God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: ‘We Need to Be Liberated Again’

posted by gp_intern

On April 9, 2003, Saddam Hussein’s government collapsed as the U.S. military swept into Baghdad. The next day, President Bush delivered a triumphant “message to the Iraqi people.” In it, he said:

The goals of our coalition are clear and limited. We will end a brutal regime, whose aggression and weapons of mass destruction make it a unique threat to the world. Coalition forces will help maintain law and order, so that Iraqis can live in security. We will respect your great religious traditions, whose principles of equality and compassion are essential to Iraq’s future. We will help you build a peaceful and representative government that protects the rights of all citizens. And then our military forces will leave. Iraq will go forward as a unified, independent and sovereign nation that has regained a respected place in the world.

Fast forward four years. Monday, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shiites took to the streets to demand that the U.S. leave. According to the British Guardian newspaper,

they shouted “Yes! Yes! Iraq. No! No! America” amid a sea of banners and Iraqi flags. “We were liberated from Saddam. Now we need to be liberated again,” read one placard. “Stop the suffering, Americans leave now,” demanded another.

Along with the continued death and suffering, the sectarian violence that has been unleashed has resulted in ethnic cleansing of once peaceful neighborhoods. I recently heard a powerful NPR story, “Mixed Baghdad Neighborhoods Become Enclaves.” The reporter interviewed a Shiite father who watched his son being beaten by a Sunni boy with the encouragement of his father, and a Sunni who was told “your son or the house,” while his son was being beaten by Shiites. It’s a situation, said the reporter, where “no one can risk trusting anyone anymore.” Estimates are that 700,000 people have been displaced in Iraq due to sectarian violence. U.S. military officials claim the situation is improving, but as the report concluded, “Even if it becomes safer, it’s not clear what’s been broken can be put back together again.”

And then there is the story of 50-year-old Khadim al-Jubouri. Four years ago, a picture of him went around the world, as he stood with a sledgehammer attacking the base of a bronze statue of Saddam Hussein. Now, according to The Washington Post, he says:

It achieved nothing. We got rid of a tyrant and tyranny. But we were surprised that after one thief had left, another 40 replaced him.

Far from a “unified, independent and sovereign nation,” Iraq four years later is shattered, occupied, and violent. And there is no light at the end of the tunnel.



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Jeremy

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:25 pm


Thanks Jim for the article. How sad this whole thing has become. I wonder if there will ever be another “Mission Accomplished” speech. John Stewart from “The Daily Show” said it best; America “we’re not really good at this nation building thing, but we are GREAT at nation destroying!”



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kevin s.

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:32 pm


And if we leave, that will make it all better somehow.



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Aaron

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:42 pm


And if we stay, that will obviously make it better somehow.



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splinterlog

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:54 pm


Technically, when the people of a country by a wide popular consensus wawnt us to leave, we are no longer a liberating force – we are an occupying force.Oh and to those who dream up doomsday scenarios in the wake of our departure – how much further can Iraq disintegrate than it already has? Any appearance of unity and law and order now is cosmetic. There is a civil war going on. There are better options to promote law and order than an occupying foreign army!



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Wolverine

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:59 pm


Sorry Jim, but a Protest march does not a Consensus make. Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted April 11, 2007 at 6:04 pm


“Technically, when the people of a country by a wide popular consensus wawnt us to leave, we are no longer a liberating force – we are an occupying force. ” No. Technically, when an elected government wants us to stay, we are not an occupying force. If you want to say that our presence in Iraq evokes an ethos of occupation, you may say that, but techinically, that is not correct.”Oh and to those who dream up doomsday scenarios in the wake of our departure – how much further can Iraq disintegrate than it already has? ” A tremendous amount. For one thing, the economic gains over the last few years could easiyl disintegrate without any security to protect it.They will be highly succeptible to proxy attack by Iran. While it is the prevailing notion on this board that Iran is just trying to get along and help everyone out, Iraqis will have much more reason for concern under this scenario. “There are better options to promote law and order than an occupying foreign army!” Again, not ceding your argument that we are a an occupational force, but what are the better options?



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tovart

posted April 11, 2007 at 6:33 pm


Why did we do this to the people of Iraq?



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Joey

posted April 11, 2007 at 7:50 pm


“And if we leave, that will make it all better somehow.” I have to agree with this sentiment. Whether or not it was a smart idea to go into Iraq, or a good idea, what happens if we leave? All Hell will break lose. It seems likely that it’s breaking lose anyway, but it seems to me that if America leaves Iraq, countless will die. If we stay, countless MAY die.God bless.



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Joey

posted April 11, 2007 at 7:54 pm


I would also include the fact that Iraq does not need to be “liberated” from the American forces. We are not the ones causing the killing and destruction; the Iraqis are doing that to themselves. Our mistake was the assumption that Iraqis were really Americans—that they would rather have freedom and peace than tyranny and killing. It was probably a mistake to invade Iraq; but the fact is, America essentially gave Iraq a chose. Our crime was naivete, not these problems the Iraqis are doing to themselves. God bless.



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Kristopher

posted April 11, 2007 at 7:55 pm


“Why did we do this to the people of Iraq?” The whole concept of this question, excuse the snarkiness, is absurd. Excuse the snarkiness again, but I think it is also absurd, and ignorant to suggest that our presence in Iraq is the cause of the fight between the Sunni and the Shiites.



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tovart

posted April 11, 2007 at 8:06 pm


So Kristopher, excuse the snarkiness, but in your opinion: Why do we have a presence in Iraq?



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Aaron

posted April 11, 2007 at 8:08 pm


For the Weapons of Mass Distraction of course.



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tovart

posted April 11, 2007 at 8:08 pm


And I agree the whole thing is absurd unless and until there is some good reason why it is that this has happened. And until that can be concretely defined or delineated, it may be a reality that both the occupiers and the occupied will continue to question that “presence.”



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Carl Copas

posted April 11, 2007 at 8:33 pm


What would be the longterm consequences of an Iranian-dominated Iraq, if it could maintain stability? Just speculating.



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Canuckelhead

posted April 11, 2007 at 9:21 pm


“Why did we do this to the people of Iraq?” It’s called oil. It’s called Haliburton. It’s called fixing Daddy’s mess in the sandbox. It’s called appeasing the shareholders of the industrial-military complex. It’s called getting people to forget the real terrorist who’s hiding in some five-star cave somewhere in the Aghan/Pakistan hills. Call it what you want, all I know is that most thinking people call it “a major mess.” D’ya think?



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Kristopher

posted April 11, 2007 at 9:53 pm


The history of the events that took place leading up to the war in Iraq has been exhaustingly talked about. If you are a conspiracy theorist that believes this war is about oil, or Haliburton, or to spite Michael Moore, I don’t think that there is any way for us to have an intelectual conversation or dialogue.I would like to remind you, however, that the champions of the left had a hand in getting us into this war just as much as the Bush administration, or the “vast right wing conspiracy.” Darn those checks and balances that were put in place so that you can’t blame one person for the decision to go to war.



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bobc

posted April 11, 2007 at 9:54 pm


We gave up any chance of doing anything positive the day Sadaam fell and we did not fill the power vacuum fast enough. We are great at the tactical part of war. We can destroy anything…anywhere…anytime. But the most important parts of any conflict are mental and moral. After destroying Sadaam, we did nothing to stop the looting and breakdown in society. We never had much of a moral leg anyway. There was never a compelling moral reason given. It was bogus WMDs and links to al Queda. When you lie to go to war, it makes having a moral imperative impossible. This thing was doomed early. After abu Ghraib, Rummy..Gonzales and the entire chain of command should have been punished. Instead, a few lambs were sacrificed. Gonzales continus to play the part of a torturers apprentice. Guantanimo(sp) should be closed and the occupants tried in a civil court now. Itis hard to be the beacon for democracy when you deny folks their civil rights. So that was then and this is now. All the stuff done before does matter. The moderate Arabs have problems preaching tolerance because they will be seen as siding with the US. So now, we are trying to keep a lid on the violence while hopefully the warring parties can work something out. This means we have to talk to people; especially those Bushco doesn’t like. Juan Cole has a plan to end this thing which calls for real diplomacy and dealing with all the players. If Bush refuses to play the diplomatic game then the situation will get worse once we leave. The factions just have to lay low and wait us out. There is nothing our military can do so we must start real diplomatic efforts to end this thing. It will require abandoning bases, our lust for their oil and any chance for a US-like Democracy. Syria has helped us by preventing terrorist. They are a secular nation and don’t want religious fundies next store. Most of the 2 billion or so refugees end up in Syria. They can help broker a deal. They can not patrol their borders any better then we can. We must talk to the folks in the region and stop the stupid name calling.



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moderatelad

posted April 11, 2007 at 10:16 pm


Canuckelhead | 04.11.07 – 3:26 pm | #It’s called fixing Daddy’s mess in the sandbox. Excuse me – what mess. Bush #1 followed the UN and its mandate to get Saddam out of Kuwait and he did and then he shut down the war. Worked with the UN to get the inspectors in to Iraq. He followed the UN and all of you were pissed off because he did do more. What more – there was no more from the UN. (except for some of them to make a lot of money circumventing the sanctions that the UN had imposed – what a concept) Now Bush #2 did not follow the UN and decided to clean up what the UN had allowed to happen and well as other world leaders prior to him. So you see it has nothing to do with anything except hating any Republican in the White House. I wish you could make one standard to follow, it is the UN or not?There are other messes that need to be dealt with so it will be interesting what will happen in the next few years. Later – .



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Annie (UK)

posted April 11, 2007 at 10:40 pm


Sadly as we all knew, it’s all to do with oil for the West. Nothing to do with democracy, human rights etc. Most ordinary non-political Iraquis were better off under Saddam as countless refugees in the UK and other European countries will testify to even if politically they were oppossed to his regime, which for many years was propped up by the US in the person of Rumsfeld etc. Doubtless if there was oil in Zimbabwe we might do something about Mugabe but as it we don’t really care about the suffering and human rights abuses there any more than the US and UK governments really care about the people of Iraq.



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www.christianityismore.com

posted April 11, 2007 at 10:45 pm


“A Poorly Written, Thinly Veiled Allegorical Short Story” by Nate from: http://www.Christianityismore.comIn the year 2032, China, the new democratic world superpower, invaded America. The United States had been hauled before the U.N. security council because of its proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons, but, like so many other “rogue states” before it, it remained defiant. The U.N. attempted to send in weapons inspectors to check on the progress of U.S. weapons programs, but had been rebuffed.Every diplomatic avenue taken and failed, then, China concluded that invasion was the last resort for eliminating the threat America posed to the world– after all, it proliferated nuclear weapons, had supported nasty dictators, and had a nasty track record of invading sovereign states without U.N. permission. MORE… No matter, the Chinese leadership said. America had a formidable military, yes, but President Sherman had for several years been quite unpopular, including among military brass. “We will be greeted as liberators,” Chinese leaders crowed. “The people, realizing they could be free of such corrupt leadership, will be glad to see us!” Were they ever wrong. Americans, as it turned out, had a thing against foreign invaders, no matter what their opinion of their President. The military put up a heroic but ultimately futile stand agains the Chinese invaders, but hundreds of thousands of individual gun owners rushed to the streets to form makeshift militias. These proved devastating to the occupiers. Furthermore, the Chinese made the mistake of laying off several million workers from a number of corporations deemed corrupt. Their intention was noble: they would set up new companies based on Chinese ideology. Because of the violence and the fact that Americans were loath to accept the occupiers’ concepts, though, these companies never got off the ground, leaving millions of workers permanently unemployed. This, of course, had dire effects on the violence. Out of work, many normally-law-abiding citizens turned to militias as their only source of identity and money. These militia leaders, after all, paid handsomely to plant bombs and shoot Chinese soldiers, and many men and boys jumped at these opportunities. Although there are competing stories of what happened next, it seems that the nation spiraled into civil war from that point on. Warlords ruled the streets, paying their soldiers to kill others, and men willingly did it, as they had no other hope for money. Traditional social bonds broke down, and soon major battles were breaking out between left and right, caucasian and Mexican-American. People who would not normally have killed each other now believed in the doctrine of war after seeing so many of their loved ones killed. The war in America was long unpopular among a certain portion of the Chinese populace. But now that the war was getting bogged down, a fierce debate broke out. Some spoke thus: “What is wrong with these people? Do they not have the capacity to enjoy freedom? It just doesn’t make sense why they would turn to violence rather than helping to create a better society.” Those same people rushed to question the patriotism of their political opponents. “We need to win this thing,” they said. “There are terrorists in America who oppose the freedom we have brought, and they must be defeated.” Nevertheless, the Chinese government strangely did not address the economic problems that stood behind so much of the American violence. Sadly, Chinese politicians on both sides paid little attention to American wishes. Pull out, stay the course, good Americans versus terrorists– those were common words in the political debate. But few were listening to those Americans, some of whom were even involved in the violence, who wished for jobs that could help to curb the strife. Truly– it does not make sense. Or does it?



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moderatelad

posted April 11, 2007 at 10:47 pm


Annie (UK) | 04.11.07 – 4:45 pm | #So – what percentage of Iraqi oil does the US get? Answer – if we got nothing from Iraq starting tomorrow – we would never feel the pinch. Maybe it had something to do with oil but for other countries of the world not US. Better under Saddam – oh I don’t think so. Talk to the Kurds, sorry Saddam gassed many of them so there are fewer today than there would have been a number of years ago. But if blaming Oil makes your life easier – so be it.Later – .



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kevin s.

posted April 11, 2007 at 10:52 pm


“We are great at the tactical part of war. We can destroy anything…anywhere…anytime.” The tactical part of war goes beyond this, and we are great at most all of it. We are less good at nation building, and I’m not sure it’s possible to be all that good at it. “After destroying Sadaam, we did nothing to stop the looting and breakdown in society.” We did nothing? That’s a ridiculous statement. “So now, we are trying to keep a lid on the violence while hopefully the warring parties can work something out.” I don’t know that we are holding our breath for them to work something out. i think we are aggressively working to secure Baghdad from those who have no interest in working things out.”We never had much of a moral leg anyway. There was never a compelling moral reason given” Saddam refused to allow weapons inspectors to do their job. He established every appearance of having WMDs. Our moral reason (among many others) was that we could not afford to assume that our intelligence was wrong. You can disagree, but it is insufficient to just say that we didn’t give a sufficient reason. “after abu Ghraib, Rummy..Gonzales and the entire chain of command should have been punished.” On what basis? Should we then just fire the entire military every time there is a legal transgression, on the assumption that every member of our military inherently condones what every other member does?”Gonzales continus to play the part of a torturers apprentice.” I don’t know what this means. Under whom is Gonzales apprenticing? “Guantanimo(sp) should be closed and the occupants tried in a civil court now. Itis hard to be the beacon for democracy when you deny folks their civil rights.” To which civil rights are they entitled? Which of those have been denied? What does that have to do with democracy? “The factions just have to lay low and wait us out.” I don’t agree with this. The will wait us out if we give indication that this is a viable strategy for them. That said, if our military cannot bring about change, why do you have so much faith in this “diplomacy”? What does that diplomacy look like? How does it work? Or do we just do “diplomacy” as though it is a magic bullet? “The moderate Arabs have problems preaching tolerance because they will be seen as siding with the US.” Because they were so effectively preaching tolerance before 9/11.”So now, we are trying to keep a lid on the violence while hopefully the warring parties can work something out. This means we have to talk to people; especially those Bushco doesn’t like.”So do you mean to suggest that, while “Bushco” does not like the warring factions, that you do? “Juan Cole has a plan to end this thing which calls for real diplomacy and dealing with all the players.” I’ll bet it’s very reasoned and thoughtful. “It will require abandoning bases, our lust for their oil and any chance for a US-like Democracy.” And what do we get in return? We sacrifice our strategic purpose in the region in exchange for… What? “Syria has helped us by preventing terrorist.” What are you talking about? “Most of the 2 billion or so refugees end up in Syria.” Huh?”They can help broker a deal. They can not patrol their borders any better then we can.” Syria’s leadership will capitalize on our absence to continue to grapple for power. We will be giving them something in exchange for nothing. That isn’t diplomacy, it’s acquiescence.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 11, 2007 at 10:54 pm


“Why did we do this to the people of Iraq?” The whole concept of this question, excuse the snarkiness, is absurd. Excuse the snarkiness again, but I think it is also absurd, and ignorant to suggest that our presence in Iraq is the cause of the fight between the Sunni and the Shiites. KristopherWhile certainly the Sunnis and the Shiites did not care for each other before we invaded Iraq, they certainly were not killing each other under Sadam’s rule on the scale they are now. Sadam ruled with an iron fist (not attempting to justify it in any way) which kept the violence in check. So NO it is not absurd to suggest that our presence is causing the violence between the Shia and Sunnis. To dismiss the question of why we did this to Iraq as absurd is absurd in and of itself. We did it. We invaded. We are responsible. “…I don’t think that there is any way for us to have an intelectual conversation or dialogue. ” Kristopher Point well taken. You have incontrovertably proved it.



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kevin s.

posted April 11, 2007 at 10:55 pm


“Sadly as we all knew, it’s all to do with oil for the West.” As who all knew? That’s not the consensus position at all.



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kevin s.

posted April 11, 2007 at 10:57 pm


“Truly– it does not make sense. Or does it?” It absolutely does. It demonstrates why applying moral equivalency to this situation doesn’t work. Incidentally, we are permitted by the United Nations to have nuclear weapons.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 11, 2007 at 11:04 pm


“after abu Ghraib, Rummy..Gonzales and the entire chain of command should have been punished.” On what basis? Should we then just fire the entire military every time there is a legal transgression, on the assumption that every member of our military inherently condones what every other member does? Kevin S. On the basis of accountability- if it is proven that Rumsfeld ordered or acquiesced in it, he too should be punished. Your response was a red herring. Obviously you would not fire or punish the whole military for the actions of a few. That is why the person said “the whole chain of command.” The chain of command is not the whole military. You are misrepresenting what the person was saying. Again, if it can be proven that the orders came from the top (i.e. Rummy) or he failed to act in a timely manner when he became aware of the abuses, then, yes he should be held accountable.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 11, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Incidentally, we are permitted by the United Nations to have nuclear weapons. kevin s.Well that makes it right. That fully convinces me of the propriety of having nuclear arms!



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bobc

posted April 11, 2007 at 11:16 pm


kevin s. Sorry kevin s….I heard your story from those who sent me to VN in 1967. It was garbage then and it is garbage now. I don’t understand why you think we deserve anything for our Iraq debacle other then condemnation. We invaded them for our own national hubris and we deserve to be humiliated and shunned. We don’t have the right to impose our will on anyone. We lacked the moral authority to invade Iraq. We lacked the moral authority to invade VN. That didn’t work out so well either. Neither will this invasion. Syria has done a lot to prevent terrorist acts against the US Who do you think gave us Zargawi? Per an article in Military.com, the Syrians tipped off the US so we could take him out. Read about Syria’s actions here: http://www.counterpunch.org/abourezk04102007.html Learn about Juan Cole here. http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041007D.shtml His plan is to make deals with those who are there. We can’t win this thing militarily. We can’t kill our way out of there. We gotta do deals or everyone keeps dieing. Sadaam was an evil person; as well as some 25 or so other despots who murder their own people. If Bush had gone to the UN and made a case for regime change that the whole world to get behind then I would support him. Read about the refugees here (National Catholic Reporter)..The number is over a million..sorry..been a while since I read it. http://ncrcafe.org/node/677 Anyone who thinks the way out of Iraq is by burying all who oppose us has no idea about 4GW or humanity. We need to cut off the funding except for getting the troops out. Move them out of Iraq to either Kuwait or Afgan where the real culprit bin Laden is. (rememmber him?)



