make a lot of assumptions based on what I write,
    Nadine, and whenever I have said nothing about a subject,
    you fill in the vacuum with your own imagination and
    simply make up things.
    “…and treat the radicals as authentic representatives of
    their ‘culture…’
    Patently false. I have no inclination to treat any movement
    as more “authentic” than others. Dan Kervick and I refuted
    this last time you threw out these false accusations, but
    you still go on polluting the air with lies and distortions.
    So tell me, Nadine, once and for all: Why do you insist that
    the Palestinians have to speak Hebrew or Yiddish in the
    direct talks?
    Have you written about Maoism in Nepal at TWN? Why not?
    Because you and your teabagger friends support and
    finance them, subconsciously, and functionally.
    Do you realize what kind of absurdities your ridiculous
    method will lead to if it was in common use here among
    opponents?
    So please stop this crap.

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    Paul, I know what you are trying to do. But you are exhibiting the fact that you are clueless about the distinction between a global Islamist movement with millions of supporters and one crackpot preacher with a congregation of 50 who is out for attention.
    There is a civil war within Islam between radicals and moderates. Every time you ignore that and treat the radicals as authentic representatives of their ‘culture,’ every time you side with fake moderate imams who are trying to insinuate Sharia law into Western courts and legitimize Hizbullah and Hamas, you functionally take the radical side of that civil war, leaving the moderates twisting in the wind.

    Reply

  18. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine, you have called Jones a “moderate” who must be
    “engaged” in the Tea Party since the day you started commenting
    here. Subconsciously. And functionally. You are in bed with him.
    (Relax, Nadine. I’m just giving you a taste of your own medicine.
    Lazy, intellectually dishonest accusations and distortion of your
    opponents’ opinions and world view.)

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    Jones’s Dove Outreach Church has only 50 members and he holds his services in a used furniture store.
    There’s a letter over at Juan Cole’s site from town residents who says Jones is a nutcase and an embarrassment and is just looking for media attention….probably to attract more retards.

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The right-wing talkers do not support Koran burning”
    Why waste your time on burning Korans when you can fry the actual ragheads in white phospho, eh, Nadine????
    Funny how you fuckin’ bigots will admit burning Korans is bad policy, but you’ve got all the justifications in the world when its human flesh you’re melting.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Hell, if WigWag is in regular touch with the Dove World Outreach Center on behalf of AIPAC, perhaps even she may be convinced that this is a dumb idea, and make a phone call?”
    By he/she/it’s own admission, “she” is now a “he”. I wonder what else she has told us about her/him/it/self that is a bald faced lie?

    Reply

  22. nadine says:

    “Yes you do, Nadine. You and everybody on the right support this
    nut, even finance his church, subconsciously!”
    Really? When I did I call him a “moderate” who must be “engaged”? like you-know-you calls Hamas.

    Reply

  23. nadine says:

    “There were “communists” at the anti-Iraq rallies? I mean real live communists. Who knew? I thought they were all in museums. Unless I was miscounted as a communist, God forbid.”
    Um, DonS, the anti-Iraq rallies were organized by International ANSWER, which is a front group (shared leaders, eg Larry Holmes, Brian Becker) for the World Workers Party, a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist group. Not only communists but old-fashioned Stalinist communists.
    Naturally, the MSM gave the connection the same intense scrutiny they later accorded to Barack Obama’s years of work on foundation boards with Bill Ayers.

    Reply

  24. DonS says:

    But, but, ‘Sean Hannity just called it “an unneccesary provocation” which might endanger our soldiers.”‘ How much more condemnatory could one be? I mean the man just said straight out it’s “an unnecessary provocation”. Whew, strong words. Let’s see now, exactly what words has he use to condemn the plan to build a Islamic Cultural Center in NY. Nevermind. You already know.
    There were “communists” at the anti-Iraq rallies? I mean real live communists. Who knew? I thought they were all in museums. Unless I was miscounted as a communist, God forbid.

    Reply

  25. Paul Norheim says:

    “Why should I admit it when it’s not true? Nobody is supporting
    this nut on the right!”
    Yes you do, Nadine. You and everybody on the right support this
    nut, even finance his church, subconsciously!

    Reply

  26. nadine says:

    “But you have to admit, Nadine, that you and the teabaggers add
    fuel to the fire by supporting the nutty preacher?” (Paul Norheim)
    Why should I admit it when it’s not true? Nobody is supporting this nut on the right! He’s getting attention from the liberal media whose only hope is painting the Tea Party (supported by 25% of America) as extreme. The same way they pan up and down in any Tea Party rally, looking for that one extreme anti-Obama sign.
    Just as, conversely, during the anti-Iraq War rallies, they ignored the communists and pro-jihadis on the platform to concentrate on the sweet young couples with babies.
    The liberal media is in the business of “doing good” by making news, not reporting what they see, and they are growing desperate as the Democrats’ fortunes decline.
    The right-wing talkers do not support Koran burning. Sean Hannity just called it “an unneccesary provocation” which might endanger our soldiers.

    Reply

  27. Sand says:

    Oh shit you know what this ‘might’ mean:-
    –Mayor Daley Announcement: Not Seeking Another Term
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/07/mayor-daley-announcement-_n_707742.html
    Can’t we just stick ‘you-know-who’ on an ice-float.

    Reply

  28. Sand says:

    Posted by Kathleen Grasso Andersen, Sep 07 2010, 10:18AM – Link
    KATHLEEN: “Sand…wrong…Nader does travel in between elections, but MSM only covers him, minimally, during elections…he also does research and advocacy for issues, like single payer…he is not a spoiler…he is the only one expressing the left’s positions….building another party is imitating a failed system…parties are the problem, with their watered down bullshit and lack of substantive thinking and arguements…”
    – Traveling on the ‘speaking circuit’ — doing ‘book tours’, doing ‘tributes’… but these won’t create change.
    KATHLEEN: “…Comparing Nader to some local person is hardly analogous…Nader has brought about significant change for the public welfare, even though he didn’t win any elections…very few have accomplished as much for the public welfare…next time you buckle up, you can thank Nader…you seem to discount everything he has done because he didn’t do it while in office.
    – What I don’t see is any mobilization or organizing to try and actual ‘intervene’ in the political process to make change instead of preaching to the choir — organizing boots on the ground like the WA guy I was talking about –
    http://www.nader.org/
    – Is he gonna run again in 2012? Can’t see anything on his website, or is he again going pop up again in 2012 out nowhere ‘Nader for 2012′ — again preaching to the choir.
    KATHLEEN: “….Nader has brought about significant change for the public welfare, even though he didn’t win any elections…very few have accomplished as much for the public welfare…next time you buckle up, you can thank Nader…you seem to discount everything he has done because he didn’t do it while in office…”
    – I’ve never discounted what he’s done in the past? — when the political environment back then made it so much easier to make changes — It’s much harder today. Having two republican parties in a two party system doesn’t help — and the courts stacked to high heaven with conservative/corporate judges.
    KATHLEEN: “…I wish Nader would have run for the US Senate in CT….I think he could be a real force for good in the Senate. I’m so unhappy with Dick Blumenthal, I’m going to write in Nader for US Senate…”
    The progressive movement is so so screwed…

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    “They are the core problem, not the nutty preacher.”
    But you have to admit, Nadine, that you and the teabaggers add
    fuel to the fire by supporting the nutty preacher?

