Stay Puft's Defense of the Democrats

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Stay Puft presents a thoughtful argument that the notion Democrats need to provide an alternative "plan" for Iraq is flawed. He also has a dig at our Jack-Ash brain trust:

Zimzo's evil twin!? Right now you and Jack are sounding a lot like the SAME person, whose name could only be Jack Ash!

hahaha hehehe hahaha oh man that's good stuff!

But I'm not a member of the Democratic party, I'm not campaigning for the upcoming election, and I'm not saying a Democrat WOULD do better in office.

All I'm saying is that the Pres. has the power, the access, the intelligence, the bureaucracy, etc. By "tools" I mean the whole decision making apparatus, made up of the white house, the pentagon, the CIA, the Armed forces, etc.

The US has limited control over the sentiments of Iraqi citizens to begin with. We need to be imaginative, creative, wise, prudent, and well timed if we want to "fix" the situation in Iraq. It's not a matter of "We need more troops here, more money here." It isn't about military tactics and establishing superiority in the air, on the land, and at sea, or whatever disagreements over how best to prosecute a war used to be over. the situation seems so complex and the path to success will be so much more intricate, dealing with PR, public opinion, "hearts and minds."

Under the circumstances, planning a wise solution demands a lot of processing power, if you will, and the White House has access to more RAM than a senator does. I'm just saying that the only people with all the resources to fully understand what's going on are those at the very top.

That doesn't mean that a Democrat would do a better job, it just means that it doesn't make sense to demand a complete plan for this complex situation from people who aren't in the very top echelons of the government/military/intelligence bureaucracy, Jack Ash!


(oh man that's good stuff!)

Ahem. I'll let the local Jack Ash's speak up for themselves. But I will say Democrats CAN make some policy commitments to give an indication what they would do differently. Pull out of Iraq? Throw Israel under the bus? Eliminate all spying on Muslims suspected of terrorist ties? Release the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay on humanitarian grounds?

I'm sure Stay Puft's hair is perfect, but I have to wonder how many pina coladas went under the bridge for him to come up with this messy argument.

Even though they are not in charge, the Democrats can say what they would do differently.

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Jacob Ash said:

OK, his post deserved recognition; I really appreciated it myself.

As for leaving in the sophmoric 'Jack Ash' is this revenge for the Cheeta-Jane comment I put in under "my kingdom for a plan? ;-)


I could buy the notion that a group of leaders following more or less then same general course of action in Iraq that Bush did could have made a success out of it simply by not being rash and incompetant. Putting aside the question of whether we ever should have gotten involved at all.

For example, right in the middle of the invasion you had the major critics from the left saying "put some more troops in there to guard abandoned Iraqi military installations!" And the Bush administration ignored that, which led directly to massive quantities of arms, ammunition and explosives being looted over a period of months. Arms which are now being used against American troops every single day in Iraq. Had Democrats been involved in that decision, the insurgents would be much weaker and less well-supplied than they are today.

Does anyone still remember the tipping point in Iraq with regard to the development of an organized insurgency and civil war? A newspaper in Sadr city was printing anti-American editorials. So DoD decided that it would be a smart idea to conduct a raid and shut the paper down. Democrats were saying 'this is crazy - we're supposed to be bringing freedom of speech to these people. This will backfire.' And they were right - within a week it led to a massive uprising in Sadr City involving riots and major battles between US troops and the militias that started to form. Years later we're STILL desperately trying to get Sadr city under control and the backlash that we created there has spread like a cancer into a massive, organized para-military system.

We could spend all day recounting incidents like this. And it's not Monday morning quarterbacking - these are things that prominent Democrats were saying would lead to disaster at the time. They were right.

The basic idea of knocking out the Baathists and creating a Democratic Iraq was one that could have and should have succeeded. The plans laid by our generals and state department officials were generally good ones. All that the President needed to do was to LISTEN to them and follow through - instead of firing them when they said things that he didn't like (Shinseki & White both sacked for saying we needed more troops for the initial occupation). We don't necessarily need a President or a group of Senators who have some grand, fascinating plan to succeed in Iraq. We've already got that expertise in the Pentagon, CIA & State Department. What went wrong were the projections of all of Bush's worst personal failings into government policy. Laziness, arrogance and willful ignorance.

Do everything that the career government officials wanted to to in Iraq in the first place and we would have had a victory by now. We've got to take out the ideology, the ignorance and the arrogance. Start actually doing what the Generals and the CIA guys suggest and we'll have a victory on our hands. It's not all that complicated.

Jack said:


You have pointed out a couple of instances where the Dems were right, and bush wrong. That's fine. Even a blind nut finds a squirrel occasionally.

But let's look at some things the Dems were wrong on: confronting the USSR, gun control, and Social Security come to mind immediately, as do several others. Furthermore, Clinton completely bungled ObL while he was busy lying under oath. (The Senators who acquitted him do not know their own role under the Constitution.) The last Democrat before Clinton, James Earl Carter, gutted the military.

I'd rather have Bush bungling the details of a good plan than have the Democrats competently take us in the wrong direction.

Jackson, Sadr City was the 'tipping point'? If you honestly believe that, and the 'career government officials' would have stemmed the insurgency, then we must be living on different planets. The tipping point was overthrowing the government; it was going to be a mess after that no matter what.

"Career government officials"... boy that just begs for a riff but I can't slack off from my real job right now... dang it.