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 12, 2007 at 12:02 am


So you see it has nothing to do with anything except hating any Republican in the White House. I wish you could make one standard to follow, it is the UN or not? Oh, PUH-LEEZE!!!! Bush 41 had one objective, to eject Saddam from Kuwait. That was done. Had we gone any further the coalition would have fractured and we might be right where we are now.



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MapCell

posted April 12, 2007 at 12:05 am


I wonder what President Bush meant by the specific criteria of “a peaceful and representative government that protects the rights of all citizens?” after all, our beloved country doesn’t protect the rights of its own citizens all the time. In the meantime, while officials figure out what such vague statements can mean we have at least succeed in uniting much of the country against our troops. Yet i imagine if all of them disappeared homeward on Mark Pryor’s secret date not a single Iraqi citizen would be better off and quite a few would be worse. While our naive, ignorant, blind blundering into a culture we hadn’t associated with for fifteen years have given plenty of reason for burning anger the real enemy is 45 years of repressed hatred that is exploding like a volcano. The sin are country is paying for even with the life of some of our best and brightest is letting a clueless administration giddy with power and pretentions of self-righteous vengence uncork this volcano. The executive of this strategy has no better solution right now than firmly insisting on more guns, more bodies and more blood. So much for learning from those “mistakes have been made” remarks.



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Jeremy

posted April 12, 2007 at 12:14 am


Oh, come on folks. Is anyone really still arguing that we are in Iraq for any other reason than oil?! I mean really boys and girls, all the other excuses have simply run out and have been exposed for the fabrications that they were now we are left with the truth, and that is that the West (read America) has a massive interest in who controls the Iraqi oil fields. If you want real proof of this then I challenge you to look at other nations who are in serious need of “Liberation” that we aren’t lifting a finger to help. Darfur comes to mind, and Rwanda before that. We entered Iraq under the guise of WMD, which changed to erradicating terrorists and when both of those proved false then the rhetoric turned to “liberation”, well I guess third times the charm eh? Let’s just get real, because there are other nations who’s people could really stand to be “liberated” yet why are we not there? The simple answer is that they have no oil! Anything else is just propoganda.



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Jeremy

posted April 12, 2007 at 12:21 am


BTW, I love the line from “Syriana”, “They think a hundred years ago you were living in tents out here in the desert chopping each other’s heads off and that’s exactly where you’ll be in another hundred years” when the oil runs out, watch how fast nobody will care any longer about the Middle East.



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Canuckelhead

posted April 12, 2007 at 2:06 am


Moderatelad says: “Answer – if we got nothing from Iraq starting tomorrow – we would never feel the pinch.” Right. Perhaps you can then explain why the Washington energy wizards were so recently up here in the heart of the Canadian oilpatch attempting to strike a deal for more Canadian oil since, ahem, by their own admission, things in the middle East aren’t as certain as they were 4 years ago when Dumsfeld, Dick, et al, were assuring us it was all over but for the Haliburton sponsored ticker-tape parade down Broadway?



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Canuckelhead

posted April 12, 2007 at 2:14 am


Jeremy’s 6:19 and 6:26 posts are perceptive. Bravo!Why didn’t/isn’t the U.S. beat(ing) a path to the door of Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Sudan if “liberation” is what Iraq is really all about? Or do the people of those countries just happen to be a little less equal in the eyes of certain interests in Washington?



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Bren

posted April 12, 2007 at 3:14 am


The U.S. created the conditions for the killings of the Sunnis and Shiites because no one did their homework long enough to understand the history between these two groups. And then when they tossed out the civil servants who had worked for Saddam, they lost all those who knew how to make things happen. Furthermore, there was almost no one in the American force who spoke Arabic. And, when things got really dangerous, American program developers (i.e., the administrators) spent the entire time in the Green Zone. NEVER EVER seeing real Iraqi men, women and children. In the beginning, there were a number of interpreters who tried to be helpful to Americans, even though they were putting themselves in danger. But then they were treated so badly by those they tried to help, that they decided it wasn’t worth risking their lives. The New Yorker recently had a detailed story about the interpreters. Well worth reading.



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moderatelad

posted April 12, 2007 at 3:19 am


Canuckelhead | 04.11.07 – 8:11 pm | #‘…by their own admission, things in the middle East aren’t as certain as they were 4 years ago…’ It could also be that Iran is about to develope a nuclear weapon and change the whole paradigm of the Mideast and the world will be twiddling their thumds while all this happens. We do not get a whole lot of oil from Iraq but we do from other counties in the region. So it is good to look for other sources – too bad we can get our own in ANWAR – but you need to deal with the enviromentalists about that one. Canada can drill up there but we (the US) can’t – you figure. Later – .



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moderatelad

posted April 12, 2007 at 4:04 am


Rick Nowlin | 04.11.07 – 6:07 pm | #That is not what was being written by the Washington Post, NYT or comments by Kennedy-Palosi-Feinstein. They were PO because Bush Sr. ‘didn’t finish the job’. So there is a double standard and which ever way the political wind is blowing – you can count on Teddy to piss into the wind and spray the Republicans. Later – .



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neuro_nurse

posted April 12, 2007 at 4:22 am


moderatelad Have you gone off your meds or something? Seriously, I used to be impressed by some of your posts, but lately they’ve turned into rather pointless rants.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 12, 2007 at 4:24 am


stike pointless, make that tangential. It’s hard to follow your line of thought.



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jerry

posted April 12, 2007 at 5:23 am


jim; did you read your own sojo voice of the day? from what you say or quote, you would rather have the saddem regime. do you liberal, new age “can’t everyone get along” types just get it? the idea is to stop the extreme muslims from attacking us. by engaging we keep them away. the sunnis and the shia will soon get tired of the killing and stop. the democrats will get us out of iraq and into iran soon and around we go. you can continue your march toward renewing and enlightening christians and meeting more elite academians, politicians and famous people. hopefully you will get your debates/conversations with dobson and gain enough information for a new book. nobody likes war but we all like our lifestyles. jim: get a job, sign up to help at a soup kitchen someplace, walk the border in arizona for a week, ride with the police in detroit and los angeles for a week, take off your robes, and take your ideas and rallys to the middle east where you can stop the muslim against muslim carnage. you have milked this great country we live in enough. your’s is not God’s politics, its wallis politics.



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Donny

posted April 12, 2007 at 1:53 pm


These ranting and shouting Shiites are the worlds greatest ingrates. They wouldn’t have the luxury of demonstrating against America if it were not for America. Islam . . . what does it do to so ruin the minds of so many people? The only thing Bush was wrong on about Iraq, was that Muslims cannot change in their hatred for anyone not Muslim.



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Donny

posted April 12, 2007 at 2:06 pm


And these Shia’s are better people than Saddam Hussein how? They murder their enemies without torture, or kill with a purpose?



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Kristopher

posted April 12, 2007 at 3:38 pm


I guess I just don’t get it… Where is the condemnation for Hilary Clinton, or John Kerry who voted for the war? Every one is ranting and raving about Bush, and our lust for oil, but it took a lot of democrats to get us over there also… why are they so clean in the eyes of SOJO and the liberal elite? I also don’t understand why some of you think that diplomacy and creating dialogue would work with people who are willing to strap bombs to their children and blow them up in crowds of people. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?



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Bob B.

posted April 12, 2007 at 3:46 pm


About 3 years ago I heard a retired general (unfortunately, I have forgotten his name)on the radio say that it does not matter when we leave Iraq (tomorrow, 6 months from now, 2 years from now, whenever), because whenever we leave Iraq will descend into chaos. His point was that we might as well leave now and save American lives in this exercise in futility. Unfortunately, the present administration has placed us in a no-win situation. Do we really think that we can eventually get Iraq to the point where they have a democratic government that will be able to maintain a reasonable level of security? If not, why do we stay?



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RadicalModerate

posted April 12, 2007 at 4:03 pm


Right now I think staying in Iraq is the best of all of the bad options. And, sadly, this probably means we need to increase troop numbers, not pull out. Those who say they were better off under Saddam seem to imply that tyranny is great, as long as the violence is kept under wraps. Yes, we opened a pandora’s box by taking Saddam down, but in the long run I still think it will prove to be good for Iraq. If we can get them to stop killing each other, and stop outside countries from interfering (sending in insurgents, training terrorists, etc.), Iraq will be better in the long run. Pulling our troops out will not accomplish that. It would only allow them to kill each other at a faster pace. Is that what anyone wants?



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 12, 2007 at 4:28 pm


It could also be that Iran is about to develop a nuclear weapon and change the whole paradigm of the Mideast and the world will be twiddling their thumbs while all this happens. Do you remember what I wrote on another thread? Iran developing a nuke at this point is analagous to a pop gun with India, Pakistan and possibly Israel in its general vicinity already having them. Develop a sense of proportion, please. That is not what was being written by the Washington Post, NYT or comments by Kennedy-Palosi-Feinstein. They were PO because Bush Sr. ‘didn’t finish the job’. I don’t remember that. Where is the condemnation for Hillary Clinton, or John Kerry who voted for the war? Truth be told, Hillary is actually in some trouble with her presidential run because she has not recanted her vote, which is one reason Barack Obama has been able to raise a ton of money. And from what I understand, Kerry does now regret voting for the war. I also don’t understand why some of you think that diplomacy and creating dialogue would work with people who are willing to strap bombs to their children and blow them up in crowds of people. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Suicide bombings are carried out only by desperate people; once we eliminate the conditions that make them so desperate we might be able to talk. Those who say they were better off under Saddam seem to imply that tyranny is great, as long as the violence is kept under wraps. Yes, we opened a pandora’s box by taking Saddam down, but in the long run I still think it will prove to be good for Iraq. If we can get them to stop killing each other, and stop outside countries from interfering (sending in insurgents, training terrorists, etc.), Iraq will be better in the long run. Ain’t gonna happen, and that’s the point — it’s a similar situation as the Balkans post-Tito but perhaps multiplied.



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Donny

posted April 12, 2007 at 4:32 pm


Where are the great marches against Islam? No matter whether Sunni or Shiite, they are murdering en masse like it was OK. How many people TODAY . . . were killed by a Muslim for Islam???? Many. And they join the countless numbers of humans killed by Islamic aspirations and goals. No Democrat or Republican, no Brit or anyone else “involved in the Iraq war,” is as wantonly murderous as these peoples. Sorry. It is a provable fact. It is odd that Americans and Europeans are denouncing war and hating George Bush, when Muslims worldwide are slaughtering people without so much as a thought about their individual rights. That is to say, the individual rights of the murdered. NOT THE MURDERERS. If Jim Wallis and his hordes of GOP hating leftists, want to leave his hypocrisy for once, it is time for great marches against Islamic promoted wars. Have they ever ended?????



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Kristopher

posted April 12, 2007 at 4:38 pm


“It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late.” Though this quote is from Robert E Lee back in 1863, I think it holds true for today. Not only for the media, but for bloggers, professor’s of modern middle east history, and overall know-it-alls.



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Jeremy

posted April 12, 2007 at 5:00 pm


Oh wow this is fun. I don’t get how so many here think that criticism of the Bush Administration means that we are “Leftist” and “Liberals”. As if they are the only one’s who see that there is something “foul in the state of Denmark.” I offer critique not because I am a “Leftist” or a “Liberal” of which I am neither, instead I offer critique and challenge because I see that this administration is corrupt on many different levels. Oh and guess what, the reason that Hillary, and Kerry aren’t being challenged here is because they are NOT the Commander and Chief; news flash Bush IS! He broke off dialogue prior to going to war, and he rushed us into a battle that we were unprepared to fight, and did it by convincing the world with false evidence and fabricated reasons, all to cover the fact that he wants the oil. Oh, and about the comment that God is not in Wallis’ politics, well, he is certainly more in Wallis’ politics than in Bush’s. BTW, here’s a picture of “God’s President”; and his “victory salute”. http://www.pensitoreview.com/images/photo-george-bush-finger.jpg



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moderatelad

posted April 12, 2007 at 5:21 pm


neuro_nurse | 04.11.07 – 10:27 pm | #Sorry nurse – I was not myself in many was yesterday – job that I hate more than like. Things that should just come together and be fine are not working out just yet. A parent with Alzheimer s that the meds seem to be making it worse rather than better. It is a terrible condition and frustrating for the person because they know, at times, that they are not thinking straight when they try to do things correct. I would not wish this condition on my worst enemy or that neighbor that caused us so much hardship growing up. You loose a little every week and therefore everyone looses.I will be better in the future nurse – blessings. Later – a kinder, gentler lad .



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 12, 2007 at 5:31 pm


It is odd that Americans and Europeans are denouncing war and hating George Bush, when Muslims worldwide are slaughtering people without so much as a thought about their individual rights. No, Donny, it’s not “worldwide,” just in places where they control. Furthermore, Easterners as a whole, not just Arabs or Muslims in that part of the world, don’t really believe in “individual rights” — that’s a distinctly Western concept. Though this quote is from Robert E. Lee back in 1863, I think it holds true for today. Not only for the media, but for bloggers, professors of modern middle east history, and overall know-it-alls. Reminds me of the old saw “War is too important to be left to the generals.” That is to say, wars result often from stupidity — which is what has happened in this case.



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Jeremy

posted April 12, 2007 at 5:58 pm


“That is to say, wars result often from stupidity — which is what has happened in this case.” I wish I could say that it was “stupidity” that got us into Iraq, the problem is that I don’t think that the reasons were that benign. Oh, I love the idea that some how be we criticize the Bush administration then that means that we are giving a pass to the terrorists. LOL, its this same sort of “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” mentality that is the cause of all this mess. I like this approach better; Mark 9:40 “For he who is not against us is for us.” Jesus does not assume that everyone is an enemy, Bush on the other hand apparently does, and he gets his evidence when someone criticizes him.



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Peter Calabrese

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:02 pm


Actually is not occupied at all – their own government is and has been running everything. There is nothing about the situation in Iraq that resembles occupation. If anything the country was not occupied long enough to make sure that extremists were disarmed and locked away. If anything we turned too quickly from victor to friend. In Germany, Italy, and Japan we kept a tight reign on things until we were sure things were stable. The specter of occupation is raised now by people who want us to leave so that they can topple democracy and install their own Baathist style exploitation system probably under the tutelage fo Iran and/or Syria.



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Scott Harrop

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:02 pm


There’s another angle on this that I wish Jim Wallis & Sojourners would more directly confront — the role of “Christians” in deeming the invasions of Iraq then (and Iran now) as “holy wars.” (as fights simply between “good and evil”) And where are those American Christian-zionists now on the subject of the horrors that have befallen Iraq’s once vibrant Christian community (sic). Totally unaware of what they helped catalyze…. Instead, they’re praying for Bush to “liberate” Iran next…. I wrote a long reflective essay on these subjects (christian zionism and the Iraqi Christians), titled, “the mother of all sermons” and posted it here: http://justworldnews.org/archives/002447.html



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kevin s.

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:07 pm


“Well that makes it right. That fully convinces me of the propriety of having nuclear arms!” You took my point out of context (a response to the thinly-veiled hoo-hah), and you did so intentionally. If what you are saying is so obviously true, why resort to cheap tactics? “Again, if it can be proven that the orders came from the top (i.e. Rummy) or he failed to act in a timely manner when he became aware of the abuses, then, yes he should be held accountable.” Right. But since that has not been proven, to say that he must be held accountable regardless (as Bobc did) is akin to saying that we must hold everyone in the military accountable for the actions of everyone else.



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Kristopher

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:10 pm


“Oh and guess what, the reason that Hillary, and Kerry aren’t being challenged here is because they are NOT the Commander and Chief; news flash Bush IS!” Maybe you don’t understand how our government works. A President cannot just decide he wants to go to war, and then the war starts. “He broke off dialogue prior to going to war,” How much more dialogue was needed? Did we need an 18th UN resolution, since the first 17 didn’t work? I would like to know what you think the cutoff should be on resolutions. “and he rushed us into a battle that we were unprepared to fight,” again, I don’t think you know exactly how this government works. “and did it by convincing the world with false evidence and fabricated reasons,” So did the president lie? Did he know that that the intel was false? Did he personally falsify the intel, with the rest of the conspirators, and give that intel to Hilary Clinton and John Kerry so that they would vote for the war, and make their own cases about how they knew that Saddam had WMD’s? Where is the evidence? Where are the indictments? Or does your hatred for Bush cause you to create crazy ideas in your head, that you believe to be truth? Maybe the Mason’s caused this, or the Centurians? Maybe it was Farrakhan’s mother wheel that caused all of this, and falsified the intel. Anymore crazy ideas?



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bpf

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:16 pm


So… would pulling US troops to the borders of Iraq (and securing them–especially where they meet Iran), be a worthwhile objective? Can we effectively stop the civil war we have loosed in Iraq? Should we try to stop it?Perhaps the “idea” of Iraq is done. These people are citizens of their regions, no? Would Balkanization be a bad thing?I suppose the oil companies would answer “yes.”



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kevin s.

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:23 pm


“I don’t understand why you think we deserve anything for our Iraq debacle other then condemnation.” I have explained why at length on this blog. Perhaps you could point out where you take issue with me? “We invaded them for our own national hubris and we deserve to be humiliated and shunned.” This sounds powerful, but what does it actually mean? Was it an act of hubris by virtue of the fact that we stayed after toppling Saddam?”We lacked the moral authority to invade Iraq. We lacked the moral authority to invade VN.” On what basis did we lack the moral authority to invade Vietnam? Clearly, the war wasn’t executed well, but a number of people agreed with Kennedy that Vietnam needed to be invaded (and if you don’t think this was Kennedy’s initiative, read up). “That didn’t work out so well either. Neither will this invasion.” How did the issue of moral authority contribute to our military failures in these cases. “Who do you think gave us Zargawi? Per an article in Military.com, the Syrians tipped off the US so we could take him out.” That is not the same as preventing terrorist attacks. Syria has and will actively engage in terrorism. It is absurd to suggest otherwise, and I am uncomfortable handing Iraq over to them. “Learn about Juan Cole here. http://www.truthout.org/docs_200…6/ 041007D.shtml” I know plenty about Juan Cole. He is a joke outside of the far-left. Truthout is a joke just about everywhere.”His plan is to make deals with those who are there.” That’s nice.”We can’t win this thing militarily. We can’t kill our way out of there. We gotta do deals or everyone keeps dieing.” How do the deals prevent dying? Are you advocating a three state solution in Iraq, or are you advocating that Syria provide protection? What do you want to see happen, and how will it reduce terrorism and prevent death? “If Bush had gone to the UN and made a case for regime change that the whole world to get behind then I would support him.” He could have had a picture of Saddam riding a nuclear bomb with a pistol in his hand and France would not have been on board. It was not in their economic interests. In fact, as we later discoverd, it wasn’t in the U.N.’s best interst either.”Anyone who thinks the way out of Iraq is by burying all who oppose us has no idea about 4GW or humanity.” There are plenty of people in this world who oppose us. By no means are we making an effort to bury them all. “We need to cut off the funding except for getting the troops out.” Before we have done diplomacy. Should we wave our magic diplomacy wand to make everything okay before we cut off our funding? “Move them out of Iraq to either Kuwait or Afgan where the real culprit bin Laden is. (rememmber him?)” Yep. I remember him. Part of our effort is to catch him, but part of it is forging stability in Iraq. You think Syria holds the key to stability. I fervently disagree.