    Reply

  30. nadine says:

    Paul, if a huge swath of the Muslim world is prepared to do violence over a Youtube clip of one nutty Christian pastor, then maybe the nutty pastor isn’t the real problem — it’s the readiness of a huge swath of the Muslim world to do violence over any excuse.
    And who has taught them that such violence is acceptable and culturally authentic and works for their cause, hm? instead of reacting with outrage to their barbarism?
    They will always have some excuse on Youtube. Heck, if good excuses are lacking this week, any mediocre propagandist can make one up with a day’s worth of propaganda-making. It doesn’t have to be accurate to work. When there were riots over the Mohammed cartoons a couple of years back, half the cartoons that were inflaming the Muslim world had never been published, but were added by the imams who were whipping up the violence, since the real cartoons were relatively innocuous.
    Traditional Muslims shrug their shoulders over infidels not respecting Islam. It is the Islamists for whom it is grist for the mill. It’s stupid to hand them excuses but they will find their material regardless. They are the core problem, not the nutty preacher.

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    “Several hundred Afghans rallied outside a Kabul mosque,
    burning American flags and an effigy of Dove World’s pastor
    and chanting: “Death to America.” Members of the crowd briefly
    pelted a passing US military convoy with stones, but were
    ordered to stop by protest organisers.
    Two days earlier, thousands of Indonesian Muslims rallied
    outside the US embassy in Jakarta and in five other cities to
    protest against the church’s plans.
    “Images of the burning of a Qur’an would undoubtedly be used
    by extremists in Afghanistan, and around the world, to inflame
    public opinion and incite violence,” Petraeus said.” (The
    Guardian today)
    —————————
    So please explain, Mark: why on earth would you hand over to
    the extremists such a precious weapon as video clips of a
    burning of the Koran in a Christian church?

    Reply

  32. Paul Norheim says:

    Well Mark, judging from history, it seems that those who favor
    book burning have a tendency of being in favor of murder as
    well.
    And here you may as well apply some lessons from consequential
    ethics: burning a book at one place is likely to result in murder at
    another place – regardless of your intentions.
    To me the issue is quite simple:
    In the combat between civilization and barbary, writing a good
    book equates 1-0 to civilization, while burning one (even a bad
    one) equates 1-0 to barbary.

    Reply

  33. MarkL says:

    Questions,
    I’m all for reading the Koran aloud.
    And a discussion of the life of Mohammed is perfectly appropriate as well–preferably an illustrated life.
    How many people did the author of this “religion of peace” kill? And how many were killed in the next few decades to spread this “religion of peace”?
    As far as I am concerned, most ancient religious texts are little better than word salad, and no discussion of the meaning of a religion is complete without a discussion of the actions associated with it, done in its name.

    Reply

  34. MarkL says:

    Paul,
    Threats of burning books vs. threats of murder and terrorism. I have no problem deciding which is worse. Do you?

    Reply

  35. questions says:

    Ahh, but nut credibility is a losing proposition. There is such deep puritanism at this point that they turn on each other should one dare moderate even a tad bit.
    It’s really like watching middle schoolers fighting for social legitimacy. Show any weakness and you’re kicked out of the in-group. It’s a terrifying time of life as no one has any social recourse, any safe place to be. But inside the group is never really safe either so everyone spends his/her days trying to be more pure than thou.
    Of course, middle schoolers eventually reach high school and life and compassion often hit. And then there are lots of college apps and a whole future to take your mind off of your social misery. These nutwing splinter groups, though, have already reached adulthood and don’t seem to have a project in life to keep them occupied. So status games it is.
    Very fucked psyches, but the payoff for success is pretty damned high.
    What a thing we’ve built.

    Reply

  36. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions, I think the best thing to do in the days before 9.11
    would be to try to convince some religious or political leader with
    nut-crediblity among the nuts in the “Dove World Outreach
    Center” (what an ironic name for a bunch of Koran burners!) that
    this is a very bad idea, and then ask this fellow nut of Jones to
    phone him and talk him out of his folly.
    But to convince Jones and his followers, you really have to pick
    someone just as crazy as himself. Franklin Graham? Sarah Palin?
    Newt Gingrich?
    Hell, if WigWag is in regular touch with the Dove World Outreach
    Center on behalf of AIPAC, perhaps even she may be convinced
    that this is a dumb idea, and make a phone call?

    Reply

  37. Paul Norheim says:

    Apparently the FBI is worried too, adding another scenario to the
    list of possible developments that I gave in a post above:
    “19 August 2010
    (U//FOUO) Extremists Likely to Retaliate Against Florida Group

    Reply

  38. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Sand…wrong…Nader does travel inbetween elections, but MSM only covers him, minimally, during elections…he also does research and advocacy for issues, like single payer…he is not a spoiler…he is the only one expressing the left’s positions….building another party is imitating a failed system…parties are the problem, with their watered down bullshit and lack of substantive thinking and arguements.
    Comparing Nader to some local person is hardly analogous…Nader has brought about significant change for the public welfare, even though he didn’t win any elections…very few have accomplished as much for the public welfare…next time you buckle up, you can thank Nader…you seem to discount everything he has done because he didn’t do it while in office.
    I wish Nader would have run for the US Senate in CT….I think he could be a real force for good in the Senate. I’m so unhappy with Dick Blumenthal, I’m going to write in Nader for US Senate.

    Reply

  39. questions says:

    There could also be some kind of private counter protest in which the Koran is read out loud and discussed by theologians and poets.
    Remember, the best antidote to hate speech is more speech/love speech.
    Multi-culti readings and interpretations of texts, teach-ins, love-ins — encircling the idiots both spatially and temporally.
    So from 9/8-9/14 we should have read-a-thons in the vicinity of the minister’s book burning.
    And we should own up to our very own jerks and our very own intolerant American Taliban.

    Reply

  40. Paul Norheim says:

    I guess the damage may already be done. I googled the
    issue, and it’s all over the place, from Africa to India, from
    the Arab world to Indonesia.
    if this develops similarly to the patterns in the cartoon
    case in Denmark and Norway, this is approximately what’s
    going to happen:
    1) Extremists will arrange large anti-US demonstrations at
    embassies around the world.
    2) Ambassadors representing countries with a Muslim
    majority will send a formal complain to the White House.
    3) Agitators and Muslim governments will demand that
    Obama stop the book burning and punish the book
    burners.
    4) The White House as well as US ambassadors around the
    world will patiently explain that this is not how things
    work in a democracy – the government cannot interfere in
    what US citizens do, even when they may agree that
    burning books is not the wisest thing to do.
    5) There will be efforts to boycott all sorts of stuff made in
    the USA (many Danish manufacturers went almost
    bankrupt under the boycott).
    Due to the military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, etc.,,
    and the fact that burning the Koran is a much bigger
    insult than drawing cartoons, the effects of the book
    burning is likely to imply more serious reactions not seen
    in the case of the cartoons.
    Maybe all this will calm down, but it could also grow into
    something big and unpredictable. It’s not surprising that
    Gen. Petraeus is getting nervous.