I agree with you on not enough troops, though, and not securing the munitions. Huge mistakes. And yes, some Democrats (and Republicans) criticized those decisions at the time.

Thanks for visiting!

Jacob/Tarzan, if the title of your post had included the indefinite article "a", we wouldn't be having this conversation right now.

(Though I did think Stay Puft's J.A. joke was pretty funny. Albeit nonsensical - because only someone with WAAAYYY too much time on their hands would bother to invent two similar commenting personas and neither you nor Jack fall into that category.)

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

well I'll take your word for it, Joe. you'd know if anyone was pulling that stunt because you collect visitor's IP addresses!

ok, it's all my fault for not being more clear. I've been referring specifically to the situation in Iraq, and not to the war on terror.

Dems have proposed a number of funding increases for homeland security-type things. here's some propaganda:

Now these are a series of initiatives, not a coherent plan. It's kind of like I've been saying: politically, it's impossible to put out a plan because the situation in Iraq is so complex ("these people in this neighborhood are upset because we shut down their newspaper a year ago, and these people in this neighborhood..." kind of complex). If the whole democratic party suddenly got all monolithic and united behind a single "plan to win the war on terror" they'd be putting their necks out for the GOP.

for the same reason, the GOP hasn't published a plan, either. they just talk a bunch of rhetoric and nonsense while the situation deteriorated. I'm just saying that, given the complexity of the situation, any plan will inevitably overlook some stuff, and the 'other side' would inevitably point to the stuff the plan overlooks and say, "this plan is flawed, it could never work, vote for us!"

and nowhere here an I saying, "Democrats = good, Republicans = bad" it's all just politics.

zimzo said:

Thank you, Mr. Puft. I kept mixing those two up so it will be much easier now just to refer to them as Jack Ash. I'm also happy to know I have an "evil" twin. I guess that makes me the good twin.

Jacob Ash said:

I voted for Clinton in 92. I do not subscribe to anything so simplistic as Dem=Bad, Rep=Good. If there were Truman, or Kennedy or Scoop Jackson or Sam Nunn Democrat running around I'd seriously consider voting for him.

Clinton presented himself as a 'New Democrat', remember? I heard his stuff and it sounded like a throw back to when the Democratic was sane. I was wrong about him, and Gore was damaged goods form the day he declared Clinton to be “the greatest President ever” in the rose garden.

Kerry was and is a bad joke of a Senator. Go see how much legislation he is responsible for. Johnson was our last president to come out the legislative wing of government, and he basically ran the congress. Kennedy in one term as a senator accomplished more than the ersatz JFK did in how many terms?

With the netroots increasing in their influence I only seeing the Democratic party going further off the cliff. What pisses me off is that the Republicans are almost as bad in many regards. However, when it comes to the middle-east I am basically a neo-con, yes that is not a popular position these day, and frankly I don’t care if it is or is not. This war is serious and the party’s are using it as a political football. This is insanity.

I am interested in winning the war. I take the Jihadists at their word. They want to kill us or force us to convert, spreading Islam all over the world. I see many of the other issues through that prism. And I do apply a litmus test, because the issue is that important.

Trust me, I damned you with faint praise. ;-)


Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:


I've heard this term, "neo-con" It seems like most people who use it have a different understanding of it's meaning. I tend to equate "neo-con" ideas with PNAC ideas

Perhaps you could provide a post with your understanding of what it means to be a neo-con.


Jack said:

I've always wondered how a "neo-con" differed from a "conservative." I thought "neo-con" was just an attempt at a derogatory term for a "new conservative," one who had been a liberal or moderate, then saw the light of reason and became a conservative.

jacob said:

Marshmallow, Jack,
Neo-con as opposed to paleo-con as opposed to someother conservative? What ever, I will explain.

I see neo-con as someone who espouses an 'extreme makover' in the middle east. People in this crowd include include: Bill Kristol and Newt Gingrich. Two people who are very popular on the left I am sure.

As a benny, a paleo-con is the likes of Pat Buchannon. He really does think Tom Davis is too Liberal (are you out there VC?).

As for Jack's comment regarding neo-cons, many of the neo-cons are former Democrats who were cold war hawks. They saw their party ever drifting away from them, (This is where I expect Zim to jump in with something spectacularly inane) and so became Republicans.

PS never was a democrat, but I ain't no yellow dawg rebublican either

Jack said:

Tom Davis opposes allowing the people of DC to own handguns. Is that liberal enough?

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

I don't know how much you know about the origins of the whole neo-con thing, but you ever read anything by Leo Strauss?

He's an interesting dude. What's of particular interest is that he came to the US in the 1940's, around the same time that Sayyid Qutb moved here. Both men were disturbed by what they saw as an overly individualist and relativist society. Both developed a political philosophy aimed at "fixing" the relativist nature of modernity. The students of Strauss (Kristol, Rumsfeld, Wolfowizt) went on to form the neo-con movement, while the followers of Qutb's philosophy, such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, founded the radical islamist movement.

oh, what does it all mean??

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

also, is pretty sweet.

Jacob Ash said:

I read that Kristol and his fellow travelers had a mentor! I did not recall the name. Thanks for the link. I have some new reading to do.

And YES tiny url is very sweet.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

No Problem. I figured you might as well know what you're talking about.)

jacob said:

That will make one of us.


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