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kevin s.

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:24 pm


“I suppose the oil companies would answer “yes.” As would the Kurds.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:25 pm


Did he personally falsify the intel, with the rest of the conspirators, and give that intel to Hillary Clinton and John Kerry so that they would vote for the war, and make their own cases about how they knew that Saddam had WMD’s? Where is the evidence? Where are the indictments? Those aren’t coming — because the right wing is so entrenched in this country’s bureacracy that it would do nothing that hurts Bush. Karl Rove made sure those wouldn’t happen.



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bpf

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:36 pm


Who wants to offer up a few suggestions on what we ought to do now? I mean, it’s fun to bash the president at cocktail parties (and here) but where does it get us? Will it be up to the next president to pull us out? Seems pretty clear we won’t find Osama during Bush reign. You are all serious, active thinkers (as well as critics). Someone throw down!



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jerry

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:01 pm


as i read the comments is see no solutions coming from the sojo sympathizers. only criticism of everything that they do not like. i see no useful practical, positive, tolerance. no room for maybe being wrong, no acceptance of others ideas and a hateful attitude toward the present decision makers. i see little people with lots of books looking out the window at a world that they do not like. might i suggest that these critics start doing something to implement their ideas. and start loving this great country that is verrrry generous, courageous, and filled with people that like it here, and want to help people who are being slaughtered and dying of hunger. if you don’t like what is being done then start telling us who we can vote for that will do it your way.



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Randy G

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:04 pm


Some one throw down? Okay…We are way too nice and way to freakin politically correct. The Sunnis and the Shia’s and unfortunately most of Islam would appear to understand only two things death and violence. They have a choice to get along with each ohter and they have chosen not to. The God of this universe went to great lengths to give us the ability to choose, they have chosen. Solution (tough one for all you policitcally correct conservatives and liberals) contain them and let them kill each other…I think someone said they will eventually get tired of killing each other…but they won’t and never have. After enough sectarian bloodshed someone like Al Sadr, Ahmadinijad, or whoever may appear before the UN to plead for peace but not until they kill enough of each other. If we can somehow contain them and then leave them to there own devices. Not an easy task in a country as big as Iraq but they have proven to this point that they cannot govern themselves or be governed except under threat of death the way Saddam did it. Let them have at themselves we shoudl first distroy their oil fields and lets see how long they can live without Haliburton, Exxon, the US or any other coutnry not willing to go rebuild their wealth unitl they get there act togeether. It would cost less to feed them all than to continue the war. They have nothing without oil so lets distroy theri fields and then let them distroy each other and then see what happens. By the way we are not the ones driving truck and car bombs into Baghdad to distroy innocent lives. They are! So let them do it, pull out to the perimeters and see how long it takes for them to realize just how stupid they really are.



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Kristopher

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:10 pm


“Those aren’t coming — because the right wing is so entrenched in this country’s bureacracy that it would do nothing that hurts Bush. Karl Rove made sure those wouldn’t happen.” The democrats, who just took power in congress, can’t do anything? Or is the fact that there is no vast conspiracy, and there is no evidence to show that Bush knowingly lied, and led us to war holding them back? They have time for all of these other waste-of-time investigations, like the firing US attorney’s. Are you suggesting that the dems are choosing to not go after Bush for all of this? Do they need to be investigated for not performing an investigation? Is there an even bigger conspiracy? Are they all in this together? Or is this just as absurd as the original idea that Bush lied?



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Randy G

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:11 pm


By the way John Stewarts comment at the beginning is as rediculous as he is. The people there actually have to want to build a nation. We assume in our coccoon of America that everybody wants what we want. Wake up John in your $3 to $5 million home.



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IRAQI

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:15 pm


Randy G– you are very mistaken in suggesting that all we know is violence and death– it is your implementations that has caused such upset. Furthermore we cannot shun our eyes away from the possibility that the sectarian issue may of started by way of an american hand! could that not be possible in order to guarantee their presence in years to come filtering our oil away to feed your appetite, you are ignorant and un-educated — i suggest you fly over there and with any luck well as you say… You seem to also forget that



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Kristopher

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:15 pm


Another point that we are missing is that not only do they not like each other, they hate us and Israel as well. We could try to contain them and let them kill themselves, but then what is stopping them from trying to come after us again? Crazy monkey man Ahmadinijad would love to annihilate not only Israel, but us too. He has said it numerous times.



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Jeremy

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:15 pm


“Maybe you don’t understand how our government works. A President cannot just decide he wants to go to war, and then the war starts.” Maybe you don’t understand how the military works, because it is the President who gives the orders for how a war is fought, and while Kerry and Clinton voted to give Bush the authority to go to war, it was Bush that decided to ignore the alternatives like the “3rd Option” described in Wallis’ book; and it is also the Commander and Chief who decideds how the military fight the war and quite frankly the results in Iraq speak for themselves in this regard.”He broke off dialogue prior to going to war,” Apparently you didn’t read Wallis’ book, and as such you are unaware that there was a 3rd Option that was being discussed at the highest levels of the British government and that was being deliberately ignored by Bush. This false dichotomy of “War or Appeasement” that the Neo-Cons created is just that false; there were other options and they were ignored in order to go to war. “So did the president lie? Did he know that that the intel was false? Where is the evidence?” The President stood before the world and claimed that he “knew” that Iraq had WMD. Where is that evidence? Where is that proof? He said that they couldn’t reveal the evidence because it might blow the cover of certain agents, well now that Saddam is dead I think it might be ok to explore this evidence.Maybe someday with the Freedom of Information Act we might find out exactly what made Bush so sure that there was WMD. BTW, just because you don’t want there to be a conspiracy, doesn’t mean that there isn’t. I imagine that there were many who didn’t want Nixon to be part of a conspiracy, too bad that they were wrong.



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Randy G

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:23 pm


Give me a break. You going to try and tell me that right now they Sunni and Shia cannot come to the table and try to make this work. Hatred and distrust of people,a misguided belief in a religion that says killing is okay for the right reasons, is the overridding cause of the issues there now. You are telling me we are continuing the violence there, how about Al Sadr others calls for what is going on there. Come Iraqi you must be kidding. We dont need their oil look around there are plenty of greedy, wealth hungry Arabs more than willing to do whatever it takes to keep a flow of oil to the wealthy west. Wake Up.



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Kristopher

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:27 pm


You are right I didn’t read Wallis’ book. And I find it laughable that your facts about the war, and how we came to it come from such a biased reference. “Maybe you don’t understand how the military works, because it is the President who gives the orders for how a war is fought” Sure the president is the head of the military, but it is his generals, and men on the ground that make the tactical decisions. He has said numerous times that if his generals(active, not retired ex-clintonites) told him that the strategy needed to be changed, he would let them do it. He does have the ultimate say, but our generals are running this war. I know that Mr. Nowlin doesn’t have any confidence in our generals, but I didn’t say that, he did, in a round about way. I am sure he supports our troops though, just not their leaders or the mission.



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Jeremy

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:28 pm


Here’s a nice article about the Neo-Con entrenchment. http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2007/04/12/bush_destruction/



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Kristopher

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:28 pm


Oh yeah, the little jab about Nixon was as laughable as your conspiracy theories.



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Jeremy

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:36 pm


“You are right I didn’t read Wallis’ book. And I find it laughable that your facts about the war, and how we came to it come from such a biased reference.” That’s a shame because most learned people tend to look for truth in all areas, even in those places and those voices with whom they disagree. Lest they simply ignore all the voices that don’t sound like theirs. “Sure the president is the head of the military, but it is his generals, and men on the ground that make the tactical decisions. He has said numerous times that if his generals(active, not retired ex-clintonites) told him that the strategy needed to be changed, he would let them do it. He does have the ultimate say, but our generals are running this war. ” So, as THE Commander and Chief of the strongest military force the world has ever known is not taking that responsibility but instead is deferring it to others?! So, who is the Commander and Chief if not the President? Or Maybe the President is making the calls, and really is responsible for the situation in Iraq. And, maybe this shift of blame to the Generals is just a ploy to give Bush a pass.



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Kristopher

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:46 pm


I wasn’t trying to shift any kind of blame onto the generals at all. I don’t think that there is anything to blame them for. I don’t think that Bush needs a pass either. I think that this war is a hard one, and he is sticking in there and seeing that it is completed. He is showing that he has backbone by not running at the first sight of a roadblock, or by giving up, cutting his losses, and retreating. You call it arrogance, I call it character. I know the whole premise of your argument is the fact that we shouldn’t be in this war in the first place, and on that issue we will always disagree. We are in the war, and now we need to finish it.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:47 pm


moderatelad I began to regret the character of my last post shortly after I put it up. I meant to express concern, but my attempt at humor was in very poor taste. I m sorry.I m also very sorry to hear about your parent with Alzheimer s. Professionally, I ve seen just how horrible of a disease that is. I watched my own grandmother, a woman who was one of the most influential people in my life, deteriorate into mild dementia shortly before she died. It was very disturbing for me to see that very strong woman lose her independence. I also know first hand about crappy jobs I was on the verge of giving notice last week. Please accept my apology. In the words of Woody Guthrie, Take it easy, but take it!



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Randy G

posted April 12, 2007 at 7:56 pm


To Jim Wallis, They need to be liberated alright. Liberated from themselves, from hatred, from intolerance, from a belief system that condones killing themselves and innocents in the name their god. So politically correct, speak truth Jim. Your books will still sell. I am all for pulling out they have proved that they cannot govern themselves or be governed except under the threat of death. Bring Saddam back. Oh yeah they taunted him as well to his death.



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Jeremy

posted April 12, 2007 at 8:03 pm


“I know the whole premise of your argument is the fact that we shouldn’t be in this war in the first place, and on that issue we will always disagree. We are in the war, and now we need to finish it.” Actually, that’s only half of my argument, the other half comes from the words of Jesus when he said “Go and sin no more” to the woman caught in the act of adultery. It means that once you realize that you are in the wrong then stop doing the wrong. We know that we are in the Iraq for the wrong reasons, but continuing in our wrongness will never make it right. Instead what is needed is repentence and a change of ways. The argument that you are using is like the bully who gets into a fight and then halfway through thinks “Hmmm, I really shouldn’t be doing this, but hey I’d better finish the job.”



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Bren

posted April 12, 2007 at 8:32 pm


Two things. Recent posters seem to have forgotten that before the U.S. toppled Saddam, they supported him, propped him up, even. So it’s too simplistic to say that all the current Sunni-Shia violence is due to Iraqi ignorance, ungratefulness, or whatever. Here’s the New Yorker link I referred to in an earlier post. It offers us a number of clues about how to change what we do in Iraq. After all, it seems, with so many Americans staying always within the Green Zone, this is the first war where some people actually GAIN weight! Read it for yourselves at: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/26/070326fa_fact_packer



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moderatelad

posted April 12, 2007 at 8:34 pm


neuro_nurse | 04.12.07 – 1:52 pm | #No apology needed – I greatly respect your opinion and give you (and right now only you) to give me a “gab” every once in a while. I had a job that was just this side of heaven in many ways until sonny boy took it south. (in more ways than one) I just didn’t think that the next job God would provide would be so close to the other place. (I wonder what I am to learn here…?) God’s blessing on you and your family. Later – .



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Milt Eisenhardt

posted April 12, 2007 at 8:50 pm


There is no easy answer and the results are as varied as the opinions. The U.S. continues to get blamed for the violence that is caused by criminals and outside forces that are just waiting until we leave so they can take over. But on the other hand, leaving would show we listen and we can always reenter if asked, but not as an agressor. More than anything, we need a leader who can lead with integrity and honesty, something we lack at present.



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traditionalist

posted April 12, 2007 at 8:55 pm


I can debate issues with those who disagree with me, but dripping sarcasm cuts off any intelligent conversation. It seems to me that for many far left liberals, bashing the USA, the President and any who might disagree with them, is their only means of discussion. I wonder who they will blame when the next wave of terrorists hit this country? Notice, I didn’t say “if” I said when. Will they still defend those who would literally cut our heads off?



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Jeremy

posted April 12, 2007 at 9:11 pm


Traditionalist: Notice that when Jesus says “But I say to you, love your enemies” he doesn’t finish it with “to death.” No one ever said Jesus’ way was easy, and wouldn’t cost our lives to do it his way. Heck, he wasn’t even given that luxury nor were his disciples, so what makes us think that we should have it?



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Kristopher

posted April 12, 2007 at 9:27 pm


How are we looking out for the least of these, if we aren’t trying to protect them? From terrorists that is. Jesus did say to love our enemies, but that doesn’t mean turn around while they kill us.



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Jeremy

posted April 12, 2007 at 9:40 pm


Kristopher: the thing is that the way you presented your last post makes me think that you believe that the two things cannot happen at the same time. So how do we care for the least of these while loving our enemies? Well, how does our police force work in this country? We protect life, all life, until the taking of a life is forced and is the last resort. Those are the rules of engagement for police, and they are far different than those of the Military. We start by changing our approach to one that seeks to protect life. Some will immediately say that the terrorists take advantage of that system, and I simply ask in response “Does that mean that its not the RIGHT thing to do?”Do you know how Al Sader won the hearts of the people around him in Iraq? Simple, he fed them. What about actually bringing in more aid to Iraq than we do weapons and bullets. What about ending the cycles of violence? We talk all the time in this country about ending the cycles of violence and that it starts with forgiveness and reconciliation, and mostly putting down the gun first. Well, I guess that is only good for domestic policy because it surely doesn’t show up in our international policy.



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Randy G

posted April 12, 2007 at 10:03 pm


Our police force works here because most of the people here attempt to abide by the laws. Why, because of the morals and basic expectations set up over 200 years ago that have been handed down, all of which were grounded in the Bible. I agree with your point about cycles of violence, loving our enemies etc.Lets give that a try but you would have thought that liberation from a brutal dictator would have given both Shia and Sunni some cause to want try and put together something that works but no! Only more violence and bloodshed. al Sadr may have fed them but he most definitely has an ulterior motive religous or political or whatever he still sends them off to do violence agianst other Iraqis and the US and anyone else who does not agree with his point of view of a fully Muslim government under his Ayatolah type control. And thus we are back to the point…we had a goal of a free country with police and obeyin the laws etc. etc. and they did not. You can quote Christ to them all day long, you can love them all day long, you can feed them, buy their oil etc but as long as they chose Allah we are not going anywhere. Christ has not not given up on them nor will He but he would have walked away from them until they chose Him.



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Kristopher

posted April 12, 2007 at 10:21 pm


“We protect life, all life, until the taking of a life is forced and is the last resort. Those are the rules of engagement for police, and they are far different than those of the Military.” If I understand you right, you are of the mindset of letting people kill other people, then catch them and punish them afterward, but don’t try to stop the murder from happening. If I am interpreting you right, I think that you are inherently wrong. It is almost as if you are advocating suicide. Do you not think that we are called to protect ourselves? Maybe you don’t understand our enemy, and the fact that it isn’t food, or aide that they want from us. They want us to die. They hate every being of our way of life. They hate the freedom that we have to practice our own religions, they hate the freedom that we have period. They feel called to kill those that don’t convert to their religion. These extreme islamo fascists do need our love, and I pray for them a lot. But the fact is that while I am praying for them to have some sort of Jesus experience without shunning it or cursing it, they are praying for God to give them the resources to kill me.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 12, 2007 at 10:39 pm


The democrats, who just took power in congress, can’t do anything? Or is the fact that there is no vast conspiracy, and there is no evidence to show that Bush knowingly lied, and led us to war holding them back? They have time for all of these other waste-of-time investigations, like the firing US attorney’s. If you noticed, the Democrats were trying to turn down the temperature because Bush, Cheney, Rove and company continually attacked people for their views; part of the reason they won power in the first place was their pledge not to play tit-for-tat. That said, only the most deluded conservatives and Bush supporters don’t believe he lied when it came to prosecuting the war.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 12, 2007 at 10:43 pm


I wonder who they will blame when the next wave of terrorists hit this country? Notice, I didn’t say “if” I said when. Will they still defend those who would literally cut our heads off? Unfair question. It’s never been so much the U.S. they hate but (for the most part) the right-wing imperialists who run it right now. They want us to die. They hate every being of our way of life. They hate the freedom that we have to practice our own religions, they hate the freedom that we have period. They feel called to kill those that don’t convert to their religion. Not fair, and not even necessarily true. They believe that the imperialist West has ruined their part of the world and thus want us out, and Israel is seen as part of that imperialism.



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Karen Helsel

posted April 12, 2007 at 11:10 pm


This is such a sad mess. Yes, we have done some “rebuilding,” but the reason we needed to “rebuild” was because we bombed things to smitherines! I am so sad that so many Christians support sending people into a Christ-less eternity on such a huge scale. I refuse to be affiliated with any political party–the question we all have to ask is “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?” It’s still and always a relevant question. May God help us.



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Sarasotakid

posted April 12, 2007 at 11:11 pm


“I can debate issues with those who disagree with me, but dripping sarcasm cuts off any intelligent conversation. It seems to me that for many far left liberals, bashing the USA, the President and any who might disagree with them, is their only means of discussion.” Traditionalist Yeah- like those who support Bush and company don’t use those tactics. Want an example, read below or scroll up and see for yourself- one of the first posts in this discussion: “And if we leave, that will make it all better somehow.” kevin s.Good start to a discussion, huh? It certainly wasn’t a left wing liberal who used dripping sarcasm. Not to blame Kevin. He has the right to state his opinion in the way he sees fit. It is more to show that BOTH sides engage in this type of debate. So please don’t lay it all at the feet of the liberals. That is simply being disengenuous.



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Christopher

posted April 13, 2007 at 1:56 am


I’d like to ask a question of those who love Bushie so much they’d just like to cuddle him.You keep on saying, the lefties this & the liberals that. Please define the terms. What exactly do you mean by the term liberal. I only ask because I think liberalism has been so demonised in the US that to people such as yourself liberal means whatever you don’t like. Oh & before you jump to conclusions once again I’m an Australian & I really couldn’t care less if Republicans or Democrats hold the presidency. The only thing I’m concerned about is the moron you have as president at the moment & his falacious reasoning. PS: Many of you seem to be justifying the war or pulling out by stating -this WILL happen in the future if we do. And here I was agreeing with David Hume that “NO claim to knowledge can be made of a future event”. Translation NOBODY knows what will happen if we pull out or if we stay. We can only deal in probabilities NOT certainties when we discuss the future.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 13, 2007 at 1:59 am


moderatelad “I wonder what I am to learn here…?” Oh man, can I ever relate to that statement! If my experiences (plural) are anything like the way yours turn out to be, you won’t know that answer for years, and it’ll still sting. Most people know that nurses catch a lot of crap from doctors, patients, families, but the worst crap we have to deal with is the crap from other nurses (I’ve read a number of studies on “horizontal hostility” that made me realize it wasn’t just me) Christ challenges me every day to forgive a couple of people I haven’t seen in years. Peace!