    Reply

  41. DonS says:

    ACLUblog, via FDL (of course the ACLU is, like, communistic or something, so discounted by the righties and some lefties, because they advocate on behalf of the rights of minorities to, even, burn books!)
    “General Petraeus, generally thought by conservatives to have superhuman powers and be buddies with Jesus, has disappointed his fans by suggesting that the planned burning of Korans by American nuts may be bad for our troop . . .”
    Read it all:
    http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2010/09/conservatives-cry-general-betray-us.html

    Reply

  42. Paul Norheim says:

    We’ll see Don,
    but reading the recent posts by WigWag, Nadine, Kotz and
    others, I wouldn’t be the least surprised if the supported the
    book burners.

    Reply

  43. Paul Norheim says:

    And by the way, Mark, if you identify yourself with Western
    Civilization, wouldn’t it be a better idea to try to WRITE
    books, instead of BURNING them?

    Reply

  44. DonS says:

    Paul, this story about Koran burning, which I had already seen, is emblematic of the vast ignorance that exists among certain ‘factions’ in the US. The ignorance is painfully staggering actually. Not unique in the world but the sheer hubris and self satisfaction that goes along with these evangelical fringes is certainly out of line in a nation that calls itself ‘modern’. As we know, some here court the support of these evangelicals because of their rabid identification with myths about the ME. It’d be nice to here them roundly denounce this Koran burning plan as they are quick to excoriate every perceived shortfall of Islam.
    As for Petreaus, he’s just trying to quench the flames (although Gen. Boykin is probably applauding on the sidelines, and maybe even the countless Christianists staffing the Air Force Academy).

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gosh, imagine that, wackjobs bring out the wackjobs, just like wackjobbery begets wackjobbery. Who coulda imagined???
    And uh, where is the military “telling civilians what they can or cannot do”? I’m no fan of the military, but it seems to me they are simply commenting on the wisdom and constructiveness, or lack thereof, of what a civilian entity plans to do.
    What do you think of so called “Christians” burning Korans KNOWING that it undoubtedly incites violence against fellow Christians?
    Hmmm, I don’t seem to remember you being this incensed when Israel was burning Muslims. Perhaps simply burning the Koran doesn’t go far enough for you. I understand your local chapter of Americans For Mosque Burnings is looking for recruits. Perhaps Nadine will forward your application to the proper instigaters.

    Reply

  46. Paul Norheim says:

    Yeah, I guess you’re right, Mark: no one, and especially
    not a general, should interfere in the choices made by
    private US citizens – even when some of them plan to do
    one of the dumbest things imaginable.
    However, I wonder what other books will be burned by
    private US citizens in the future? There is a great tradition
    of book burning in Europe in the 20th century – notably,
    the Nazis burned an entire library of books they didn’t
    like; decades later some angry Muslims in the UK not only
    wanted to see “the damn book burned”; they also burned
    it, and the book in case was Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic
    verses”.
    Go ahead and burn the books, Mark, if you feel that way,
    and remember: you’ll be a part of a great and honorable
    tradition. I’m not in a position to interfere anyhow, while
    you guys do your best to transform the GWOT into an
    even more insane GRW – Global Religious War.
    Amazing.

    Reply

  47. MarkL says:

    Paul,
    The military is not helping by telling private citizens in the US what they can or cannot do.
    I’m not a fan of book burning; however, if someone plans to burn the Koran and Muslims threaten people’s lives over it, directly or indirectly, that makes me want to see the damn book burned.
    Religion of peace my ass.
    They’re ALL red with blood, but Islam in particular has no claim to call itself a religion of peace.

    Reply

  48. John says:

    What Rich fails to note is that it would have entirely
    eclipsed the
    Middle East peace initiative.

    Reply

  49. Paul Norheim says:

    Apparently neither the Afghans nor General Petraeus are
    particularly fond of the Muslim bashers in America. Here is
    from BBC today:
    “7 September 2010 Last updated at 08:34 GMT
    Petraeus: Koran burning plan will endanger US troops
    The top US commander in Afghanistan has warned that troops’
    lives will be in danger if an American church sticks to its plan
    to burn copies of the Koran.
    Gen David Petraeus said the action could cause problems “not
    just in Kabul, but everywhere in the world”.
    Pastor Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Centre, has said
    he will make a bonfire this week on the anniversary of the 11
    September 2001 attacks.
    Hundreds of Afghans have protested against the plan in the
    capital, Kabul.
    It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could
    cause significant problems

    Reply

  50. Dan Kervick says:

    “… where the US is establishing a “vibrant civil society.”
    That sounds like the thing POA said Hillary sat on.

    Reply

  51. nadine says:

    Don, you spoke of Obama as one of those “compromisers between other parties and factions which do have real positions on issues. ”
    What other parties did you mean, if not the Republicans? And was this not an accusing Obama of being a sell-out with no principles of his own who sold out to the Republican positions?
    This would certainly be news to the Republicans.

    Reply

  52. lexicographer says:

    You do realize that the acronnym/anagram of “it/he/she/whatever”, SHIW, is remarkably close to another relevant anagram. Might I suggest, in place of “whatever” . . . naah, nevermind. forget it.

    Reply

  53. Don Bacon says:

    The US claims that it has not committed taxpayer funds to save the Kabul bank.
    We

    Reply

  54. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BTW, where the hell is that Ms./Mr. Wiggie Whatever?
    I mean geepers, it can’t take all THAT long to do a simple self examination. Heck, give me five seconds at less than arms length, and I’d be able to tell it/he/she EXACTLY what it/he/she is.
    Of course, I’m gonna want a sheckel or two for my services. And uh, maybe more, depending on what I find.

    Reply

  55. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Hell, you could be our man in Afghanistan, reporting directly from the scene! Perhaps you could make a deal with Steve: Ben Katcher reporting from Istanbul; PissedOffAmerican reporting from Kabul?”
    I have a better idea. Lets give the position to Wig-wag.
    I’m sure that it/he/she/whatever would welcome the opportunity, because it/he/she/whatever could post from here/somewhere/anywhere/wherever and simply lie about actually being in Kabul, about what gender it/he/she/whatever is while lying about being in Kabul, and lie about what actually occurs while it/he/she/whatever is lying about being in Kabul from here/somewhere/anywhere/wherever.
    Its a job made in heaven for someone that is a he/she/it/whatever that reports from here/there/anywhere/somewhere/wherever about what didn’t really happen, isn’t really happening now, and undoubtedly won’t happen tommorrow.
    And uh, just curious, but I thought the taxes I pay go to Israel so they can saute sandniggers and ragheads in White Phosphorous and teach little Jewish teenypoppers the fine art of racial and ethnic hatred. Now you’re telling me that its actually going to supply the heathen anti-semites in Afghanistan with broadband so they can click on to Taliban supporting terrorist sympathizer websites like TWN???
    Geez, its getting impossible to keep up with this stuff. I can’t figure out what is more obscene, the daily dose of bullshit that passes for “news” these days, or internet porn. Eeny meeny, miney moe……
    And Paul, why would anyone need to go to Kabul to report on “countless assholes, midgets, snakes and monkeys”. Heck, DC is a hell of a lot closer, the food is better, the women speak english and don’t hide their faces, and its the Asshole Capital Of The World.

