Saturday, September 23, 2006

Democrats and Republicans on National Security

From the transcript of Clinton's interview with Chris Wallace at

Crooks and Liars » President Clinton blasts Chris Wallace

I found the following exchange, with regard to Clinton's effort to get bin Laden, to be telling:

CW: Do you think you did enough sir?

WJC: No because I didn’t get him

CW: Right…

WJC: But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try and they didn’t….. I tired. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke… So you did fox’s bidding on this show. You did you nice little conservative hit job on me. But what I want to know..

This is why I want Democrats running national security and believe that Republicans have no competence in that area. To a Democrat anything short of doing the job and complete the objected, in this case getting bin Laden, is less than should be done. No excuses for how hard the job is, just do it. Failure to succeed does not necessarily mean removal from office or other drastic response, but failure is failure. Compare that the Bush administration which, after receiving the August 6th briefing managed to accomplish absolutely nothing to improve the nations security. This is, nonetheless, considered a fine performance by conservatives and Republicans. It is in no way a failure of leadership. We have heard any number of excuses that it was too hard or no one could have thought of the danger. And therefore for Republicans, failure to defend the nation is not failure, if a Republican fails.

For thirty years, one staple of conservative criticism of liberals has been the image of public school education in which a student gets a good grade for trying hard, or to build self esteem and how that is too soft and weak. A hard nosed conservative knows that we need to be tough and only actually completing the work successfully should ever get a reward. Now we see, however, that this standard that is too weak and soft for five year olds is the highest standard we can expect from Republicans on national security.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Please, a Different Tact

Look I think Atrios is great, and no one can be too happy with the way things are playing out right now with the Bush torture bill, but this is surely the wrong tact to take at this point. Rather than we telling the world that the Democrats look like crap, how about trying a positive message. For example, "The Republicans have now shown that the country cannot trust them to hold Bush accountable. The Democrats will now show how it should be done, and will be done when they take control of the House and Senate." See positive, not negative.

I'm not talking about starry eyed, Panglossian optimism. Rather I'm thinking of William the Conqueror tripping on the beach after landing in England, standing up immediately and saying "See, I grab England with both my hands." It's a matter of taking a positive attitude in the face of failure. Yes, this is what Bush does to a fault, but doing so to a somewhat less insane level would be good for us on the left.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Appeasement or Gallipoli

Think Progress » Dole Stumped When Asked To Name Anyone Who Believes ‘The Terrorists Can Be Appeased’

This, from ThinkProgress, set me to thinking:

Sec. Rumsfeld last week compared Iraq war critics to Hitler appeasers. This morning on Fox News, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) was asked to name someone — anyone — who actually believes “the terrorists can be appeased.” She couldn’t do it.

The simple reason, of course why she can't name anyone is because there isn't anyone. However, what is it we are thinking. To my mind a much better analogy to the way we on the left view Iraq would be the British operation in Gallipoli during World War I. No doubt the Turks were, to some extent, emboldened when the British finally pulled the ANZACs out. Nonetheless, the vast improvement the British gained by having those forces deploy somewhere useful, more than made up for whatever degree the Turks were emboldened. It would also be quite absurd to characterize the withdrawal as appeasing the Turks, especially as the British continued to fight the Turks, indeed going on to defeat them in the war.

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