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Jeremy

posted April 13, 2007 at 2:14 am


“If I understand you right, you are of the mindset of letting people kill other people, then catch them and punish them afterward, but don’t try to stop the murder from happening. If I am interpreting you right, I think that you are inherently wrong.” “It is almost as if you are advocating suicide. Do you not think that we are called to protect ourselves?” Don’t you realize that this is the exact same system that we use here in America and most of the Western world? And if it is works for us then why do you think that it will fail elsewhere?



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canuckelhead

posted April 13, 2007 at 2:19 am


Ever eager to say something really silly, Donny sidesteps gracious calls for an apology over previous foolish rants to say: “It is odd that Americans and Europeans are denouncing war and hating George Bush, when Muslims worldwide are slaughtering people without so much as a thought about their individual rights. That is to say, the individual rights of the murdered. NOT THE MURDERERS.”Gol-lee, and maybe I’m wrong here, but I don’t remember the Muslims ever making a claim to adhere to the teachings of Christianity in general and in particular to the directives of Jesus such as “blessed are the peacemakers.” What I do know is that Europeans and Americans (including your current, ahem, evangelical president) DO purport to have some degree of adherence to Judeo-Christian ethics. Or is that adherence in place only during election years, Donny?



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Jeremy

posted April 13, 2007 at 2:29 am


“al Sadr may have fed them but he most definitely has an ulterior motive religous or political or whatever he still sends them off to do violence agianst other Iraqis and the US and anyone else who does not agree with his point of view.” How is this any different than what the we are doing here in the US? Do we not have alterior motives? Do we not send people off to coerce (read do violence) against other Americans (read domestic enemies) and anyone else who does not agree with our point of view. “we had a goal of a free country with police and obeyin the laws etc. etc. and they did not.” But, why can they not be led in that direction. Remember, that the West was once controlled by authoritarian rule and through years of struggle we were able to advance beyond those ways. We need to seriously engage our imaginations and try to figure out a way to truly help and not simply coerce them into a better way of life. The problem that we have today is that we only have one tool in the drawer (military) and as such every problem looks like a nail. The only difficulty is that not every problem is a nail. And, we need to be the first to really bring peace. Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” and I don’t think that Jesus had this in mind when he said it; http://www.theconnection.org/content/2002/07/04/0705peacekeeper173.jpg



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Jeremy

posted April 13, 2007 at 2:32 am

canuckelhead

posted April 13, 2007 at 2:47 am


Karen said: “…the question we all have to ask is “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?” It’s still and always a relevant question.” Karen, I have the definitive answer on WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Please forward $100 (U.S. dollars only, please) and I’ll tell you what it is. :)



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canuckelhead

posted April 13, 2007 at 2:56 am


Christopher – did I read right? Did I just hear an Aussie refer to George Bush as “that moron you have as president…?” I say to thee: “Thou blasphemer! May the judgment ‘o God be upon ye for not recognizing Mr. Bush as the deity he is! Smarten up immediately or we’ll send the Canadian army down there this weekend and push you guys even further down under!” Woops, make that next weekend. Apparently, both of our soldiers are on weekend leave April 13-15 inclusive.



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Peace General Bruce

posted April 13, 2007 at 3:16 am


Our Fuhrer Our Furor who lives in DC, George Bush is thy name. Thy war’s begun, never to be done,on EARTH as with most of HUMANITY. Give us today, your daily lies,and feed us your talking points, so we can feed talking points, to those who know us. And lead us not into REDEMPTION, But abandon us to evil. For thine is the Empire, the Dollar and the Terror. From now untill Whenever, My Ass! By Peace General Bruce 3-20-07 Cols,OH. USA http://redpeacecross.com/9-11-01.html



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Stephen P. Horn

posted April 13, 2007 at 3:32 am


An interesting sidelight to the whole Saddam statue “killing”. Not one source did I see on the anniversity point out that this whole show was just one more PR job by the USA. At the time we were given to understand that there was a huge crowd of Iraqis bent upon destroying the statue. There are pictures available that show that the “crowd” was very small and bunched together for the pictures. In addition, the whole show was put on by the Americans even to providing many of the extras shown… Did Jessica Lynch come to mind? The corporate media did not want to stick another fork in the bubble…



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Jimbo

posted April 13, 2007 at 5:00 am


To the boys on the right that have polluted this blog (Kevin, Kristopher, et.al), I think it’s funny how you guys are trying soo hard to put the blame for the Iraq war on the Dem’s. It is true, they were lied to by everyone in the administration as war preparations were being made. With the fantasy Bush handed them they were foolish enough to trust that the President of the United States wouldn’t lie about something like that. They were wrong. When did you decide that Iraqi lives are worthy such contempt? You act like the suffering and violence in Iraq is of no consequence. To make a point you deride, belittle, and manipulate reality with no regard for truth.Even the Pres knows it has been a collosal blunder. The fact is, neo-conseratives have been handed their ass on this one. Greed tripped ‘em up. It always does. Now ya’ll are standing in the sandbox crying and pointing the finger at everybody else when the obvious blame is your own. The grown-ups aren’t buying it and your smug, entitled butt’s are in a sling. The power grab failed. They always do because we have a two-party system. When the Dem’s got bloated with power the GOP took them down. I don’t think anyone expected Bush to go so far but now he is going down. His legacy will be like that of Grant. GW is a fairly good and loyal man who allowed his administration to be taken over by the mean spirited idealogues on the right. GW was a moderate when he was our Gov.By playing to the fear you rightwingers are so fond of,”If we don’t get them there, we’ll have to fight them here,”you have done and are doing damage to America. Stop it. Just stop it! Pray for forgiveness for everytime you suggested to someone that we blow them all back to the stone age. Those are mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and children for crissakes. And this is America. jimbo



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J Miller

posted April 13, 2007 at 6:45 am


Haven’t any of you heard of ‘the Project for the New American Century’? It is so clearly spelled out by ‘them’, the neo-cons. Of course is’t about oil, only about oil, always and forever. Oil! Of course, now it’s diffucult to find the 1998 position paper, complete with all the signatures, Since Iraq went south, the position paper has been removed from their website.



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Mel

posted April 13, 2007 at 12:33 pm


I find it very interesting that there are still people who call themselves Christians can actually support either party. e.g. I see no Dem solution either. But to accept that this administration with its affinity to torture/murder still has any actual Christian supporters is beyond belief. I don’t know the solution for Iraq, but to try and make excuses for Bush and his evil sidekicks is to side with evil.



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moderatelad

posted April 13, 2007 at 3:22 pm


This thread has gone all over the place and I will take responsibility for my part. But I believe that the great question should be if we (the US) were being ruled by someone like a Saddam. Radical religious leaders were polarizing a small percentage of our population to cause terror on other religious groups that don’t believe the way they do. All you wanted and the majority of the country wanted was to live in peace, create a lifestyle for you and your family. Be able to visit your friends and relatives wherever they live. Go to the theater, market, worship without the fear of someone blowing themselves up and inguring or killing you. What would you be willing to go through to achieve that freedom and who would you want to come to your aid. Look at your sons and daughters and realize that there are thousands just like them in the mideast (Iraq) that never had that under Saddam and parents that love them like you do yours that would be willing to go through hell if they could have the freedoms that we enjoy. Are we are bothers keeper and will we be willing to be their liberators… Happy Friday the 13th…I love days like this. Later – .



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kevin s.

posted April 13, 2007 at 4:03 pm


“We protect life, all life, until the taking of a life is forced and is the last resort. Those are the rules of engagement for police, and they are far different than those of the Military.” No it isn’t. The difference is that the military is often engaged in a war. When an opposing force is shooting at you, it settles the question of whether force is appropriate. However, military men have been convicted of failing to apply the standard you describe.



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kevin s.

posted April 13, 2007 at 4:11 pm


“I only ask because I think liberalism has been so demonised in the US that to people such as yourself liberal means whatever you don’t like.” As has the term Neocon. I don’t use the term liberal as an insult, but the distinction I draw between liberals and conservative is that liberals agitate for change, while conservatives largely wish to stay put. In those terms, the partisan divide over this war, or at least the unilateral opposition to it among liberals, is somewhat curious. There is nothing inherent in conservative or liberal reasoning that should necessarily lead one to support or oppose this effort. “Oh & before you jump to conclusions once again I’m an Australian & I really couldn’t care less if Republicans or Democrats hold the presidency. The only thing I’m concerned about is the moron you have as president at the moment & his falacious reasoning.” Does your president disagree with our president’s reasoning? I don’t believe so. I like your president. When I was in Australia in 1999, it was teetering toward an economic abyss, so anyone who can turn that around gets props.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 13, 2007 at 4:30 pm


In those terms, the partisan divide over this war, or at least the unilateral opposition to it among liberals, is somewhat curious. There is nothing inherent in conservative or liberal reasoning that should necessarily lead one to support or oppose this effort. Actually, Kevin, there is. The “liberals” began to understand with the Clinton “scandals” what I began to suspect during the Reagan years and probably existed even before that — modern conservatives truly believe that they are entitled to rule, that life revolves around them and their worldview, which (as Iraq has shown) is unfortunately defective at key points. That’s why they have always gotten defensive whenever anyone challenges them and tried to squelch opposing viewpoints, which is why Jim Wallis gets so much flak here from those on the ideological right. In other words, they hate being told, let alone shown, that they’re wrong. Thus, by your definition, the modern right is by no means “conservative.”



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kevin s.

posted April 13, 2007 at 4:40 pm


“I think it’s funny how you guys are trying soo hard to put the blame for the Iraq war on the Dem’s.” I think the point is that “blame” can be spread around here. “It is true, they were lied to by everyone in the administration as war preparations were being made.” Even if they were lied to, they then believed the lies over the intelligence information they were given. Isn’t it possible that the Democrats who supported this war did so for political reasons, and could have cared less about the evidence? Would you concede that this is a possibility? “When did you decide that Iraqi lives are worthy such contempt?” I don’t accept the premise of this question. “You act like the suffering and violence in Iraq is of no consequence.” How am I acting that way? I think the violence in Iraq it of utmost consequence. However, I disagree that our presence there is causing it. “To make a point you deride, belittle, and manipulate reality with no regard for truth.” Translation: I disagree with you,”The fact is, neo-conseratives have been handed their ass on this one. Greed tripped ‘em up. It always does.” Do you use the term greed because you think that oil companies drive the neoconservative movement? That is an ignorant assertion. “Now ya’ll are standing in the sandbox crying and pointing the finger at everybody else when the obvious blame is your own.” Show of hands. Is anyone denying that Bush took the lead in this war effort? I don’t think anyone is, but it is still fair to point out that many Democrats have played politics with this issue without offering a credible alternative.”The grown-ups aren’t buying it and your smug, entitled butt’s are in a sling.” Ironically, this post is pretty smug, and decidedly not grown up.”The power grab failed.” To which power grab are you referring? “I don’t think anyone expected Bush to go so far but now he is going down. His legacy will be like that of Grant.” I expected Bush to do the political thing. Go in, get the job half-done, declare victory, bring the troops home, and enjoy the approval ratings while Iraqis died. I am convinced that this is precisely what just about everyone else who ran for president in 200 would have done.”GW is a fairly good and loyal man who allowed his administration to be taken over by the mean spirited idealogues on the right. GW was a moderate when he was our Gov.” He was a moderate Republican, and still is. However, his opposition hates him so bitterly that they can only deal with him in caricature. “you have done and are doing damage to America. Stop it. Just stop it!” Translation: I disagree with you. “Pray for forgiveness for everytime you suggested to someone that we blow them all back to the stone age.” Never made the suggestion, thank you.”Those are mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and children for crissakes. And this is America.” Were they mother, fathers et al… When Saddam was oppressing them? Or are they only human to you when you disagree with our foreign policy?



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Wolverine

posted April 13, 2007 at 5:31 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote (regarding conservatives): In other words, they hate being told, let alone shown, that they’re wrong. And this sets us apart from liberals, who just love being shown their mistakes and admit to errors enthusiastically. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 13, 2007 at 5:34 pm


Even if they were lied to, they then believed the lies over the intelligence information they were given. Isn’t it possible that the Democrats who supported this war did so for political reasons, and could have cared less about the evidence? Would you concede that this is a possibility? Did it ever occur to you, Kevin, that Democrats have principles, too, and that they want to do what’s right for our country? Besides, the media also fell down on the job, never questioning Bush’s rationale for going into Iraq in the first for fear of the right wing calling them “unpatriotic.” He was a moderate Republican, and still is. However, his opposition hates him so bitterly that they can only deal with him in caricature. What are you smoking? Bush has never said he’s anything but a conservative! And he wouldn’t get any support from the right-wing infrastructure if he weren’t! Were they mother, fathers et al… When Saddam was oppressing them? Or are they only human to you when you disagree with our foreign policy? What foreign policy?



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 13, 2007 at 5:35 pm


And this sets us apart from liberals, who just love being shown their mistakes and admit to errors enthusiastically. Compared to conservatives, they do — scouts’ honor.



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Wolverine

posted April 13, 2007 at 5:56 pm


(rolls eyes)



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 13, 2007 at 6:43 pm


Wolverine — Yeah, I’m telling it like it is and always have done so, and I thus know from experience that you and other conservatives just don’t want to deal with it. You on the right need to quit believing that modern conservatism is either superior than or at least on a par morally with any other ideology; time is now showing that fallacy.



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Billie Sue Langdoc

posted April 13, 2007 at 6:44 pm


So, what is the answer?



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kevin s.

posted April 13, 2007 at 7:32 pm


“Did it ever occur to you, Kevin, that Democrats have principles, too, and that they want to do what’s right for our country? Besides, the media also fell down on the job, never questioning Bush’s rationale for going into Iraq in the first for fear of the right wing calling them “unpatriotic.”” Well, if I grant your point, then I have to assume their staffers were too lazy to read the intelligence themselves. That, or that they came to the conclusion that Bush was right (this is certainly possible). Regardless, politics are politics, and the notion that one side is engaging in politics while the other is altruistic is absurd. Did Hillary run for Senate from New York because she cared more deeply for New York than any other state? Or was her decision perhaps a bit political? With regard to the media, you take it as given that the job of the media is to question our leadership. Outside of the opinion sections, this is not the case. They are simply to report objectively. The onus is on our elected leadership to ask questions.”What are you smoking? Bush has never said he’s anything but a conservative! And he wouldn’t get any support from the right-wing infrastructure if he weren’t!” Giuliani is getting support from the “right-wing infrastructure” and he isn’t a conservative. Bush has governed as more of a populist than a conservative. “What foreign policy?” Ba-zing! Mr. Nowlin’s here all week, folks.



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HASH(0x11f48cb4)

posted April 13, 2007 at 7:55 pm


I value what many of you offer–but please reduce the labels, attacks, sarcasm, etc. Very seriously, friends, I do not allow my girls (ages 4,6, 7) to speak in the disrespectful manner sometimes evident here. They are taught to express exactly what they want with a strong and kind voice. This request as to the manner of discussion is not disconnected from US policy in Iraq. I am profoundly discouraged by the vast amount of leadership, technology, and money our nation allocates to developing and advancing a foreign policy that should align with the highest ideals of this nation; while, to me, seeing a sustained and accepted failure to agree on and project stable, predictable and wise policies. Specifically I am discouraged by the willingness of the 537 elected officials in DC to proceed as if they are doing their job while failing on this count. I believe the issues facing the UN, President Bush, Congress, Iraqi government, Iran, Syria, Israel, Afghanistan, Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia are rather complex and profound. The very narrow single issue of ‘Oil’ is a profoundly complex issues shaping all of human life, the environment, economies, geo-politics, etc. We need true statesmen and stateswomen. We need true prophets and preachers. How can we expect the leaders of Iran, Israel and North Korea to work out their issues if our handful of leaders cannot even work out sane policies for one nation? And how can we expect our leaders to work productively, and to speak strongly with love and kindness (as I require my girls to do), if we on this blog cannot govern our words in like manner? I will govern my words. I will alter my energy consumption. I will vote. I will pray. I will seek to be an instrument of God’s peace. Would you also?



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Jeremy

posted April 13, 2007 at 8:09 pm


“No it isn’t. The difference is that the military is often engaged in a war. When an opposing force is shooting at you, it settles the question of whether force is appropriate. However, military men have been convicted of failing to apply the standard you describe.” Are you then claiming that there is no difference between the rules of engagement between the police and the miliary? Police seek to protect the life of all even the criminal, the military does not hold the enemy’s life in such high regard. Funny, because when I was trained as a soldier in the US Army we used to chant such mantras as “The Blood, the blood, the blood makes the grass grow.” Plus, we used to quote Patton’s famous lines verbatim; “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” Or the “calling card” given to me by a member of the 101st Airborne that said “When you care enough to send the very best; Air Assault!” This is FAR different than the “Protect and Serve” that many police departments seek to live up to in their service, and to suggest otherwise is just naive.