    Reply

  56. Don Bacon says:

    You’re being creative again, nadine.
    I made no comparison between Obama and Repubs and never wrote nor implied that anything Obama has done “would have been just the same under a Republican administration.”

    Reply

  57. nadine says:

    “Mediators and facilitators, which is how Obama has always seen himself, by definition are not “levelers”. They are compromisers between other parties and factions which do have real positions on issues.
    The “change” that Obama promised were not any changes in policy issues, and were certainly not any new approach to more honest and meaningful government policies, the “change” was simply an end to partisanship and a promise for compromises that would satisfy everyone.” (Don Bacon)
    So, you think the proposals for card check, cap and trade, financial reform and universal health care would have been just the same under a Republican administration? Interesting.
    No wonder Gibbs is frustrated with the “professional Left”.
    Just because a politician considers himself a mediator (I think you’re right about that) does not mean he is a successful mediator. Successful mediators understand the views they are mediating. Obama never understood or tried to mediate any view that was right of center; this is why all the legislative negotiations took place inside the Democratic caucus. Ignoring the existence of the right may have worked in Chicago, but is is deadly in DC.

    Reply

  58. Paul Norheim says:

    Brilliant idea, Don!
    POA, have you ever considered it?
    Becoming a millionaire by working as a skilled and
    experienced carpenter in the “reconstruction zones” in
    Afghanistan —- and gonzo-reporting directly back to
    The Washington Note, with excellent broadband
    connection, about the countless of assholes, midgets,
    snakes and monkeys within the “vibrant civil society” in
    and beyond Kabul?
    Hell, you could be our man in Afghanistan, reporting
    directly from the scene! Perhaps you could make a deal
    with Steve: Ben Katcher reporting from Istanbul;
    PissedOffAmerican reporting from Kabul?

    Reply

  59. Don Bacon says:

    If POA needs broadband he should consider moving to Afghanistan where the US is establishing a “vibrant civil society.” That’s where the smart money is.
    from their website:
    Advanced Technology Systems is the only American-based company serving Broadband Internet Afghanistan including all military camps, business development and reconstruction zones, remote locations, and other regions of the Middle East.

    Reply

  60. Paul Norheim says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Sep 06 2010, 10:25AM -
    Link
    “BTW, is it just me or are others finding this site very slow
    to load (perhaps due to flash content slowing things or
    …)?”
    Living rurally, with old equipment and dial-up connection,
    you would be astounded at how SLOOOOOOOOW this site
    loads, posting is a five minute ordeal, NOT COUNTING the
    actual composing of the post.”
    —————
    For what it’s worth, I can confirm this from Norway, after a
    long period with mobile broadband. I think it’s the videos.
    Currently, after moving to a place in the same
    neighborhood with good broadband connections, I have
    no problems loading the site or posting (except for the
    captcha).

    Reply

  61. Don Bacon says:

    “Obama should have leveled with the American people.” or, “Real beer should have no calories.”
    Mediators and facilitators, which is how Obama has always seen himself, by definition are not “levelers”. They are compromisers between other parties and factions which do have real positions on issues.
    The “change” that Obama promised were not any changes in policy issues, and were certainly not any new approach to more honest and meaningful government policies, the “change” was simply an end to partisanship and a promise for compromises that would satisfy everyone.
    It didn’t work. A president bent toward compromise is not a substitute for character and firm beliefs in the welfare of the American people.
    So here we are debating the qualities of a man (Hagel) who probably would be just another compromise. I do like his position on nation-building but I’m sure he’s have to ditch that for any hope at a government position.

    Reply

  62. Don Bacon says:

    “Which party is trusted more on national security issues” as a poll question is certainly a better than “Do you trust either party with national security”, but not much.
    The whole US fascination with “national security” is a giant red herring. Dreamed up in 1947 it endures in the USA, like in no other country, to sustain the outrageous spending on military and intelligence spending found in no other country. At a time when the USA is threatened by no other military force it lives on with the support of the politicians, corporations and communities who benefit financially from it.
    The fact that the resulting foreign entanglements and wars — why have a military force if you don’t use it — actually endanger US security with its ‘blowback’, like 9/11.

    Reply

  63. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Ah yes, the “success of the surge”. It is a convenient TRAP for the asshole Obama, who has fallen for it like a mouse seeking peanut butter.
    Now that the blithering posturing ass has assisted in the selling of this fraudulent “success”, it follows that he will be blamed for squandering it when the shit REALLY hits the fan in Iraq, which is inevitable, of course.
    Obama should have leveled with the American people, and publically dissected this surge, exposing it for the scam it has been all along. It is a right wing construct with no basis in reality, amounting to little more than large scale bribery, paying off an “insurgency” with huge amounts of taxpayer money. When the money dries up, so too does the “success”. We are already seeing it unfold. But the con-job has been so succesfully sold to the gullible masses that Obama will bear the brunt of the blame when Iraq implodes.
    So much for this empty suit’s “political savvy”. The real pity here, (besides the royal fucking we have given to the Iraqi people, destroying their infrastructure, killing hundreds of thousands of them, and exposing them to a probable future under Sharia law), is that this asshole Obama has opened the door and greased the skids for the neo-cons return to power. What should have been a restorational presidency has turned into a TOTAL FUCKIN’ DISASTER for progressives, the rule of law, and the Democratic Party. This guy is going to CRAWL out of the Oval Office, a one term embarrassment, setting the progressive movement back YEARS. In fact, it may never recover.

    Reply

  64. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “BTW, is it just me or are others finding this site very slow to load
    (perhaps due to flash content slowing things or …)?”
    Living rurally, with old equipment and dial-up connection, you would be astounded at how SLOOOOOOOOW this site loads, posting is a five minute ordeal, NOT COUNTING the actual composing of the post.

    Reply

  65. DonS says:

    How convincingly an anomaly is Hagel on Iraq? What about the supposed success of the so-called ‘surge’. I don’t see the question in the article and, I know, that’s ancient history. But it has become part of the fairy tale that is the conventional wisdom about Iraq. According to this link at FDL, it’s a misrepresentation that both dems and republicans — mostly sadly dems — seem more and more comfortable in adopting as part of ‘how we won the war’. The linked story highlights VP Biden’s drinking of the kool aid. And it draws out the implications for justifying use of military power in other Muslim countries.
    http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/69416
    So I know the question wasn’t specifically put to Hagel. But if it had been . . . ? Maybe someone could ask?

    Reply

  66. DonS says:

    Oh, the polls, the polls! Yeah, forgot the polls. By God, there’s the ticket. The polls!

    Reply

  67. nadine says:

    “Why do the Democrats have this fascination with Republicans as SOD? First with Clinton, now with Obama. What this means is that they’re tacitly agreeing with right wing talking points accusing them of not being trustworthy in matters of national defense, which is patently absurd”
    Is it? Evidently they themselves do not consider it absurd. Nor, if Gallup is to be believed, do the American people. Check out polls of which party is trusted more on national security issues.

    Reply

  68. downtown says:

    Why do the Democrats have this fascination with Republicans as SOD? First with Clinton, now with Obama. What this means is that they’re tacitly agreeing with right wing talking points accusing them of not being trustworthy in matters of national defense, which is patently absurd. Obama has time after time kowtowed to the Right while alienating his core supporters. When Bush/Cheney eked out that most narrow victory (if they won at all), they hit the ground running, singularly unconcerned about appeasing the other 50% of Americans.

    Reply

  69. davidt says:

    Dan,
    Love the analogy of Ben Nelson as Secretary of Labor. Gadzooks
    :).
    BTW, is it just me or are others finding this site very slow to load
    (perhaps due to flash content slowing things or …)? Curious.
    Heads up Steve (unless you’ve just targeted me for trouble with
    your site :)).

    Reply

  70. Dan Kervick says:

    Republicans hate Hagel’s foreign policy. Expecting Hagel to give the Obama administration Republican street cred on defense is like a Republican President appointing Ben Nelson as Secretary of Labor and expecting that to win plaudits from Democrats.

    Reply

  71. Don Bacon says:

    Feb 11, 2009
    Senator Chuck Hagel replaced James Jones as chairman of the Atlantic Council, replacing General James L. Jones, who stepped down to serve as National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama.
    currently –
    Ben Smith at Politico:
    The case for Hagel, one source tells me, is being made by National Security Adviser Jim Jones [also rumored to step down], and it’s not a weak one. With Gates’s departure, Obama loses a high-profile Republican defender on the national security front, and there are few Republicans of stature who could easily be pictured in the job.
    Jen Rubin at Commentary:
    Last year, Hagel signed a letter urging Obama to open direct negotiations with Hamas. On Iran, Hagel was one of two senators in 2004 to vote against renewal of the Libya-Iran sanctions act. The National Jewish Democratic Council described Hagel’s record as ‘questionable’ and warned that if he sought the presidency, he would have ‘a lot of questions to answer about his commitment to Israel.’

    Reply

  72. Dan Kervick says:

    At this point, expecting Obama to appoint someone like Hagel to a major foreign policy position seems about as idle a fantasy as expecting him to appoint Chas Freeman. Whatever vague tendencies Obama might have once had in that direction, he abandoned that camp long ago.
    It is much more likely that he would appoint someone like Joe Lieberman or Evan Bayh. Hell, he might even appoint John McCain as the new Secretary of Defense, because that’s the way Obama rolls: always trying to please and appease those to the right of him and humiliate and mock those to his left.

    Reply

  73. Don Bacon says:

    I do have problems with Hagel’s reasoning, which I detailed above, and his advocacy of invading Afghanistan, but those are past. This is now.
    The fact remains that Hagel not only sees Iraq as a disaster but also sees Afghanistan in a similar light, particularly nation-building, which of course puts him at odds big-time with Obama/Clinton. That’s good (although it will keep him out of the government unless he waffles).
    On Iran, Hagel has been a strong proponent of dialogue, even sending a letter to Bush advocating it.
    Looking at the overall picture this Hagel thing rocks the boat. I like that. That’s good. This nation-building thing is a farce — even George Bush spoke against it. Obama makes Bush look good!
    I also have to give some credence to Steve’s feelings on domestic politics, and I don’t say that just because he keeps me on an attractive retainer.

    Reply

  74. Sand says:

    Don Bacon: “…Well, Steve likes Hagel who is to the left of Obama on Afghanistan. So what’s not to like about that? Afghanistan is currently the largest US foreign policy issue…”
    You please easily… and — this guy will do what? And what happens when Iran comes down the pike?
    + Noting and agreeing: “…why might you put Hagel on your A-Team other than that you agree with him and that he says many things that make sense (which includes an enormous number of people) :)…”
    Also, if he doesn’t want to be classed as an isolationist — what’s his street-cred in Europe for example? Who are friends backers outside the US?

    Reply

  75. Don Bacon says:

    Well, Steve likes Hagel who is to the left of Obama on Afghanistan. So what’s not to like about that? Afghanistan is currently the largest US foreign policy issue.

    Reply

  76. Sand says:

    Doesn’t matter Don — the underlying problem still remains as shown by Jane Hamsher:
    FROM: –Bob Shrum to Democrats: Stop the Catfood Commission or Lose Congress
    Jane Hamsher- 9/3/10
    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/09/03/bob-shrum-to-democrats-stop-the-catfood-commission-or-lose-congress
    “…There are 255 Democrats in the House, and 178 Republicans. Sure Lynn Woolsey and Raul Grijalva are out there crowing about the fact that they won

    Reply

  77. Don Bacon says:

    My mistake — the food stamp action is not current but was several weeks ago. Twelve billion cut in food stamps to fund a teachers program.

    Reply

  78. Sand says:

    woman…
    Looking up R. Gates profile at the moment… Small world:
    In 1991, when President George H. W. Bush nominated Robert Gates for the post of Director of Central Intelligence, there was a virtual insurrection among CIA analysts who had suffered under his penchant for cooking intelligence. The stakes for integrity of analysis were so high that many still employed at the agency summoned the courage to testify against the nomination. But the fix was in, thanks to then-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, ***David Boren*** and his staff director, George Tenet. The issue was considered so important and the damaging evidence so abundant, however, that thirty-one Senators voted against Gates when the committee forwarded his nomination. Never before or since has a CIA director nominee received nearly as many nays.
    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1111-22.htm
    Same characters keep popping up.

    Reply

  79. Sand says:

    Have to be Steve — you’re not a women who would like to keep sovereignty over her own womb :-)

    Reply

  80. Steve Clemons says:

    Greetings Sand — you are pretty tough, but with all due respect, I
    think Chuck Hagel is one of the few Republicans of his generation
    that I would have really liked to see as President. All best, steve

    Reply

  81. Sand says:

    Don’t I know it! — helped by clones of Hagel with [D's] after their name.
    And we don’t want more of them… but that is what Obama, Rahm and Kaine seems to be feeding us.

    Reply

  82. Don Bacon says:

    Hagel’s not alone — the US House is currently convening a special session to reduce food stamps during the worst recession in seventy years, while billions are wasting building a “vibrant civil society” in far-off Afghanistan.

    Reply

  83. Sand says:

    Yeah, but the real problem with Hagel (looking at his ‘record’) is that he doesn’t believe in nation-building ‘at home’ either.