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Mark

posted April 13, 2007 at 8:51 pm


This being the first time I’ve visited this forum, I have to say I’m utterly shocked at the level of ignorance, racism and self-righteousness evident in the majority of these comments. Most of you would be well served to read and become knowledgable about the history of these Middle-East nations. It would also be helpful to learn a bit about imperialism, colonization, and other forms of domination that have been imposed on these states by world powers–both Western nations and Russia. Studying the Muslim countries in the Middle East that serve as American allies does not reveal anything benign or democratic. Saudi Arabia, probably our closest ally in the region aside from Israel, is a totalitarian theocratic dictatorship with a human rights record in the same league as North Korea. Pakistan under Musharaff is not only a military dictatorship but illegally posseses and produces nuclear weapons. Egypt is a human rights disaster, as are the ex-Soviet Asian states–led by Uzbekistan, run by one of the worst dictators on the planet (Karimov). Organizations like Human Rights Watch and the Red Cross compile a wealth of information on this subject every year. The fact that the U.S. supports, finances, and sponsors these type of dictatorships does terrible damage to its credibility worldwide, and makes a mockery of the idea of “spreading democracy.” It is also worth knowing a bit about the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The treaty was designed as a bargain between states that possesed nuclear weapons and those that did not. The states without the weapons would agree not to pursue their development, and in return the nations with the weapons were obligated to make good faith efforts to eliminate their own stockpiles of them. Since the treaty, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea have illegally acquired the weapons, and none of the states that had the weapons at the time of the treaty have lived up to their end of the bargain. Particularly in violation is the U.S., which not only continues to produce them but is still pursuing new technologies that involve nuclear weapons (bunker-buster nukes, militarization of space). The fact that most in America do not understand the treaty does not mean that the rest of the world does not see the contradiction. Organizations like World Public Opinion routinely conduct polls all over the world, as do the BBC, CBC, and the U.S. government. I urge all of you to investigate the results of these polls. What is revealed on a consistant basis is that the majority of Iraqis want the Americans out and consider our presence there an occupation. Also revealed is something that was true even before the invasion: the vast majority of the people of the world are overwhelmingly against what we have done and consider it an act of agression. This is what it boils down to. The invasion of Iraq was not a “mistake,” it was an act of aggression. This is according to the Nuremburg laws which the U.S. played no small role in creating. It was an act of agression based on a series of lies and deceit, not on “faulty intelligence.” The National Security Strategy of the U.S. (www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html.) of 2002 puts forth a doctrine of the use of force in the world, and the Iraq invasion was a product of it. The invasion was not to help the Iraqi people, it was to create a client state in the middle of the most important energy region in the world. During the 80’s under Hussein we had just that, so we supported his police state apparatus–as did the USSR. If we had pulled U.S. funding the regime may very well have collapsed. Atrocities against the Shiites and the Anfal operation took place with U.S. taxpayer dollars in support. It was not until Hussein stopped serving U.S. interests that he became a problem. Just because most Americans choose not to be informed about the world and their nation’s role in it does not mean that the Iraqis will forget it. Agression is almost always about projection of power. The U.S. does not necessarily need oil from Iraq, but being militarily and diplomatically entrenched in the area gives it greater power and control over those that do need it. Having Iraq as a client state (democratic if possible–autocratic just as good) serves these purposes and gives us leverage over our rivals. Where’s the empathy for the Iraqis? Considering them ungrateful, barbaric, and not worthy of our “greatness” reveals a disgusting racism, arrogance and self-righteousness. It’s true that Saddam’s regime was horrible, but history has proven time after time that people will choose tyranny from their own long before tyranny from an agressive foreign power. Our bombs, shells, missiles, and bullets killed large amounts of innocent people, and set into motion a chain of events which has killed a far greater number of people than Hussein’s regime ever did. Are we really expecting family member and loved ones of those killed by our actions to understand that we did it for their own good and be grateful?Lost in all of this is the idea that we even have any kind of right to be meddling in another part of the world to begin with. The idea that we have the right to have military bases all over the world. Most of us would find it disturbing if another powerful country had bases on our soil–if we could hear foreign fighter/attack jets in our airspace, and see foreign warships off of our shores complete with nuclear weapons. The aggression in Iraq is an agression that the U.S. would never tolerate if committed by another state. It’s time to start examining our influence in the world and admitting where it has been damaging. Just because our nation is free does not mean we are incapable of selfish, aggresive, and destructive acts abroad. The fact that the U.S. spends many times more than any other nation on weapons and defense should make us skeptical over how this power is used. This makes it ever more important that our citizens be knowledgable and informed about a world we have so much control over.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 13, 2007 at 8:59 pm


With regard to the media, you take it as given that the job of the media is to question our leadership. Outside of the opinion sections, this is not the case. They are simply to report objectively. The onus is on our elected leadership to ask questions. Dead wrong, Kevin, and dangerously so, especially when said elected leadership is totally on the same page. You see, some of the leadership doesn’t want certain questions or issues raised because it might make them look bad. It’s no accident, for example, that the Nixon Administration was the first to attack specifically the “liberal press” precisely because it questioned what it was doing; after Nixon fell the “right-wing” infrastructure decided to form its own media in the hopes that someday it would similarly nail a Democrat. Giuliani is getting support from the “right-wing infrastructure” and he isn’t a conservative. Bush has governed as more of a populist than a conservative. Only as a concession are conservatives supporting Giuliani since there’s no true-blue conservative in the wings and he’s the best chance for the Republicans to win the White House. And Bush’s poll numbers belie his governing as a populist. And how can we expect our leaders to work productively, and to speak strongly with love and kindness (as I require my girls to do), if we on this blog cannot govern our words in like manner? I hear ya. However, truth is as important as, and occasionally more so than, cilivity because if you coalesce around a lie bad things happen (see Nazi Germany, which was discussed on another thread).



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 13, 2007 at 9:00 pm


Mark — You are talking sense.



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Bren

posted April 13, 2007 at 9:21 pm


Thank you Anonymous and Mark. I, too, have been troubled by the tone of this discussion and by the strongly-held opinions based on a lack of historical knowledge. It seems to me that it is often difficult for us to say: “even though I know where I stand, other people have information that I should consider. I might come to the same conclusion again, or I may alter my position.” If we were able to remember that we’re not all-knowing, perhaps we’d be less insulting to those who have a different point of view. I guess what’s most disappointing to me is that I, naively perhaps, thought that a faith-based blogsite might be less insulting of others than on other sites. Or perhaps my naivete was in thinking people on this site were seeking dialogue, rather than a venue where they could vent their spleen.



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Jeremy

posted April 13, 2007 at 10:05 pm


“It seems to me that it is often difficult for us to say: “even though I know where I stand, other people have information that I should consider. I might come to the same conclusion again, or I may alter my position.” If we were able to remember that we’re not all-knowing, perhaps we’d be less insulting to those who have a different point of view.” What’s interesting is that some of us (read myself) stood on the other side of this debate and deluded myself into thinking that this whole war even came close to meeting the “Just War” criteria. I listened to one side for way too long, and then a trusted friend began to deconstruct my illusions. Now, I stand where I am now; in opposition to the War, and to the administration and to the Religious Right; all while serving as a United Methodist pastor and working on my Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 13, 2007 at 10:56 pm


I guess what’s most disappointing to me is that I, naively perhaps, thought that a faith-based blogsite might be less insulting of others than on other sites. Or perhaps my naivete was in thinking people on this site were seeking dialogue, rather than a venue where they could vent their spleen. I expected to be nastier, to be honest, because over the past few decades (and especially with the advent of “Pray TV”) we’re so used to calling each other heretics that we don’t listen to each other. That is, “How can you be a Christian and believe that?” without going straight to the source — the Scriptures, that is — and hammering things out. Back in the 1990s I used to have my own segment on a Christian radio program, and while I didn’t hear most of the comments I’m sure some people thought I was nuts for not going along with conservative orthodoxy, never mind that I never believed that much of it didn’t square with Scripture. You see, what we have here is not so much faith in God through Christ but a Christian “culture” that protects the status quo BAMN, which has led to spiritual flabbiness. Now, I’ve myself written some harsh commentaries on this blog, but they’ve needed to be said.



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philipH

posted April 13, 2007 at 11:22 pm


Rick Nowlin, I posted at 2 pm today (accidentally as ‘anonymous’) asking individuals to please reduce the labels, attacks, sarcasm……. What do you mean when you state your “harsh commentaries…needed to be said”? PhilipH



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kevin s.

posted April 13, 2007 at 11:59 pm


“Are you then claiming that there is no difference between the rules of engagement between the police and the miliary? Police seek to protect the life of all even the criminal, the military does not hold the enemy’s life in such high regard.” I disagree, for the same reason I stated before. “Funny, because when I was trained as a soldier in the US Army we used to chant such mantras as “The Blood, the blood, the blood makes the grass grow.”” Well, unless military policy is such that you are literally required to use enemy blood as fertilizer, I’m not sure this is relevant. The military may have a different mindset, borne of the fact that they are engaging enemy combatans vs. civilians. Nonetheless, I can guarantee you that cops have some chants of their own.We train our police to kill people who are shooting at them. Military men may not go into a village and shoot indiscrminately.



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kevin s.

posted April 14, 2007 at 12:10 am


“Where’s the empathy for the Iraqis? Considering them ungrateful, barbaric, and not worthy of our “greatness” reveals a disgusting racism, arrogance and self-righteousness” I have noticed a large number of words put into quotes as though they were said by someone. I am not making the case that Iraqis are ungrateful, barbaric, et al…In fact, those who suggested that this civil war was inevitable, and that democracy cannot succeed in Iraq I think, are doing precisely what you suggest.You offer a lot of pejoratives, but not a lot of subtance here.”I posted at 2 pm today (accidentally as ‘anonymous’) asking individuals to please reduce the labels, attacks, sarcasm…….” What’s interesting is that everyone simply took this as a vindication of their own viewpoints. If you think that the conservative viewpoint is wholly formed by ignorance, and that everyone who is conservative is inherently racist, uneducated, dull, etc… Then you are arguing in a vacuum.



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kevin s.

posted April 14, 2007 at 12:19 am


“Dead wrong, Kevin, and dangerously so, especially when said elected leadership is totally on the same page.” And this just doesn’t make sense. Journalists are predominantly liberal. They are not on the same page as this administration. They do not get calls from their publishers ordering them to write pro-Bush stories. It doesn’t happen. They are supposed to report the news, not opine about the news. “Only as a concession are conservatives supporting Giuliani since there’s no true-blue conservative in the wings and he’s the best chance for the Republicans to win the White House.” This simply isn’t true. Either way, it is true that a moderate can receive the support of conservatives, which you denied. “And Bush’s poll numbers belie his governing as a populist.” Populist in the sense of the political spectrum. A big government Republican. “I hear ya. However, truth is as important as, and occasionally more so than, cilivity because if you coalesce around a lie bad things happen (see Nazi Germany, which was discussed on another thread).” See, I worry about someone who believes he is fighting against a movement akin to the Nazis. What sort of actions does that justify. I mean, if you stop conservatives, you could save millions of lives form death camps, right?Maybe that doesn’t justify killing us, but maybe a little censorship would be in order? Ban this sort of hate speech? Imprison the dissent? Harsh steps, but in the name of millions of lives, it is small potatoes.



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Donny

posted April 14, 2007 at 1:16 am


No matter what we do, the Muslims are going to hate us and want us converted to Islam, subjugated or dead. They have not deviated from that path since Mohammad slaughtered the Meccans who wouldn’t “submit.” It is time to invite Mexicans into America and build a huge wall around every Muslims country on earth. Enough is enough. If these people do not appreciate what America did for Iraq, then let them kill each other they way the obviously want to. Heck, every Progressive and Liberal in the Western world sees it that way too. Finally one thing I agree with them on.



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Canuckelhead

posted April 14, 2007 at 1:19 am


“With regard to the media, you take it as given that the job of the media is to question our leadership. Outside of the opinion sections, this is not the case. They are simply to report objectively. The onus is on our elected leadership to ask questions.” Gosh, that Kevin’s a winner, ain’t he? “[The media]are simply to report objectively.” Right! Reporters/editors are robots. Or, as the recent purchase of The Tribune Co. showed again – what the media is about is making somebody and/or shareholders a pile of dough!! That objective – first and foremost -is what America is all about, kids, and anybody who doesn’t “get” that probably agrees that it’s really too bad Pat Robertson wasn’t elected to the White House after all.



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philipH

posted April 14, 2007 at 1:28 am


Donny I am inclined to ask you to explain and defend your comments. I will dialogue if you desire, and believe others will as well. I do not find the saracasm to advance dialogue, and my request is you leave it off this blog.



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otto schaudel

posted April 14, 2007 at 1:33 am


Thank you Jim for putting this together. What or whom does it take to make our Leaders realize reality? It seems so clear that what the US is doing, has nothing to do with the original intend, which was wrong, nor is it helping anyone involved, from the American people to the Iraqi people who suffer the most. It’s not even good for Bush’s legacy.



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philipH

posted April 14, 2007 at 1:41 am


Canuckelhead I am not clear what you wish I understand about the media. I would expect, in a large, interdependent, information-laden world with large complex institutions, etc. that civic activity and public information needs will demand some large-scale media operations with large assets. And I do think keeping powerful institutions accountable (particularly government and public entities) demands journalism that reports with thoroughness and depth–both seeing the questions and pursing them.Please explain your Pat Robertson comment.



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jerry

posted April 14, 2007 at 2:04 am


jimbo;; get real. we are not killing the fathers, mothers, children, grammas and grampas. muslims are killing them. look and listen. you may not like our actions to get rid of the bombers and terrorists but we are the only ones who are willing to die for the innocents that are bing killed by the radical muslims. neuro nurse – its rreally nice to hear bout your feelinhgs at your work.can we get more details? knowlin – its always nice to know that you know how others think. where do you get that conservatives think they are superior to anyone. we like our ideas and we listen to yours. you sojo supporters need to lighten up and stop name calling and defense posturing and………come up with some ideas that you can promote when you gain power. like now in congress. what will you do????????????



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kevin s.

posted April 14, 2007 at 2:10 am


“Gosh, that Kevin’s a winner, ain’t he? “[The media]are simply to report objectively.” Right! Reporters/editors are robots. Or, as the recent purchase of The Tribune Co. showed again – what the media is about is making somebody and/or shareholders a pile of dough!!” So, the media should offer their opinion as part of their coverage, and if they do not, they are robots? I think there are some journalism professors who might take issue with you on that. And yes, the purpose of papers is to make money, unless you want state-sponsored media, which would seem far less likely to question the government. “That objective – first and foremost -is what America is all about, kids, and anybody who doesn’t “get” that probably agrees that it’s really too bad Pat Robertson wasn’t elected to the White House after all.” This sentence doesn’t make any sense.



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Canuckelhead

posted April 14, 2007 at 2:18 am


Read your New Testament gospels, Kevin, if you need more insight on how the facts get spun thru the eyes of reporters.



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Jeremy

posted April 14, 2007 at 3:26 am


“We train our police to kill people who are shooting at them.” As an absolute last resort. “Military men may not go into a village and shoot indiscrminately.” I will ignore the anedotal evidence to the contrary. Every person in the Army is trained to be an infantry person first, this is their first occupation, and while soldiers don’t just spray lead indiscriminately they are not charged to protect life in the same way that police officers are trained. And while you may be entitled to your own opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts.



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Jeremy

posted April 14, 2007 at 3:30 am


“anybody who doesn’t “get” that probably agrees that it’s really too bad Pat Robertson wasn’t elected to the White House after all” Why would that be a bad thing, afterall it seems that Robertson has had quite a bit of influence on contemporary politics even while not in the White House, it seems that his Regent University is having quite an impact as of late: Boston Globe http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2007/04/08/scandal_puts_spotlight_on_christian_law_school/?page=full Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/06/AR2007040601799.html



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philipH

posted April 14, 2007 at 3:34 am


Canuckelhead, 2nd request I am not clear what you wish I understand about the media. Please explain your Pat Robertson comment.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 14, 2007 at 3:50 am


“No matter what we do, the Muslims are going to hate us and want us converted to Islam, subjugated or dead.” Gee Donny, I never once got that impression in the year that I lived in Iran (1978, no less), the year I spent in Ethiopia (roughly 45% Christian, 45% Muslim), nor the months that I spent in North Africa hitch hiking and spending the night as the guest of Muslim hosts. I’ve said it before, I’d sooner trust the average Muslim than I would a closed-minded Christian. Peace!



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 14, 2007 at 5:45 am


And this just doesn’t make sense. Journalists are predominantly liberal. They are not on the same page as this administration. They do not get calls from their publishers ordering them to write pro-Bush stories. It doesn’t happen. They are supposed to report the news, not opine about the news. I for one am glad they are not on the same page as the administration. But you conveniently forget that part of their job is to get past the spin and get to the truth — even if the truth embarrasses it. This simply isn’t true. Either way, it is true that a moderate can receive the support of conservatives, which you denied. Kevin — please. Giuliani’s political positions are in many cases indistinguishable from those of Bill Clinton’s. See, I worry about someone who believes he is fighting against a movement akin to the Nazis. What sort of actions does that justify. I mean, if you stop conservatives, you could save millions of lives form death camps, right? I’m African-American, the Nazis would have killed me too and the “Christian right” would have turned a blind eye because of its obsession with Communists — remember that Hitler formed Nazism in large part to counteract Moscow. Maybe that doesn’t justify killing us, but maybe a little censorship would be in order? Ban this sort of hate speech? Imprison the dissent? Harsh steps, but in the name of millions of lives, it is small potatoes. There’s such a thing called the First Amendment, in part because what you propose is akin to trying to put out a fire with gasoline.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 14, 2007 at 5:52 am


What do you mean when you state your “harsh commentaries…needed to be said”? I absolutely hate it when people lie, especially publicly, and that needs to be addressed forcefully. This blog is about peace and justice, and to do that sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. When you do that you inevitably get people mad. People forget, for example, that Martin Luther King Jr. had a lot of enemies in his day — he spoke truth a lot of people still don’t want to hear.



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Jeremy

posted April 14, 2007 at 3:27 pm


“People forget, for example, that Martin Luther King Jr. had a lot of enemies in his day — he spoke truth a lot of people still don’t want to hear.” Quoted for Truth. It does seem that agents for positive change are the most prone to assassination in our country, as such is it any wonder that we haven’t had an assassination of a high profile change agent in this country since the 60’s? Maybe William T. Cavanaugh was right in saying that the church has not tamed culture but that culture has tamed the church.



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Paul

posted April 14, 2007 at 4:12 pm


Rick Nowlin, “I’m African-American, the Nazis would have killed me too and the “Christian right” would have turned a blind eye because of its obsession with Communists — remember that Hitler formed Nazism in large part to counteract Moscow.” You really need to get beyond these overly generalized falsehoods. The left also supported Hitler as long as the Hitler-Stalin non-agression pact pact was in place. Simplistic statements may make good soundbites and headlines which help sell papers, (which is the bottom line of what the media is about. . . making money.) but they do nothing to promote intelligent discussion. cheers, Paul



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Deno Reno

posted April 14, 2007 at 4:30 pm


kevin s Not cedeing your point that we are an occupying farce! I suppose the Russians used the same twisted logic back in the 1980’s in Afghanistan while the cost of their Armies there wreaked the Soviet economy , treasury , & country. I’m more conserned with the U.S.A. than I am a liberated Iraq. We are demoralizing our Military at a disturbing rate. Do YOU realize that over 30 GI’s have committed Suicide will you cede that point!!!???



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Paul

posted April 14, 2007 at 4:39 pm


Deno Reno, Those suicide deaths are an absolute tragedy, but the reasons behind suicide are so complex and multi facited that to try to score simplistic political points on them is disgusting! Sorry if this is too harsh, but I have had to deal with the stark realities of suicide up close and personal to often… And if you think that was harsh, you really don’t want to hear the full extent of what I think. cheers, Paul



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philipH

posted April 14, 2007 at 4:43 pm


Rick, I do not read this blog frequently enough to know what you refer to as ‘harsh’ or ‘forceful’ commentary. I am not criticizing any of your words. I appreciate your explanation. I accept Jeremy’s reference to “the church has not tamed culture but that culture has tamed the church” quote. Is it possible the culture has tamed the church both in regards to the substance and style of what is spoken. This is the point I am attempting to make. Most simply–“truth in love.” Truth that is overshadowed by love. Love ensures that our speaking of truth is done in a way that safeguards the best welfare of others. Rick, I profoundly agree with your sentiments towards lying. And this is part of what undergirds my plea for our care in our speech towards each other. A telemarketer called a couple nights ago. I did the verbal equivalent of cutting her off, shutting her down in an instant and felt good about it. This is not what I want to characterize my treatment of others. I do know how to treat persons with dignity and grace and stand for what is right and request what I need. And I often do not do that. The more of us who will govern our speech and our hearts to align with the Truth–the more we will be heard by each other. The Truth came to us in person and as Jeremy highlights–was ‘assasinated’. The life of Jesus to be manifest in our culture needs the Body of Christ to be mature, a beloved community, listening and speaking in love–practicing truth in our lives (obedience) guarding the welfare of each other, coming to a Spirit given wisdom and power. If we fail–what do we have to offer? Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. both crossed the boundaries of forces who thought they should die. They both spoke much of what our society needed to hear. Do you think the distinct heart, style and methods of the two made any difference as to whether the culture could hear them and ultimately be changed? Is the heart and style and method part and parcel of the message? Some would argue Malcolm X was closer in both style and content to the needed expressed truths–so this is an honest question. Curious on your perspectives.



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philipH

posted April 14, 2007 at 4:54 pm


Paul, Am interested in the full extent of what you think.



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Mark

posted April 14, 2007 at 5:06 pm


When it comes to gauging the various political leanings of journalists, it is important to keep in mind how the media works–whether the medium is print media, radio, television, or the internet. For the most part, the media is owned by several powerful conglomerates (GE, Disney, etc.). But more important than ownership is advertising support. Newspapers do not survive simply on selling newspapers, they must be sponsored and supported by advertisers (the same goes for TV, radio, etc) in order to be cheap enough to be competitive. Big city papers, national publications (Newsweek, Time, USA Today, etc), cable TV/news and other large scale media outlets rely on funding from large corporations and centers of private power. These centers of power exercise tremendous leverage over a media outlet. Even a threat of pulling advertising funds can alter ways that issues are framed and essentially puts a kind of limit on the voice being supported. A recent example is the Imus firing. He was not fired because of a liberal media. His MSNBC show was pulled after key advertisers pulled their ads (Proctor&Gamble, GM, American Express, and later Sprint). It was strictly a business decision, as are most all in the corporate media. When one accuses a media outlet, and the journalists in it, of being liberal (or conservative for that matter) they should proceed to the bigger question: are the companies and corporations that fund the outlet through advertising liberal (or conservative)? After all, the job of the media is to sell audiences to the powers that fund them. It is reasonable to assume that centers of power would likely desire the world to be presented in a way that will keep people buying and keep making a profit. I don’t find this to be a conspiracy, nor do I find it to be particularly relevant to liberal vs conservative arguments. I believe it is simply strategies for business.



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Paul

posted April 14, 2007 at 5:16 pm


philipH, I whole heartedly agree with your comments about how we should govern our speach. As to the other, having had to deal with a number of suicides and attempts, I agree that we need to continue to try and do as much as we can to help the troops deal with all the issues they face, but I get really angry when I see people try to use these tragedies to make simplistic policy pronouncements about things, such as whether the war was justified or not, when you cannot tell just from the facts of the suicides what all the relevant factors are. It it too big an issue for me to express here. If we are ever in the same place at the same time, you buy the first round, and I will get the next, and I will tell you as much as you want to hear. Sorry, I’ve had too many deaths in my life recently, and I am a bit raw. I apologize if this was out of line. cheers, Paul



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dlw

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:35 pm


i believe the best thing we can do right now is to call on president Bush to call for a nationwide week of fasting and mourning, during which all major forms of entertainment would be suspended or modified seriously. I think it is ultimately up to the people of Iraq and their leaders to choose to lay down their arms and work out their conflicts peacefully. I believe that if we make a strong show of remorse that it will send the message to the people of Iraq and the world that there are better ways to deal with these problems than state-based or non-state-based violence… dlw



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kevin s.

posted April 14, 2007 at 10:53 pm


Mark, Advertisers generally pull funding in very extreme cases, when they feel their company will be found guilty by association with something particularly controversial. Advertisers want to see a world in which people are buying their clients’ products, and will advertise where they find the largest relevant audience almost without fail. The country is pretty evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. An objective UCLA study found that, based on established criterion, CNN and Fox News were on the opposite ends of the spectrum, which is unsurprising for anyone who has watched their coverage. CBS, the New York Times, and the majority of the sources studied tilted to the left, which makes sense when you realize that most newsmakers and reporters are liberal.



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Wolverine

posted April 14, 2007 at 11:59 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: I’m African-American, the Nazis would have killed me too and the “Christian right” would have turned a blind eye because of its obsession with Communists Rick, I’d really love to hear how you got that idea, what research and reasoning you went through before drawing this conclusion. But most of all, I’d like to know how this scenario would play out. — remember that Hitler formed Nazism in large part to counteract Moscow. And therefore . . . what exactly? That staunch anti-communism is equivalent to fascism? Look, I’ll grant you that 1940s America was a far from ideal society, and that the (mostly) Protestant elite that ran the country at the time has some things to answer for. But there’s one big fact you’re not accounting for here: not only did the US fight in WWII but when the country went to war it was very united, and its first priority was to defeat Herr Hitler. As far as I know, there is no record that a significant number of conservative Christians opposed entering the Second World War, even though it was clear that we were entering on the side of the Soviet Union. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 15, 2007 at 12:07 am


You really need to get beyond these overly generalized falsehoods. The left also supported Hitler as long as the Hitler-Stalin non-agression pact pact was in place. Simplistic statements may make good soundbites and headlines which help sell papers, (which is the bottom line of what the media is about. . . making money.) but they do nothing to promote intelligent discussion. Hitler was a racist, pure and simple —



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Wolverine

posted April 15, 2007 at 12:18 am


Rick Nowlin wrote: …remember that Hitler formed Nazism in large part to counteract Moscow. Later, he wrote: Hitler was a racist, pure and simple Which is it? Or do you equate opposition to Stalinism with Racism? Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 15, 2007 at 12:30 am


Continuing post — posted by mistake. I made that comment about Hitler based on a couple of historical facts. One, it is my understanding that many leaders in South Africa under apartheid were educated in Nazi Germany. Two, according to Philip Yancey, there were “Jews Only” facilities that to his surprise were based on the “Whites Only” facilities in the South before the civil-rights movement (and Yancey knows that first-hand). Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. both crossed the boundaries of forces who thought they should die. They both spoke much of what our society needed to hear. Do you think the distinct heart, style and methods of the two made any difference as to whether the culture could hear them and ultimately be changed? Is the heart and style and method part and parcel of the message? King and Malcolm in truth preached two different messages, although they were coming from the same place. Malcolm, when he was with the Nation of Islam, openly preached hate against the white race, which actually was less threatening to whites in the long run. (In fact, according to Dinesh D’Souza, he met with members of the Ku Klux Klan back in 1961). King, on the other hand, preached reconciliation, which in his context was frightening. That reminds me of this truth: A black man could never had killed King; a white man could never have killed Malcolm. Rick, I’d really love to hear how you got that idea, what research and reasoning you went through before drawing this conclusion. But most of all, I’d like to know how this scenario would play out. I mentioned that above. It is thus no accident that most African-Americans vote Democratic (i. e. liberal). But there’s one big fact you’re not accounting for here: not only did the US fight in WWII but when the country went to war it was very united, and its first priority was to defeat Herr Hitler. As far as I know, there is no record that a significant number of conservative Christians opposed entering the Second World War, even though it was clear that we were entering on the side of the Soviet Union. Nor would they have. Fundamentalists and evangelicals in that day pretty much stayed out of political matters; they did not really get involved until the late 1970s. I recently found out from a co-worker that the conservative Baptist convention that Jerry Falwell was involved with before joining the Southern Baptist Convention really began to resent his forays into politics and was relieved when he left. Also, Billy Graham, the first religious “Cold Warrior,” was denigrated by conservative Christians up and down for many, many years for many, many reasons.



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Mark

posted April 15, 2007 at 12:35 am


Kevin, Thanks for responding. If I am understanding you correctly, you do not believe that ownership and advertising/sponsorship plays a significant role in how issues are framed in the news–I can appreciate this but I must say I disagree. However common/uncommon the practice of advertisers actually pulling funds may be, the fact that they can do so gives them a certain degree of leverage. By filling me in on the conclusions of the UCLA study, you are acknowledging political tilts/slants to media outlets like Fox, NYTimes, etc. These tilts must exist for a reason(s), and my argument would be that the reason has more to do with the business interests of concentrations of power than it does with the ideological leanings of reporters and journalists, who hold the least amount of power in their organizations. I do agree with you that various media outlets occupy different spots on the spectrum when it comes to issues. I think this represents the various demographics of the audiences being sold. I read the Wall Street Journal most every day, and it is quite obviously a paper that is catering to stockholders/investors and generally more privilaged sectors of society. I do not fit that description, and there are many things about the paper I don’t like, but I try to hit as many sources of infromation that I can. I guess I’m in the minority when it comes to seeing the media as a leftist or dissident force in the country. I just don’t see it. I’m interested in any study like the one you mentioned, and I’m not at all dismissing its conclusions, but the idea that the majority of the media in the nation is to the left side of the spectrum really makes me wonder what they (and many others)consider to be “left.” To me, the left represents activism, democracy and a concept of social justice that involves efforts to weaken and hold accountable concentrations of power in a given society. I find this to be more of the global meaning of the name. I don’t at all consider J.Kerry, H.Clinton, or B.Clinton to be anywhere near the left; I consider the Democrats in general to be a centrist business party. Nor do I find writers like T.Friedman of the NYT to be left of center. For the last four years I’ve seen a mainstream media that has been overly kind to U.S. planners. Coverage of Iraq consists of embedded journalists relaying reports by military leaders. I find I must often look to foreign press to learn anything about what’s going on in the world. In the UK for example, there doesn’t seem to be the same hatred of the reporter putting tough questions to powerful people. Before Blair was reelected, I saw him have to survive a more than two hour grilling session with a senior media editor. I’m not a fan of Tony Blair, but I must say he stood up to a line of questioning that no American president in my lifetime could have survived.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 15, 2007 at 12:50 am


If I am understanding you correctly, you do not believe that ownership and advertising/sponsorship plays a significant role in how issues are framed in the news–I can appreciate this but I must say I disagree. However common/uncommon the practice of advertisers actually pulling funds may be, the fact that they can do so gives them a certain degree of leverage. This is truer than you realize. Most people don’t know, for example, that almost all conservative media — the only exception I know of is the Fox News Channel — have never turned a dime of profit; they are all subsidized by wealthy conservatives. On the other hand, the “right-wing infrastructure” has always led the charge against the “liberal media” and thus threatened their advertising. That’s why, as I said earlier, the media basically knuckled under to the Bush Adminstration when it came to the run-up to the war in Iraq.



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Paul

posted April 15, 2007 at 2:26 am


Rick Nowlin, “It is thus no accident that most African-Americans vote Democratic” I assume this was after the time when the primary supporters of the KKK were democrats? cheers, Paul



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Jeremy

posted April 15, 2007 at 5:23 am


Hey as long as we’re off topic, how about the War Czar thing! LOL. Here’s a link with some more info. http://www.crooksandliars.com/Media/Play/16242/2/Colbert-Rumsfeld-WarCzar.mov/



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philipH

posted April 15, 2007 at 5:40 am


Why a media conglomerate covers Dick Cheney in a certain way or why the US military invaded Iraq are interesting questions. But before answering complex “Why” questions with thoughful speculation I like to answer another question: “What is the real reason I got out of bed this morning? I need the bathroom I want food Habit Inner need to puruse a quest for meaning Socio biological determinant Since I’m still working on that question I try not to get too dogmatic about the real reasons JFK was shot (or a million other questions)



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 15, 2007 at 5:53 am


I assume this was after the time when the primary supporters of the KKK were Democrats? Yep — that’s been the case since the 1960s. They’re almost all Republicans now; in fact, a Georgia Grand Dragon endorsed Reagan in 1980. Anyway, I think we got onto that topic in talking about the MSM’s fear of challenging the White House on Iraq for fear of the political right. Well, I’m glad it has finally found some backbone.



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kevin s.

posted April 15, 2007 at 6:32 am


“These tilts must exist for a reason(s), and my argument would be that the reason has more to do with the business interests of concentrations of power than it does with the ideological leanings of reporters and journalists, who hold the least amount of power in their organizations.” Well, the ideological leaning of the preponderance of news organizations slants to the left, which aligns with the ideological preferences of the journalists, but not necessarily the advertisers. “To me, the left represents activism, democracy and a concept of social justice that involves efforts to weaken and hold accountable concentrations of power in a given society” Yes, but to an objective observer, the left represents a desire for government to take a greater role toward these ends. To me, the right represents an effort to advance personal freedom and the protection of personal autonomy. But then, I’m a conservative, and you seem to be a liberal.”I don’t at all consider J.Kerry, H.Clinton, or B.Clinton to be anywhere near the left; I consider the Democrats in general to be a centrist business party.” Well, they are further toward the center than absolute liberalism, but they are not in the center of American politics. Either way, the assessment that the media is biased to the left is based largely upon their bias toward the Democratic party, vs. the Republican party. In reality, it is not a question of whether the media should keep their biases in the center. The media (save editorial pages) should report the news objectively, which is neither liberal, conservative, or anything in between.”For the last four years I’ve seen a mainstream media that has been overly kind to U.S. planners. Coverage of Iraq consists of embedded journalists relaying reports by military leaders.” As opposed to, what? Relaying the opinions of Dailykos? The media is embedded so that they report what they find. I have seen quite a bit of news about death and destruction. The military frequently complains that their good work isn’t being shown. I think the issue is that, when you see news fro a perspective that gels with your worldview, you simply take it as news. If a reporter writes the following sentence: “George W. Bush has earned the ire of European leaders, who take a more nuanced view of Middle Eastern politics”, you do not see the bias. If a reporter writes the following sentence: “Barack Obama has become the Democratic frontrunner, and some wonder about his ability to challenge John McCain, who has a more substantive view on a number of issues.” I’m pretty sure you see the bias.”I’m not a fan of Tony Blair, but I must say he stood up to a line of questioning that no American president in my lifetime could have survived.” I think our populace is entirely too content to embrace talking points as though they constitute real dialogue. Jim Wallis, for example, is a master at spinning tough questions, and that has gotten him pretty far.



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philipH

posted April 15, 2007 at 9:31 am


Is Al Jazeera different than Fox News? My assumption is that newsrooms (as every other social setting) have multiple cultures present: e.g. professional journalism, profit-making enterprise, their particular journalistic medium, their particular business organization, first language, etc. Our cultural frameworks define the questions, methods, languages, interpretations, stories, forms, values, behaviors and beliefs which give rise to the particular products from those newsrooms. Fox News is different than Al Jazeera. The one expectation I have of journalistic organizations, which I find woefully lacking, is the capactiy to be self-conscious, reflective and responsible with one’s own cultural realities. I consume alot of news media and political content–and virtually never feel like I hear me being reflected. I doubt I am alone. That is a cultural clash. It is the same as putting me in a strange culture. I believe criticisms directed at the ‘cultural elite’ basically are expressing the same sentiments as criticiams involving ‘the ugly American.’ Both criticisms are trying to say there are groups of people with substancial power who so lack the ability to be self-critical about their own culture that they are cultural imperialists. I believe what galls conservatives is that two of the parties we would expect to have the greatest capacity to be self-aware and responsible with their cultural frameworks (based on their own ‘press’)are universities and journalists seem to be least self-aware.



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Howard

posted April 15, 2007 at 12:15 pm


A recent poll amongst Iraqis revealed that a majority of them thought the violence would dissapate once the Americans left. Perhaps we should try this in one region after getting the electricity turned on all day, leaving enough medical supplies, repairing infrastructure, etc. i.e. all the things we promised but have not done. How would we Americans react to a foreign occupier who claimed we were being liberated but neglected to keep the electricity on?



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Jeremy

posted April 15, 2007 at 12:53 pm


“How would we Americans react to a foreign occupier who claimed we were being liberated but neglected to keep the electricity on?” This was exactly why I commented on Al Sadr in Iraq. While we may completely disagree with the reason for his doing so; this young upstart was able to garner a very quick following because he was seen doing the very things that the US is not seen doing; feeding, clothing, creating jobs (outside the police which just seems self serving to those skeptical about our presence). Al Sadr did these things and won approval and support. We need to steal a page from the “enemy’s” playbook….errr….rather if Bush is a Christian and wants to be known as such then he just needs to use a play from his OWN playbook;Matthew 25:34-36 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’



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Paul

posted April 15, 2007 at 2:47 pm


Jeremy, “This was exactly why I commented on Al Sadr in Iraq. While we may completely disagree with the reason for his doing so; this young upstart was able to garner a very quick following because he was seen doing the very things that the US is not seen doing; feeding, clothing, creating jobs (outside the police which just seems self serving to those skeptical about our presence).” You make a good point, but you neglect the fact that Al Sadr et al actively seek to disrupt and destroy the US efforts to supply those things. cheers, Paul



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Paul

posted April 15, 2007 at 2:52 pm


Rick Nowlin, And the Al-Qaeda enablers are currently Democrats. cheers, Paul



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Deno Reno

posted April 15, 2007 at 3:32 pm


We have all seen the news footage of U.S. Troops going door to door kicking them in , rushing about waving their guns in the faces of fathers, mothers, sisters , brothers ect. If an occupying force were here doing the same things I and many of YOU would take up arms to dismay & dislodge the “enemy” occupyiers. despite the cause of democracy ; security ; ect.!



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Paul

posted April 15, 2007 at 3:59 pm


Deno Reno, And presenting a partial truth as the whole truth is an untruth. cheers, Paul



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Paul

posted April 15, 2007 at 4:13 pm


For in interesting Iraqi perspective: http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2007/03/midnight-company.html cheers, Paul



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moderatelad

posted April 15, 2007 at 4:43 pm


Rick Nowlin | 04.14.07 – 11:58 pm | #Yep — that’s been the case since the 1960s. They’re almost all Republicans now; in fact, a Georgia Grand Dragon endorsed Reagan in 1980. So now getting an endorsement from someone taints the party? Comeon Rick – say it ain’t so. Several people link to the terrorist have said they like Hillary C. so now we are to be suspect of all Dems – I don’t think so.But let us not forget Sen. Byrd who was a ‘Great Whatever’ in the KKK and I believe was elected while still a member of the KKK. Have a great day – later. .



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Mark

posted April 15, 2007 at 6:42 pm


“The media (save editorial pages) should report the news objectively, which is neither liberal, conservsative, or anything in between.” Of course the media should report objectively, but when covering man made world events and conflict it is almost impossible to do so. A writer must choose from an infinite number of facts in order to place a story in context, particularly when presenting a background and historical summary, as is often done. The information that is used to frame a story will almost invetibly be a series of half truths–the restraints of concision will always keep the information inadequate. I’m assuming the examples you gave about seeing bias in reporting were oversimplified. I think you or I would easily see the bias in both statements, which sound like they belong in opinion pieces. Subjectivity doesn’t have to be so blatant. It reveals itself simply in the presentation of information coupled with information that is omitted. For example, crimes and atrocities committed by “enemy” states are emphasized far more in media that similar acts committed by states allied to the U.S. Any informed person today knows that S. Hussein was a murderous dictator, but during his worst atrocities in the 80’s Iraq was an ally of the U.S. and his crimes were downplayed or not covered at all (other than human rights groups). This changed after Iraq ceased being a client state. Another interesting case is the Kurdish population in Iraq and Turkey. During Saddam’s near genocidal Anfal Operation in 88-89, it was not uncommon to hear the Kurdish groups labeled as terrorists, but now history has changed and they are now considered victims. But the state of Turkey receives the benefit of the doubt when it comes to its treatment of its Kurdish minority. Instead of being portrayed as victims, Kurdish groups are made to look aggressive, destabilizing, and irrational (which incidently was Saddam’s argument in the 8o’s). Examples like these are almost endless. These types of stories would be difficult to frame without leaving at least some people believing that their argument or their point of view was not adequately represented. Not surprisingly, our media tends to frame these events in a way that go along with state policy. Our actions and the actions of allies are viewed as benign, even if the same actions by another state would elicit outrage. Using solely embedded reporters runs counter to the concept of investigative journalism. Totalitarian states use embedded journalists. I was in the military and found it is not exactly a breeding ground for free thought and questioning power. And I believe that in a free society it is our obligation to question power and authority–especially our own. Taking the military line as news is simply state propoganda. British journaist Robert Fisk and American Christopher Hedges are good examples of non-embedded reporters–I’m sure you would discredit them by calling them liberal (this could go on and on!) Regardless, it’s been nice to hear your views. I’m glad we can have a civil discussion about significant disagreements.