    Reply

  84. Don Bacon says:

    Hagel: “I have never believed you can go into any country and nation build, and unfortunately I think that’s what we’ve gotten ourselves bogged down in. . .We should not nation build. It will always end in disaster.”
    The nation building attacked by Hagel is at the heart of current US policy in Afghanistan.
    from the White House:
    The President

    Reply

  85. davidt says:

    Steve,
    Liked Drew and Dan’s comments.
    Us long-time readers know you’re a big Hagel fan (I think your
    endorsement of Hagel for Secretary of State in the Obama
    Administration a few weeks before the 2008 while explicitly
    stating you were not endorsing Obama-Biden over McCain-
    Palin was revealing in your feelings about our current
    president). I admire apostates and I’m sure it was tough to
    move in a different direction from his close friend John
    McCain. What isn’t clear is what, other than a bit of
    thoughtfulness, he brings to this administration. Even if you
    have trouble with this administration’s policies (which you
    clearly do), the retention of Gates gave the president a major
    buffer against certain criticisms (not nearly enough of one but
    in comparison to a replacement of Gates with someone
    perceived as to the left of the Bush policy would have greatly
    complicated Obama’s life). What in this respect does Hagel
    provide?
    Its hard to see him swaying many of his former colleagues in
    the minority (or the majority after the election). Isn’t a big
    challenge to not just have good ideas but serve as a heavy to
    help make major changes (i.e. Clark Clifford replacing
    McNamara as a leading establishment figure making elements
    of transitions in approach easier even if the Vietnam War
    went on for so much longer)? No-one will be a silver bullet
    but if you were president why might you put Hagel on your A-
    Team other than that you agree with him and that he says
    many things that make sense (which includes an enormous
    number of people) :).

    Reply

  86. Sand says:

    meant “propositions”

    Reply

  87. Sand says:

    “he did travel around the country”
    Only around election time — which is my point. A fly-by nighter — a spoiler with no long-term vision. A move that can have grave political consequences.
    We have guy here in WA State called Tim Eyman who is *continually* working to put proportions on the ballot (usually against the public good). In my mind this is what Nader could have been doing with his ‘mission’. But where was the leadership — other than popping up at election time?
    P.S This captcha thing is a pain in the arse.

    Reply

  88. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    The point is, he was running to preserve the non-partisan route to the ballot…he does his own thinking so he doesn’t need a bunch of “wonks”… he did travel around the country and did garner support for his write in candidacy in several states…starting a new party is not a solution..parties become the problem…the original way to get your name on the ballot was by poetition signatures, not party endorsement.
    When candidates are routinely excluded from the debates, you can hardly blame the candidate.
    The League of Women Voters, who sponsored the first presidential debates, stopped sponsoring them because they wanted to include all the candidates who were on the ballot, but the D’s and R’s wouldn’t have it…they also came up with a bunch of insipid debate rules which are such a joke, it isn’t even a real debate anymore.
    When all candidates who achieve ballot status are included in the debates, it will be possible for a person of ideas, not just platitudes and big bank roll, to be elected. Of course I think we should have a series of serious debates and ban all paid poltical announcements. Think of the money and time we’d all save…it would end much of mudslinging too.

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  89. Don Bacon says:

    jjm: “What no one is saying is that Obama’s foreign policy agenda is becoming clearer and it is not a bad thing. Even the NYT was forced to admit that he HAS a strategy (three pronged–end with Iraq, be tough on the Iranians, and get the Israeli/Palestinian talks underway. They also reluctantly admitting that what he is doing is working, Iran is now calling to renew talking, after some strong sanctions have been put in effect; the I/P talks are beginning in earnest; and the combat mission in Iraq has ended.)”
    Obama’s foreign policy has not been a success. The main reason has nothing to do with Obama, it is that the USA doesn’t control world events as it used to. But Obama’s fecklessness has been an important contributing factor.
    *Iraq — It ain’t over ’til it’s over. Problems include a continuing pattern of violent attacks, the failure of the Iraqis to decide on a president since the March election, the continuing unresolved Kurdish independence question and the fact that the new Iraq parliament has met only once since March, for 18 minutes on June 14th, plus the looming presence of Iran-backed Sadr. The end of combat can’t be unilaterally declared by Obama, as he would have us think. news report: Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010 (AP) — “American officials say that U.S. troops helped repel a complex attack by a group of heavily armed militants against a Baghdad military headquarters.”
    *Iran — The new sanctions, like former ones, can be worked around. Their main impact is to move Iran further away from the western nations that benifitted from commercial relatrions, and closer to Chin, Indiaq and Japan — Iran’s fellow Asian nations. Iran is always callin to renew talking, it’s part of their successful startegy which has seen them greatly increase their stature in the Middle East, primarily the US-caused transformation of Iraq from an enemy to a close ally.
    *Afghanistan — This is now Obama’s war and it’s a disaster, as has been detailed above. Hagel would be wise to avoid any contact with it and any responsibility for it.
    *I/P — Israel signaled to Obama, in time for the upcoming US elections, that he was ready to go through the motions with the powerless Abbas. The US has lost significant standing since Obama’s pro-Arab speeches in Ankara and Cairo which were merely talk without action. Look for settlement expansion, and a walkout by Abbas, as Obama changed his position from “freeze” to “restraint” — causing Netanyahu to exclaim that he understood English and he knew the difference between the two words.
    Again, the bottom line is that the US is not in control of these matters, as it would have us believe. Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Israel are. And Obama has not been successful — that’s why no one is saying it.
    “Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t Ours to win or lose” — Chuck Hagel

    Reply

  90. Sand says:

    Each time Nader ran he had ‘four years’ to build a party — even a coalition — he did neither…
    I saw no effort on his part, accept when the elections came round. If you have evidence of him travelling the country gaining votes, gaining policy wonks etc in the years ‘between’ election then ok.
    As I said — I have great respect in what Nader did in the early years — but from 2000 — I think he made some really bad bad political choices/mistakes — that ‘he’ should have realized the consequences.
    So I guess we do have to disagree.
    Hagel = ‘excitement’ — hardly.
    I would definitely choose Wesley Clark over Hagel, also knowing Clark’s history in Bosnia wasn’t great.

    Reply

  91. Dan Kervick says:

    Instead of Chuck Hagel, why doesn’t Obama give Fareed Zakaria a job?
    http://www.newsweek.com/2010/09/04/zakaria-why-america-overreacted-to-9-11.html

    Reply

  92. Dan Kervick says:

    Does Hagel have a plan for getting out of our war in Afghanistan and Pakistan? I didn’t see any hint of that in the interview. It will take more to extract our country from a quagmire that just throwing around metaphors like “unwind.”

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  93. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Sand…Again, I disagree….Nader welocomed anyone who had the courage to agree with him…he ran primarilly to preserve unaffiliated access to the ballot…rights, like muscles, must be exercised or they atrophy. Ralph Nader, by being a man of principle brought about more beneficial change, even in losing, than many who “win” elections but do nothing for the good of his fellow man.
    Nader was light years ahead of everyone on the undue influence of corporations in politics…read his book on corporate lawyers for a real eye-opener. Just because he isn’t in office or in the news, it doesn’t mean he isn’t busy at work on the public’s behalf, without reward. Nader was the first to force the public to pay attention to the envirnmnet, pollution, conservation when he left he Democratic party and formed the Greens in the US back in the ’70′s. After the issue came into vogue, all sorts of environmental champions have emerged to garner all the credit for “saving the environment”. Nader’s not about “credit” though…he’s about doing the right thing even if he has to stand alone.
    Winning was not more important to Nader than running ethically. Nader is always on the cutting edge of controversial issues, like the environment…he’s always the first to point out the emporer’s new clothes or lack thereof.
    But back to Hagel…at least he can admit a mistake…that’s better than most who supported the war.