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squeaky

posted April 15, 2007 at 7:49 pm


I admit, I have read very few of these posts, so sorry if this is out of line with the ongoing discussion, but Kevin S.’ note about bias in the media is intriguing to me. “Well, the ideological leaning of the preponderance of news organizations slants to the left, which aligns with the ideological preferences of the journalists, but not necessarily the advertisers.” I find this to be an interesting statement. Seems to me it depends on your perspective. Sure, there are some left-leaning news sources, but if you talk to a “lefty” they will tell you the news is decidedly RIGHT leaning. When I talk to my more right leaning friends and point out more balanced reporting, such as what is found on NPR, they say they never listen to it because it is so biased (even some of my left leaning friends think it is biased, but in the other direction). The call in shows on NPR, such as Diane Rehm or Talk of the Nation ALWAYS present two or more perspectives on the issue. I guess reporting is biased when an opposing view point is presented and given equal time and value.



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Jeremy

posted April 15, 2007 at 7:51 pm


“You make a good point, but you neglect the fact that Al Sadr et al actively seek to disrupt and destroy the US efforts to supply those things.” But that’s exactly my point, Al Sadr does it to further his own selfish ends, we need to be doing it for the people. “Feed My Sheep”



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Jeremy

posted April 15, 2007 at 7:55 pm


^^^^^^^ continued thought. If Al Sadr and others are disrupting our ability to supply those things then we just need to try harder, more food, less bullets.



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kevin s.

posted April 15, 2007 at 9:00 pm


“Of course the media should report objectively, but when covering man made world events and conflict it is almost impossible to do so.” Why? This shouldn’t be so. If it is, then people should have no problem with the existence of Fox News.”I’m assuming the examples you gave about seeing bias in reporting were oversimplified.” The first was real, the second was my own construction. When choosing from an enormous number of facts, it is important to avoid terminology that taints the objectivity of the information presented. You are correct that subjectivity often occurs by way of which news is reported. For example, did Sen. Allen’s “Macaca” incident merit 100 news article in the Washington Post? I’m not sure I see the correlation between embedded journalists and state-sponsored propaganda. It would seem that embedding journalists unravels that propganda.Squeaky: NPR was found by the study to be squarely in the ideological center. Depending on what state you are in, however, that can vary. My left-leaning friends concede that MN Public Radio is fairly, well, left-leaning. I’ll still take it over CBS and the comic bo… er, Newsweek.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 15, 2007 at 10:02 pm


So now getting an endorsement from someone taints the party? Come on, Rick – say it ain’t so. You’re apparently a Republican — the onus in on your side. But let us not forget Sen. Byrd who was a ‘Great Whatever’ in the KKK and I believe was elected while still a member of the KKK. Actually, if my facts be straight he had just left the Klan at that point, though he indeed joined to “get ahead” politically and has since consistenly rejected openly racist policies. Compare that to Trent Lott, who spoke at a meeting of a segregationist group formerly known as the White Citizens Council in 1999 and still holds those views. If it is, then people should have no problem with the existence of Fox News. The problem is not its slant — Fox News will outright lie to promote its agenda. That’s different from picking and choosing from different sets of facts.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 15, 2007 at 10:08 pm


And the Al-Qaeda enablers are currently Democrats. Utterly false, Paul — the No. 1 al-Qaeda enabler sits in the White House as I write. Because as long as Osama bin Laden is on the loose he will use him to stoke fears; on the other hand, bin Laden wants us to stay in Iraq because it then would be easier for him to recruit. It’s a game of “chicken.”



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Deno Reno

posted April 15, 2007 at 10:32 pm


I didn’t state a total truth ? Which part did I Lie about ?? Kicking in doors ? Killing Innocent civilians ? Raping and Murdering young girls? torturing the civilian population ? Exactly which of ANY of my statements have been untrue ??? Merely because these TRUTHS do not “Fit” into your worldview like the Suicides of many of our own troops Does not constitute an Untruth as you profess so vehemently.



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canuckelhead

posted April 15, 2007 at 11:32 pm


Wow – you all covered a lot of territory since I was last able to tune in. I’m just wondering what kind of coverage the Paul Wolfowitz & his high-paid girlfriend story is receiving in the U.S. of A? Any thots on what his latest antics suggest about his involvement on the decision to enter Iraq? I’d be interested in your thots especially, Kevin S and Rick Nowlin.



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squeaky

posted April 15, 2007 at 11:42 pm


” And the Al-Qaeda enablers are currently Democrats.” Arguably, we are all enablers, at least those of us who use oil, which supplies the income of those who contribute to terrorist activity.



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Paul

posted April 16, 2007 at 12:10 am


Rick Nowlin, Your irrational denial is a wonder to behold. When your actions and objectives coincide with the objectives of the jihadists, simply refusing to admit responsibility does not absolve you. Your actions are typical of all abuse enabelers and your lack os self awareness is also typical. I hope some day soon you come to your sences. Have a good day.cheers, Paul



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squeaky

posted April 16, 2007 at 1:48 am


Ahh, Paul, yet another person who sees complex subjects in simplistic terms. Either we agree with your veiw, or we’re Al Qaeda enablers… See, Kevin S–this is exactly the attitude many of us have told you about that you say you haven’t seen. We are painted as “unpatriotic” when we try to look beyond the simplistic picture the current administration paints of the current conflicts…Now we’re called “enablers”.



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Paul

posted April 16, 2007 at 1:55 am


Hi squeaky, No, this is not about my opinion. The arguement is easily identifiable, in terms of its premises and conclusions. All you have to do is deal with its validity or soundness. I would be interested in how it fails in those terms. I do agree with you that we all need to be as ecologically responsible as we can be. Have a good day. cheers, Paul



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 3:28 am


Your irrational denial is a wonder to behold. When your actions and objectives coincide with the objectives of the jihadists, simply refusing to admit responsibility does not absolve you. Your actions are typical of all abuse enablers and your lack os self awareness is also typical. I hope some day soon you come to your sences. That kind of ignorant, arrogant statement is PRECISELY why we’re stuck in Iraq in the first place. You don’t know the first thing about the jihadists, what they do and why they do it, otherwise you wouldn’t make such idiotic comments. You seem to think that they hate us for the sake of hating us, but you are clearly uninformed about the history of that region — and that makes YOU the enabler. The truth is, conservatives want to fight them — which is exactly what they want.



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kevin s.

posted April 16, 2007 at 3:35 am


“Actually, if my facts be straight he had just left the Klan at that point, though he indeed joined to “get ahead” politically and has since consistenly rejected openly racist policies.” Was rejecting the Civil Rights act of 1964 on account of it being openly racist, or what was the deal there? Point being, the GBA nonsense with regard to who is, at present, a racist, is silly. “The problem is not its slant — Fox News will outright lie to promote its agenda. That’s different from picking and choosing from different sets of facts.” I do believe the NYT has been offering up a few corrections recently. Of course, when they do it, it is a misstatement, when Fox News does it, it is a lie. The onus is on Republicans, right?



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kevin s.

posted April 16, 2007 at 3:40 am


“See, Kevin S–this is exactly the attitude many of us have told you about that you say you haven’t seen.” I didn’t say I hadn’t seen it. Either way, Rick came right back with the same accusation. May I now feel as though I, too, am oppressed, or can we dispense with the notion that we live in a society that stands at the precipice of tyranny?



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moderatelad

posted April 16, 2007 at 3:52 am


Rick Nowlin | 04.15.07 – 4:07 pm | #Then what about Jimmy Carter who was a member of a congregation that did not allow blacks in as members? I am more a republican today than I was in the 80’s and early 90’s.Fox News will outright lieCBS and Dar Rather – forging documents…please. Fox is the only news network that has a Hannily and Combes. Geraldo and O’Reilly mixed it up on set with oposing points of view. I don’t think you will see that on 60 Min – or anywhere else. The agenda has always be with the big four ABC – CBS – NBC & CNN. Their reporting is somewhere about anti-republican and Dem Lap Dog.Have a great week at work – later .



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:12 am


Then what about Jimmy Carter who was a member of a congregation that did not allow blacks in as members? He eventually left. (You forgot that little detail.) CBS and Dar Rather – forging documents…please. Botched story — and remember that folks lost their jobs in the process. No one at Fox has lost a job for lying. Their reporting is somewhere about anti-republican and Dem Lap Dog. No one but the hard-right says or believes that. Try again.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:18 am


Was rejecting the Civil Rights act of 1964 on account of it being openly racist, or what was the deal there? Point being, the GBA nonsense with regard to who is, at present, a racist, is silly. You wish it were. But the conservatives who dominate the GOP today have a special problem with racism that it doesn’t intend to address — which is why you said that. I do believe the NYT has been offering up a few corrections recently. Of course, when they do it, it is a misstatement, when Fox News does it, it is a lie. The onus is on Republicans, right? I read the NYT daily, and it has about a dozen corrections daily — mistakes happen. I’m talking about deliberate lying on the part of conservative media, especially Fox News, which is another matter entirely.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:37 am


I’m just wondering what kind of coverage the Paul Wolfowitz & his high-paid girlfriend story is receiving in the U.S. of A? Any thots on what his latest antics suggest about his involvement on the decision to enter Iraq? The editorial board of my newspaper called for him to step down. We were never too keen on the “neos” to begin with, so I don’t think it surprised anyone.



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Paul

posted April 16, 2007 at 5:10 am


Rick Nowlin, No, it is about the logical conclusions to your position. Getting mad at the person who points it out is neither relevant or helpful. If you don’t like the consequences you either have to change your position or show how the arguement fails. To do the latter you will have to deal with the rules of logic. Again, if you can show how the arguement fails to be valid or sound that would be interesting to see. Avoiding doing so simply shows your posiition to be irrational. Given how little you know about me, your claims about what I do and don’t know about terrorists interesting to say the least. cheers, Paul



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Deno Reno

posted April 16, 2007 at 5:41 am


Paul YOUR Irrational denial is Monumental! 9-11-01 There were perhaps a thousand dedicated terrorists in the middle east! Bush’s popular foreign policy has multiplied the numbers up toward a million Quite a success I must say. His policy of fighting terrorists is self perpetuating.



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butch

posted April 16, 2007 at 7:29 am


For the Weapons of Mass Distraction of course. Aaron Could we be the Weapon of Mass Distruction?



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butch

posted April 16, 2007 at 7:59 am


I also don’t understand why some of you think that diplomacy and creating dialogue would work with people who are willing to strap bombs to their children and blow them up in crowds of people. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? KristopherThat is not who you talk to, talk to governments who may agree to help.



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butch

posted April 16, 2007 at 8:26 am


Donny I am inclined to ask you to explain and defend your comments. I will dialogue if you desire, and believe others will as well. I do not find the saracasm to advance dialogue, and my request is you leave it off this blog. philipH This is just plain nasty PhilipH, you idiot, what you make you think Donny could or would explain his comments.



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Wolverine

posted April 16, 2007 at 2:46 pm


Rick, What “outright lies” have Fox News reporters gotten away with? And please, don’t just refer me to Brock. I’ve been to his site and was underwhelmed. Most of his material boils down to “Fox News Fails To Repeat Democratic Spin” Wolverine



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Daniel

posted April 16, 2007 at 3:11 pm


Wolverine, I am a big critic of news reporting in general, but especially of Fox News. I would contend that the best way of looking at the quality of their news reporting is to look at its effects. I’ve seen quite a few studies testing political news and Fox News viewers are consistently the most mis-informed. For example, there was a study a few years back that found that the vast majority of Fox News viewers believed that we had already found WMD in Iraq and that we had found conclusive evidence that Saddam Hussein helped plan and carry out 9-11. The Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland has conducted tons of surveys and research on time devoted to coverage, nonverbals, graphics, etc among news reporters. It’s worth poking around their white and working papers if you are genuinely interested in finding the truth about Fox News. Theya re not a liberal shill, either, by the way (an argument I’m sure you’ve already made in your head at the mention of the word University). One of Susan Mohler’s PIPA paper studied media coverage of WMD in general and found that it is always biasd because news reporting is designed to scare us into watching. But she also found that Fox was by far the most biased. And, on a final note an anecdote from yesterday’s Fox network news show. The host, whose name I’m proud not to remember, was trying his best to GET Al Sharpton. He brought up the Duke case and said, and I paraphrase, “Why should Don Imus apologize when you didn’t apologize for being wrong about the Duke case?” Sharpton, confused, said, “I believed that the Durham DA would not have brought charges if the evidence wasn’t overwhleming. What is it you’re wanting me to apologize for, being lied to? Imus did something bad and noone denies it – you’re comparing apples to oranges.” To which the anchor replied in an overtly sardonic and hotile tone: “What about the presumption of innocence Reverend Shaprpton?” Al replied, “I think you’re getting confused about the government and the people. A private citizen can take any position they like about a case. Americans are free to think OJ Simpson is guilty, for example.” This crappy line of questioning left the real issues alone so that Fox could try and screw Sharpton. And it backfired, one their own ground no less.The trouble, I think, is that Fox News does not distinguish at all between its news casts with the biased but professional Brit Hume and its op-ed shows with, say, Neil Cavuto. People think the opinions they get are fact when they are not. The Fox affiliates air one minute of conservative commentary called The Point during every network news broadcast and in no way to the distinguish it as different from the anchor’s stories.You might agree with them and think it’s a great thing. That doesn’t mean it isn’t openly biased.



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kevin s.

posted April 16, 2007 at 3:52 pm


“Botched story — and remember that folks lost their jobs in the process. No one at Fox has lost a job for lying.” Of course it was a botched story. But how and why was it botched? Would it have been botched had it presented Kerry in an unfavorable light? That is quite unlikely. Of course, if FOX news had done similar, you would call it a lie. The onus is on the Republican’s, after all. People lost their jobs because CBS was disgraced,, not because they value journalistic integrity.



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Wolverine

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:04 pm


Daniel, You’re missing the point: Rick says that Fox News tells “outright lies”. I want some examples of “outright lies” told on Fox News. But I’ll play along for a bit: do you have a link for the Maryland study? As for Sharpton: He may have relied on Nifong and that’s understandable, but the fact is that Nifong was wrong and may have been acting maliciously all along. And Sharpton, by piling on, wound up making matters worse than they had to be. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Sharpton was a huge backer of Tawana Brawley’s rape accusations against the New York Police, but then those blew up too. That’s a big part of Sharpton’s shtick — wade into a criminal prosecution where a white is accused of assaulting an African American, whip up outrage before all the facts are known, and make it that much more difficult for the pros to figure out what really happened. The anger is genuine; the accusations may be false. But Sharpton is too proud to admit that. Look, I have no gripes about Imus; he shot his mouth off one too many times. But Sharpton’s been shown wrong twice now in his never ending quest for the Great White Defendant. Maybe Fox’s questioning was clumsy, but I think it’s fair to ask Sharpton if he’s learned anything from the experience. Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:09 pm


” For example, there was a study a few years back that found that the vast majority of Fox News viewers believed that we had already found WMD in Iraq and that we had found conclusive evidence that Saddam Hussein helped plan and carry out 9-11.” I would be interested to see this. Was this study able to determine that this was because Fox had carried news that we had found WMD, and the Saddam carried out 9/11. We’re these people watching the hard news show, or The O’Reilly Factor?Did they ask questions of those who watch CNN that might indicate more left-leaning proclivities. Without this information, the study would be worthless for comparing Fox News with other news media. “One of Susan Mohler’s PIPA paper studied media coverage of WMD in general and found that it is always biasd because news reporting is designed to scare us into watching.” By the same token, it would be biased to overreport deaths in Iraq, so that pendelum swings both ways. “This crappy line of questioning left the real issues alone so that Fox could try and screw Sharpton. And it backfired, one their own ground no less. ” You would get a similar line of questioning of a conservative from a more liberal commentator. Sharpton compared the non-victim in Durham to Abner Louima. He has a track record of grandstanding when these issues come to the media, and then disappearing when they fizzle. His lack of apology for the Durham case, Tawana Brawley, etc… Is certainly relevant to a discussion of the Don Imus case.”The trouble, I think, is that Fox News does not distinguish at all between its news casts with the biased but professional Brit Hume and its op-ed shows with, say, Neil Cavuto. People think the opinions they get are fact when they are not.” CNN has the same issue. Anderson Cooper or Lou Dobbs come on the air and pivot between news and opinion seamlessly. That’s what people want, but it’s not really the invention of Fox News.



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Mark

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:11 pm


I’d like to get away from the question of which way various media outlets tilt, and address what I feel to be a more important question. Is the media in general fulfilling one of its obligations to keep citizens properly informed on foreign policy and world events? A study conducted by the Program of International Policy Attitudes (www.pipa.org) concluded that in the case of the Iraq invasion the answer would be no. The objective of the study, entitled “Misperceptions and the War in Iraq,” was to determine through a series of polls what percentage of Americans held misperceptions about Iraq and the war (before it and during the first year of it), how those misperceptions affected their support/lack of support for the war, and how the misperceptions were formed. The first question (asked in August of ’03): “do you believe clear evidence that Iraq was supporting Al Queda has been found?” 50% replied that it had (misperception), 35% that it had not, and 14% unsure. The second question: “the U.S. has or has not found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?” 24% replied has (misperception), 73% replied has not. The third question (March ’03): “how do people in the world feel about the U.S. going to war with Iraq?” 35% believed the majority opposed it, 31% believed the views of the world evenly balanced (misperception), and 31% believed the majority favored it (misperception). Calling these beliefs misperceptions is not controversial. The first two questions deal with whether evidence has clearly been found, and our own leadership admits that it has not. The fact that the majority of the world was against the attack is revealed through countless polls and massive protest. The study reveals that 60% of Americans held at least one of these misperceptions (at the time of the poll). It goes on to reveal that those who held one or more misperceptions were far more likely to support the invasion, with the support increasing the more misperceptions one held. One of the disturbing conclusions was that had people been properly informed and not held misperceptions, support for the war would have been miniscule. The misperceptions made the war possible, giving the mass media a lot to answer for. The study also inquired as to where people primarily got their news; and concluded that those who got their news from print media were far less likely to have misperceptions than those receiving their news from cable TV. Fox News, with CBS a close second, had the highest percentage of viewers holding one or more misperceptions.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:14 pm


And please, don’t just refer me to Brock. I’ve been to his site and was underwhelmed. Most of his material boils down to “Fox News Fails To Repeat Democratic Spin.” You’re underwhelmed because you didn’t look too hard — and, I would say, deliberately so. You see, Brock’s site gives specific, documented instances of what Fox News says and how doing so contradicts other news outlets and (in some cases) its own reporting. It is so through in its anaylsis that someone from the Media Research Center wouldn’t even go on the air with it. Of course it was a botched story. But how and why was it botched? Would it have been botched had it presented Kerry in an unfavorable light? Yes, it would have been. Bear in mind that most of the Clinton “scandals” were carried primarily in the MSM, yet conservatives still complained that they didn’t really “find anything.” (That’s because, as things turned out, that there was nothing to find.)