    Reply

  94. aprivatematter says:

    I have a great deal of respect for Chuck Hagel and
    18 months ago, I thought he would make a good fit
    in the administration. But in hindsight, it’s
    clear to me that keeping Gates was Obama’s most
    inspired cabinet move, despite Clinton garnering
    all of the media attention.
    I am of the mind that this interview, Sestak
    endorsement aside, was Hagel’s way of throwing in
    the towel, conceding that he won’t serve in an
    Obama Administration. Obama has ventured too far
    down the rabbit hole to bring on someone with
    views that would easily be labelled defeatist and
    dangerous by the political classes that be.
    Comparisons to Nader are absurd, but he does
    strike me as a Wesley Clarke-like figure,
    perpetually skating around the beltway, generating
    speculative excitement here and there, but never
    seeming to play any role greater than that of B-
    team pundit.
    Drew, excellent comment. I think Hagel’s work at
    the Atlantic Council has been one way for him to
    build up some intellectual credibility without
    taking direct ownership. Remember, he’s a
    politician and former businessman, not an
    academic.

    Reply

  95. jjm says:

    I’ve never before heard a sitting president criticized for not
    hamming it up enough. But that’s what so many people are
    doing, including Frank Rich in his NYT column today.
    Most people i know appreciated Obama’s speech and did not
    think it bloodless.
    Had it been bloody as Rich calls for, the right wing media,
    indeed all the media would have spent the next few weeks
    talking in faux-shocked tones about “Can you imagine he said
    THAT!”
    What Rich fails to note is that it would have entirely eclipsed the
    Middle East peace initiative.
    What no one is saying is that Obama’s foreign policy agenda is
    becoming clearer and it is not a bad thing. Even the NYT was
    forced to admit that he HAS a strategy (three pronged–end with
    Iraq, be tough on the Iranians, and get the Israeli/Palestinian
    talks underway. They also reluctantly admitting that what he is
    doing is working, Iran is now calling to renew talking, after some
    strong sanctions have been put in effect; the I/P talks are
    beginning in earnest; and the combat mission in Iraq has ended.)
    That is a lot for fewer than two years in office. We should be
    grateful Obama is low key and not a big drama queen. These are
    policy moves that really matter, not pursuing the ‘war on terror’
    as a theatre piece for the sake of the Saudis.

    Reply

  96. Sand says:

    The problem with Nader — towards the end (I have great respect for what he did in his early years) — was it was clear he was a one-man band and he liked it that way…
    As anyone knows to be President you need political influencial friends — you need a ‘caucus’ — to make change — he attracted neither — he just wanted to make noise.
    Sorry but that is what I saw.

    Reply

  97. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Sand…Ralph Nader never scuttled away from any debates when they got too heated…quite the opposite…when debates got too heated, the press refused to cover him…no comparisson whatsoever….Nader devoted his life to defending the public good, not lobbying for any industry…he never temopered his positions on tough issues just to get elected.
    to justify the waWhy aren’t the people who got it right from the git-go advisors to Team Obama, like Russ Feingold and Dennis Kucinich? Why not seek advice from those who were never fooled by the fake claims of Busholini to begin with? That’s the only way out of this box anyway…everyone else has too much invested in justifying the wars.

    Reply

  98. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Oh geez. Let the slobbering begin.
    “You are right that we need more like him on the President’s Cabinet”
    Fear not. There are plenty in DC that fail to disclose their financial conflicts of interest and their questionable ethics. Theres a wide range of scumbags to choose from.

    Reply

  99. DCPundit says:

    Steve,
    Your analysis of Senator Hagel is spot on. Hagel is one of our country’s best and takes stands on issues that are his own without blowing with the wind. He changed his mind on the Iraq War after listening to others and thinking it through. You are right that we need more like him on the President’s Cabinet.

    Reply

  100. Sand says:

    The guy is a zealot nutcase over women’s rights and as for scientific research! If he can’t empathize and figure out the human condition of the opposite sex I don’t think he is cut out to manage our military strangely enough made up of both men and women.
    http://www.ontheissues.org/senate/chuck_hagel.htm
    I see no strategic vision in the man — platitudes maybe, but pure honest vision — sorry his ‘record’ doesn’t show it.
    Chuck Hagel reminds me a little bit of Nader — (towards the end of his activist career) – pops his head out once and while at opportune moments and then scuttles away when the debate gets too heated — and real words need to be said. I respect Chafee and his guts more than Hagel’s.
    Hagel appears too weak and politically compromised to be the next Sec of
    Def.
    Caveat: However, I would understand (not be happy) if I saw a choice of Hagel over Joe Lieberman (or someone like him) — for obvious reasons.

    Reply

  101. The Pessimist says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll continue saying until someone can convince me I’m wrong:
    There will be no true military pullback from either Iraq or Afghanistan as long as corporate profits can be extracted from both countries. The US military is now nothing more than an obedient tool for predatory capitalism. These wars have NOTHING to do with democracy or human rights, NOTHING. Never have and never will. These are corporate wars being directed by greedy, unaccountable psychopaths safely bunkered down on Wall Street.
    Chuck Hagel is not an honorable man Steve. He is just as corrupt and immoral as every other so-called statesman that has ever risen to the height of power in American politics. Nothing he says publically can be supported by objective reality. His effort to lobby for the Secretary of War leadership position has nothing to do with his concern for America

    Reply

  102. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hagel is yet one more politician who, despite being highly suspected to have committed criminal acts, has not been held accountable before the law. So who gives a fuck what his policy advocations are? Is there anyone here so blinded by the high status of our “celeb” politicians that they think it wise to trust the words of a probable criminal?
    I agree with him that the “success” in Iraq is a propaganda construct that has no bearing in reality. But just because he mouths the words, what has changed? And what does he have the ability or power to change, even if you could trust in his words?
    Seeing those such as Hagel lauded for stances, which are quite often politically opportunistic or quite temporary, is disheartening when you consider those same stances, when held with conviction and longetivity, do not garner the same kind of media or think tank exposure when held by far more ethical and principled politicians, such as Paul of Kucinich. Such a dichotomy causes me to immediately distrust the motives behind shoving someone like Hagel into the limelight for expressing certain opinions that deserve recognition no matter WHOM expresses them. When a policy advocation or opinion is given exposure simply because of WHO is expressing it, one wonders who is pushing the train, and why. Kucinich and Paul have long held these opinions. Where’s Steve’s blog post lauding THEIR conviction and honest foreign policy assessments?
    Screw Hagel. He had his shot. He didn’t impede our rush to land in this unbelievable clusterfuck of foreign policy. In actuality, he contributed to it by participation and complicity. Time for him to use his political experience and connections to get filthy rich by crawling in bed with the scumbags in the corporate world. He’s already helped do enough damage in Washington, its time to move on to REALLY fuckin’ the little guy by nurturing a closer relationship with the stewards of DC; The globalist corporations. Isn’t that what these DC scumbags do after slithering out of the DC political scene?

    Reply

  103. Don Bacon says:

    Hagel apparently agrees with the US going into Afghanistan nine years ago and overthrowing the government, but that the US then ‘took its eye off the ball’ and mistakenly engaged in nation building. That’s what he says.
    This is a common complaint, but a dishonest one because building a new government is an implicit requirement after overthrowing the former one, as in Iraq. How is it possible to get rid of a government, by force, that the US doesn’t like and then not replace it with a puppet government the US does like? They go together like apple pie and cheese.
    The nation building Hagel criticizes also involves the building of roads and schools, working to establish an Afghan government, and trying to negotiate peace among political factions that have been warring for centuries. But again, these are part and parcel of the necessary actions which would prevent the people who constituted the former government from resuming their authority.
    “We became completely disoriented from our original focus,” Hagel said. What does Hagel mean, that the US should have overthrown the Taliban (using the northern tribes as it did) and then walked away?
    What Hagel might mean is another common complaint, that if Bush hadn’t diverted the US effort to Iraq the US would have completely defeated the Taliban and “won” in Afghanistan. Woulda, shoulda, coulda, as my neighbor likes to say. There’s no evidence that that would’ve worked.
    Well here we are in 2010 with a situation. Violence across Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001. This week, droves of depositors rushed offices of Afghanistan

    Reply

  104. DonS says:

    Drew, and others, pretty much hit the mark. Fact is, few who aspire to swim in the administration pool are like to express, or perhaps even think, outside the box. If we are saying, oh well this is the box we are stuck in so we need to confine our thinking to puddling around its four corners, that is a poor, but probably accurate, commentary on the spectrum of acceptable political thought. It appears that only on the right wight are outrageously incorrect ideas voiced. Funny, it doesn’t seem to disqualify those folks from polite political company. Maybe even gets them a special attaboy, or “if you have a better idea I want to know about it” from the halfstepper-in chief. Whereas, progressives are told to sit down and shut up and be grateful for what they get, or that they don’t understand the long term strategy or some other dismissive BS.
    And Don Bacon hits on a point of misallocaton of resources, possible mainly because ‘defense’ spending/’national security’ remains a sacrosanct category that separates the surrender monkeys from the real patriots. Were the veil of this charade pulled back for the American people to really see and comprehend . . . ah but we fall back into the world of infomercial politics, and we will never square that circle. At least not on this thread.

    Reply

  105. drew says:

    Hagel’s an interesting guy, but I fail to see why expressing a set of
    criticisms of the status quo is evidence of any ability to think or
    lead with creativity and intellectual rigor.
    IOW, I would be interested in how he would respond if he were to
    face off with Kilcullen and Petraeus, and one of them asked him,
    “Okay, fine, the wars are fiascos. They also represent historical and
    current fact. So what do you want to do now?” Hagel has certainly
    had ample opportunity to be and do more than serve as the
    apostate Republican war critic. Perhaps he should start writing on
    these subjects and therefore own something intellectually and
    professionally. Otherwise the case for Hagel is just another blank
    check for a guy based on his resume attributes, and a few
    expressions of political sentiment.

    Reply

  106. Don Bacon says:

    So Obama wasn’t ready to be commander-in-chief from Day One? Answer that 3 am phone call? Hillary was right?
    Obama’s theme in his campaign was that he didn’t disagree much with Bush’s decisions, but that he (Obama, like Kerry, remember him?) could execute better.
    July 2004: ‘There

    Reply

  107. nadine says:

    Larry, in old Russia, those who wished to find favor with the Tsar’s court knew better than to say, “The Tsar is an idiot.” It was always, “The Little Father has been ill-advised.”
    Nothing has changed.

    Reply

  108. Larry Martin says:

    “This is the kind of thinking that Obama needs to hear more
    often…”
    Steve, are you still holding out hope that Obama wants to do the
    right thing, but is somehow listening to the wrong advice?
    He’s not an ignorant man, and he’s not a thoughtless man. He
    sees the same results that you and I see, in our foreign policy
    and in our domestic policy. Yet he persists, piling half-way
    measure upon error, and error upon half-way measure, in both
    spheres.
    I’m reminded of Andrew Sullivan’s naive plea to G.W. Bush in The
    Atlantic, after Bush went home to Dallas, that only he could
    renounce torture. As if 43 knew in his heart that torture was
    wrong, and had only been listening to the wrong advisors.
    Obama demonstrates, over and over, that he thinks the same old
    path is the right path, overseas and at home.
    Hoping he’ll listen to Chuck Hagel is not a plan.

    Reply

  109. Don Bacon says:

    Hagel says Iraq and Afghanistan are major errors, which is rather obvious, but he doesn’t say what he would do about them, except “unwind”, whatever that means. So scratch him. Coming up with problems but not offering specific solutions that can be described in fifty words or less is easy. Anyone can do it.
    But it’s plain to see why Hagel is stopping at stating the obvious.
    from WaPo, in response to Hagel’s recent endorsement of Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D-PA) Senate candidacy:
    “Hagel has made no secret of his interest in serving in the Obama Administration and was mentioned as a possible successor to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair when he resigned in May. (Hagel currently serves as the co-chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.)
    And, with Defense Secretary Robert Gates making clear last week that he would like to step down in 2011, the timing of Hagel’s Sestak endorsement has to be more than coincidental. (Hagel was mentioned as a possible Secretary of Defense in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 election but the President chose to keep Gates on.)” //(end of WaPo piece)
    That endorsement won’t do much for Sestak but it helps Hagel’s bonafides with Obama’s national security team, which has been about as unsuccessful as his economic team.
    The report “New Way Forward: Rethinking U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan” isn’t quite so timid. It starts off with “The United States should by no means abandon Afghanistan,” which is when I stopped serious reading except to see that they did offer specifics.
    The US has abandoned its workers and also its national parks, environment, teachers, and soldiers, and placed unconscionable debt upon its future generations, and will soon in a time of need apparently cut its entitlement programs, but it shouldn’t abandon Afghanistan, a desperately poor and corrupt nation full of illiterate people on the other side of the earth which sucks huge amounts of money out of the national treasury for war profiteers?
    Meanwhile, while we await Hagel’s possible senate testimony on what “unwind in Afghanistan” means, the US is moving money into a new hot-spot in the never-ending war on terrorism. Yemen is smaller (527 sq km v. 652) with less people (22m v. 28) than Afghanistan but it has promise as yet another major US error. What does Chuck think about that, I wonder. Should the US wind or unwind?

    Reply

  110. nadine says:

    The entire interview sounds like the bromides of the Obama campaign warmed over and served up again as pearls of wisdom. More like a dog’s breakfast. There is literally not one new idea in the whole thing. I believe in talking to our enemies, says Senator Hagel. Swell, Obama ran on the same policy and has had a full 18 months to implement it. How’s it going for him?

    Reply

  111. Charlie says:

    Chuck Hagel should be moved to “Team A” (though
    Sen. Hagel as a member of the A-Team is an
    entertaining picture). Sen. Hagel would make an
    excellent replacement for Secretary Gates when he
    steps aside.
    I am curious if there has been any rumbling of a
    Bloomberg/Hagel independent run in 2012.

    Reply

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