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Wolverine

posted April 16, 2007 at 4:39 pm


Mark: Actually, the first point is very debatable: there is substantial evidence that the Iraqi government supported Al Qaeda. PIPA is on firmer ground on questions two and three, but this is a case where two parts ice cream and one part dog crap makes for something that smells like dog crap. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 5:00 pm


Actually, the first point is very debatable: there is substantial evidence that the Iraqi government supported Al Qaeda. No, there isn’t. Bin Laden, in fact, wanted Saddam taken out — why would he enlist him as an ally? Also important is that al-Qaeda training grounds were in a part of Iraq Saddam didn’t control.



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Wolverine

posted April 16, 2007 at 5:04 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: You’re underwhelmed because you didn’t look too hard Ooh, there’s a shocker: “Conservative Disappoints Liberal by Failing to Zealously Root Out Evidence of Fox News’ Incompetence”. What’s your next expose gonna be? My money’s on “Pittsburgh Winters: Still Colder than Miami’s” Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted April 16, 2007 at 5:30 pm


No, Rick. If anything, OBL gave Hussein his tacit support. Consider the following from his 1998 fatwa against the US: First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples. If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it. The best proof of this is the Americans’ continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless. Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million… despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation. So here they come to annihilate what is left of this people and to humiliate their Muslim neighbors. Third, if the Americans’ aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews’ petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel’s survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula. (emphasis added) For more evidence, you might also want to look into the Weekly Standard’s recent article on Iraq-Al Qaeda ties: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/510ixmdf.asp Here’s a highlight: George Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, stated the CIA’s position quite clearly in an October 7, 2002 letter to then head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Bob Graham (D-FL). Tenet explained, “We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade.” Iraq and al Qaeda “have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression.” Tenet warned, “We have credible reporting that al-Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al-Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.” And, “Iraq’s increasing support to extremist Palestinians, coupled with growing indications of a relationship with al-Qaeda, suggest that Baghdad’s links to terrorists will increase, even absent US military action.” Tenet was far from alone in these assessments. Michael Scheuer, the one-time head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, also used to be certain that Iraq and al Qaeda were working together. Scheuer’s first book on al Qaeda, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes, which was published in 2002, went into elaborate detail about the support the Iraqi regime was providing to al Qaeda. Among the areas of concern was Iraq’s ongoing support for al Qaeda’s chemical weapons development projects in the Sudan. Look, I’m willing to give you guys some benefit of the doubt on this, but the best that can be said for PIPA is that they’re trying to elevate a difference of opinion into a factual error, and that’s just cheap. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 5:31 pm


What’s your next expose gonna be? My money’s on “Pittsburgh Winters: Still Colder than Miami’s” Droll — it still doesn’t disprove what I’m saying. Check it out for yourself, if you dare — or, as the Biblical injunction goes, “Be a Berean.” Oh, and one other thing: That purported “evidence” that al-Qaeda may have been in cahoots with Saddam? That came out of an article published in the Weekly Standard that was definitively proven a hoax less than a week later (that was on Brock’s site, too). The MSM paid little attention to it because they knew by this time that anything in conservative print media should have been considered suspect, as I told a caller then.



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Wolverine

posted April 16, 2007 at 5:46 pm


Rick: I was kind enough to provide a link to the Weekly Standard article. Perhaps you could be so kind as to provide a link to the specific Brock item that rebuts this? Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Carl Copas

posted April 16, 2007 at 10:03 pm


From what sources do most of the folks who post on here get their news? I rarely watch news on TV, and get most of my news from the newspaper (Sacramento Bee in my case), NPR, Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now,” and the Internet. I supplement with mostly left-leaning journals/mags such as New York Review of Books. I bring this up because the choice of news sources surely colors the way a person views current events and issues. Would most folks agree that generally TV news has far less depth than print or even radio news?



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 11:03 pm


From what sources do most of the folks who post on here get their news? In my case, mostly print. As I mentioned, I work for a newspaper, so I subscribe to mine, the New York Times, the weekly national edition of the Washington Post, Time and the New Yorker. When it comes to TV, which I can’t watch most of the time because I’m still at work, I prefer broadcast network news rather than cable. Would most folks agree that generally TV news has far less depth than print or even radio news? You’re darned tootin’. TV news, and especially cable, depends more on images, bells and whistles than solid reporting. I rarely watch cable news (and when I do, it’s generally the Headline News Network).



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Mark

posted April 16, 2007 at 11:15 pm


I fear this will slip back into another liberal/conservative media bias argument, but I have respond to the evidence that’s been presented. Wolverine, Setting aside the source, the arguments made for the link are compelling. But there are also compelling arguments disputing the claims. I’m not saying a link between Hussein and Al-Queda was impossible, but given the recent history of these parties and what they have represented from an ideological standpoint it seems extremely unlikely that such enemies would easily forget all of their differences. This is a thesis which is not widely accepted by even our own government. If our leaders really believed clear evidence of the link had been found (remember this was how the question was asked) they would have made sure every citizen knew it a thousand times over. I cannot entirely prove that there was never any link, but the burden of proof should be on the accuser–in this case the attacking/aggresor nation. The information put forth by a relatively small number of those in the intelligence community is worth considering, but the many arguments that weigh against it lead me to believe that the closest answer one could give on the poll would be “not sure.” (14% resonded with this). Answering “not sure” was not considered a misperception.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 16, 2007 at 11:54 pm


Setting aside the source, the arguments made for the link are compelling. But there are also compelling arguments disputing the claims. That is why I offered my link. The claims, as far as I’m concerned, are false.



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philipH

posted April 17, 2007 at 1:01 am


I imagine all kinds of parties might have contributed to better understanding–from Fox News to the CIA to UN to NYT to ‘Joe on the street’. So how do you feel about the range of information you are getting now? Is the ‘intelligence apparatus’ community in cooperation with your elected officials and media asking the questions and providing the information so we can make at least semi-informed public decisions? For me, absolutely not.



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Kent J

posted April 17, 2007 at 1:06 am


I think maybe some of you should read “the Looming Tower”. In this book, the link between Hussein and Osama is researched and proved to be completely false. The two despised each other. I keep hearing some of you say that the info leading to the war turned out to be false. HELLO, the info was false to begin with. Scooter Libby and Dick Chaney (antichrist) deliberately fed this info as truth and were willing to give up a CIA agent in the process to keep the truth hidden. Just how many times did Saddam say they had no WMD? This administration never wanted to hear the truth, they already had a plan. Now it’s time for a new plan, how to get out.



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Wolverine

posted April 17, 2007 at 2:07 am


Mark, The hostility between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein has been frequently asserted but it never resulted in action, and never on the level of a 9/11. Certainly there were ideological differences, but there was also a common enemy. If Ribbentrop and Molotov can work out a treaty, certainly Hussein and OBL can at least do temporary collaboration. Remember how this came up: PIPA claims that Fox News viewers were misinformed in particular because they give credence to this theory — a theory that you concede has some “compelling” reasons behind it. I’m not saying that collaboration between Al Qaeda and Hussein is a given, but there is enough proof for this to constitute a genuine question of fact. And critics of Fox News, to give one example, should have the honesty to treat it as such. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 17, 2007 at 5:43 am


I’m not saying that collaboration between Al Qaeda and Hussein is a given, but there is enough proof for this to constitute a genuine question of fact. And critics of Fox News, to give one example, should have the honesty to treat it as such. You miss the point. Nothing should be published without absolute, incontrovible proof that an item is true, and the “liberal media” do do this for the most part. This is, on the other hand, where the Weekly Standard, as well as most conservative media (because they all operate the same way), consistently fall down on the job, printing rumors and “hypotheticals” rather than whatever can be confirmed by multiple, independent sources. And that does no one any good, least of all the conservatives themselves but especially the public.



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Stephen P. Horn

posted April 17, 2007 at 1:50 pm


Today’s comments in SOJO again allude to the statue of Saddam and it’s “killing”. This was staged by US forces of a photo-op that has been repeated thousands of times w/o so much as a footnote that the event was similar to the Jessica Lynch affair except that Jessica had enough guts to contradict the line that was put out in her case. The “crowd” in the square was massed in one relatively small area and the cameras on our corporate news sources never showed the entire square that was largely empty. The “crowd” was largely bused in and was far from spontaneous. Not that there was not real opposition to Saddam at that time but we were/are into propaganda more than any time in our recent history.



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Wolverine

posted April 17, 2007 at 4:08 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: Nothing should be published without absolute, incontrovible proof that an item is true, and the “liberal media” do do this for the most part. The two-source rule is a wise one for the most part, but your “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard strikes me as unworkable. It would pretty much kill investigative journalism, and would also make international reporting, especially in the field of national security, well nigh unto impossible. Look, there are folks out there who question the consensus view on global warming. Does that mean that the national media cannot cover this story? How about the Duke rape case — a lot of media outlets made a lot of statements that proved to be wrong. Certainly they did not wait until incontrovertible proof came in. Are you going to jump on them like you did with Fox News? In the end, your reasoning is all circular, and it all revolves around you: Fox News and the other conservative news and commentary outlets are wrong because they rely on different sources from you, draw different conclusions from you, and are mostly read by people who disagree with you. In the end, I suspect that what bothers you most is that there are people out there who don’t do exactly what you think they should do. I used to think like that once. Then I turned eight. Wolverine



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Mark

posted April 17, 2007 at 4:27 pm


Wolverine, Although I don’t at all believe in the theory of a link, I will for the sake of argument accept that “a genuine question of fact” exists in this case. Given even this acceptance, the answer of “unsure” in the poll seems more appropriate. A person being polled who was considering this information was free to choose this answer. The 14% that chose it were NOT considered part of those holding a misperception. I like the Ribbentrop/Molotov reference (I’m a big WW2 reader as well), and it made me think of something. It’s true that stranger things have happened in the history of human conflict than bitter enemies like Saddam and Osama linking up to fight a common enemy, but I want to run by a few other “compelling” arguments in history that I have not accepted as truth. One has to do with the eastern front in WW2. A small group of historians, led by Russian Viktor Suvorov, put forward a thesis claiming the Soviets were preparing a major strike on the Germans in July of ’41. This justifies the German attack in June as “pre-emptive,” alleviating German responsibility for its crime of aggression. I find Suvorov’s arguments compelling, but the fact that the vast majority of historians do not accept it and many books contain disputing information leads me to believe the thesis is unlikely. I suppose I could be wrong–stranger things have happened. The other has to do with U.S. government knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Some interesting and compelling arguments have been given that FDR allowed the attack, or even had a hand in bringing it about. Books have been filled with documents and other evidence to back up the thesis, but it still is rejected by the overwhelming majority of historians and I find it unlikely. I could be wrong–nothing would entirely surprise me–but I don’t think so. This is basically the way I feel about the link argument. Most explanations of historical events in human conflict have been disputed in some way, but in most cases one historical account/explanation becomes generally accepted while the disputing arguments are marginalized into the category of conspiricy theory (fair or unfair). Globally, very few media outlets, organizations, and to my knowledge no governments (including ours) are operating under the belief that clear evidence of a link between these two demagogues has been established beyond a reasonable doubt. This is why PIPA considered it a misperception.



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Paul

posted April 17, 2007 at 4:48 pm


Mark, Really appreciate the tone of your reply. Do you really mean to imply that if something has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt it is therefore false and therefore a misperception? Also the “beyond resaonable doubt” standard is applied to criminal proceedings, however, administrative law operates on “the balance of probabilities” standard. cheers, Paul



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Wolverine

posted April 17, 2007 at 4:55 pm


Mark, I enjoyed your latest “back and fill” posting very much. It reads to me like you are trying to apply the adjective “compelling” to various crank theories in order to escape the clear implications of your original post: that there were solid reasons to suspect ties between Hussien and Al Qaeda. As far as I know, the Bush administration’s position has always been that there were some ties between the two, and while the administration has been less than vocal on that point of late, they have yet to disown it. As for the PIPA poll, most of the time when a pollster asks you a question, he wants you opinion, not your assessment of what everyone else thinks. If a have a firm opinion I’m probably going to give it, even if I’m not beyond-a-reasonable-doubt certain. Maybe that’s not exactly the right answer if you parse the poll question thoroughly, but I don’t think it’s entirely fair to call these people “misinformed” because they don’t think exactly the same way that PIPA does. Wolverine



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Mark

posted April 17, 2007 at 5:04 pm


I just wanted to add that the PIPA study was absolutely not designed to pick on or criticize FoxNews. All cable news outlets fared poorly in the study, as did most network TV news. The differences between Fox and the others were minimal. I happen to be more skeptical of TV news in general rather than solely a critic of Fox. Carl, My major news sources are as follows: Newpapers–Detroit Free Press, Wallstreet Journal;TV–PBS; Radio–NPR; Internet–Yahoo internet news page, The Guardian, Financial Times, South China Morning Post, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, various other international papers/websites. I agree that print/internet/radio media is better than TV media. I particularly dislike the formats of cable TV news and stay away from pundits and analysts who cover politics like it is a sport. I also find the styles of debate and discussion on cable news to be ugly, counterproductive and geared more torwards entertaining an audience rather than keeping viewers informed on important issues.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 17, 2007 at 5:09 pm


…but your “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard strikes me as unworkable. It would pretty much kill investigative journalism, and would also make international reporting, especially in the field of national security, well nigh unto impossible. Woodward and Bernstein would probably dispute that — in fact, they had so much on Nixon that the “right-wing conspirator” I referred to in previous threads made an offer to buy the Washington Post for the express purpose of killing the story. Besides, going into print without all the facts can lead to libel suits or worse — folks at CBS indeed should have lost their jobs for blowing the Texas Air National Guard story. You do have to have the evidence, right there, in black and white. How about the Duke rape case — a lot of media outlets made a lot of statements that proved to be wrong. Certainly they did not wait until incontrovertible proof came in. Are you going to jump on them like you did with Fox News? A bad example — these men were actually charged with several specific crimes, and that in and of itself is legitimate news. Fox News and the other conservative news and commentary outlets are wrong because they rely on different sources from you, draw different conclusions from you, and are mostly read by people who disagree with you. That isn’t even close to the truth. I hope you actually looked at the link I posted about the (non-existant) connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, specifically how and why it was not credible and with appropriate documentation. Now, you may want to believe certain things because they suit your worldview, but that simply doesn’t make them true — in fact, we journalists tend to be skeptics about what we hear (it’s part of the job). And that is the reason we in the MSM are often unfairly skewered for being “liberal.” This also is why we ignored Hayes’s story when it came out — there was just too much “haze” in it.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 17, 2007 at 5:12 pm


The last sentence in my previous post — no pun intended. :-)



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Wolverine

posted April 17, 2007 at 5:48 pm


Rick, It strikes me that the practical upshot of what you say is that it would limit journalists to what they can find in official sources in a lot of cases. For instance, in the Duke rape case, the media can report that Nifong charged these young men with rape, but could they look into the evidence behind the allegations? If I get two reliable sources that say that the stories of the two strippers don’t match up, do I have to wait until I’ve interviewed both strippers myself before I can run with the story? Doesn’t that cut off debate on whether Nifong’s charges had any merit? Or the Hussein/AQ connections issue. Brock makes much of the fact that the memo cited by “Haze” does not itself draw any firm conclusions. Fair enough, but hardly dispositive. What is a journalist to do if he looks at that memo and says “ya know, the guy who drafted that memo is awful wishy-washy; the evidence he lists is pretty strong that there was (or maybe was not) a connection.” Is he forced to just say “CIA draws no conclusion on AQ/Hussein ties” and leave it there because he cannot prove to a philosophical certainty that there was (or was not) a connection? Finally, you do realize that libel against a “public figures” is awful tough to prove because of the need to show “malice”. (Too difficult, IMHO) If there’s a need for “beyond a doubt” certainty in reporting, it doesn’t come from libel law. The “two source” rule makes a fair amount of sense and if you could show that Fox ignores it that would certainly give me pause. But I’m not sure you can prove that. And in the absence of that, your “certainty” rule just strikes me as something that ties reporters hands too much. Either that, or there would be enough exceptions to it that it would be rendered largely meaningless. Wolverine



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Mark

posted April 17, 2007 at 6:36 pm


Wolverine/Paul, Listen guys, I’m trying for the sake of respectful debate/discussion not to summarily dismiss information coming from those who don’t agree with me or the polling organization. If you’ve interpreted my calling your information “compelling” as conceding that I now believe there were “solid reasons to suspect ties,” I assure you that was not my intent. “Do you really mean to imply that if something is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt it is therefore false and therefore a misperception?” Of course I don’t, what I mean to imply is that if something is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt it should not be considered “clear evidence” and answered as such. Once again, the answer of “unsure” would be quite appropriate and NOT considered a misperception. If you haven’t already read it all the way through, here’s the link:http://www.pipa.org/ (scroll to the bottom of the opening page for the list of studies) If you still find the study tainted, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’ve defended it as best I can.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 17, 2007 at 6:36 pm


For instance, in the Duke rape case, the media can report that Nifong charged these young men with rape, but could they look into the evidence behind the allegations? If I get two reliable sources that say that the stories of the two strippers don’t match up, do I have to wait until I’ve interviewed both strippers myself before I can run with the story? Yes, because it will fill out your story. And any editor will tell you to do the same. Brock makes much of the fact that the memo cited by “Haze” does not itself draw any firm conclusions. Fair enough, but hardly dispositive. What is a journalist to do if he looks at that memo and says “ya know, the guy who drafted that memo is awful wishy-washy; the evidence he lists is pretty strong that there was (or maybe was not) a connection.” Is he forced to just say “CIA draws no conclusion on AQ/Hussein ties” and leave it there because he cannot prove to a philosophical certainty that there was (or was not) a connection? That depends on your ideology, frankly. Hayes already had an idea of what he wanted to write, so he skewed the evidence that way even where it was in practice non-existant — but, once again, if you can’t definitively prove it you shouldn’t say it (or even that it “might be true”) in the first place. Besides, Bush himself eventually recanted the idea that there was such a nexus. The “two source” rule makes a fair amount of sense and if you could show that Fox ignores it that would certainly give me pause. But I’m not sure you can prove that. And in the absence of that, your “certainty” rule just strikes me as something that ties reporters hands too much. Either that, or there would be enough exceptions to it that it would be rendered largely meaningless. Brock admitted that he himself did just that in “Blinded by the Right” — after all, he was a “conservative journalist” who knows just how the whole enterprise works. If that weren’t true the conservative movement wouldn’t despise him as much as it does; as it is, when he came out with the paperback edition in 2004 he noted that not one person came out and said, “This is false and here’s why.” (Read: The right knew he had the goods.) And as for the “certainty” rule I speak of, that is precisely what keeps as much opinion out of news stories as possible. Hard news is no place for speculation (unless someone is directly quoted); if someone wants to do so it should be, and generally is, marked as “analysis” or something like that.



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Paul

posted April 17, 2007 at 7:01 pm


Mark, “Listen guys, I’m trying for the sake of respectful debate/discussion not to summarily dismiss information coming from those who don’t agree with me or the polling organization.” This is very much appreciated. “Of course I don’t, what I mean to imply is that if something is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt it should not be considered “clear evidence” and answered as such. Once again, the answer of “unsure” would be quite appropriate and NOT considered a misperception.” Thanks for the clarification. One of the difficulties is that peoples perceptions of what constitutes “beyond reasonable doubt” varies. Part of this is due to the fact that many people don’t really know what that means. As we have seen here, some don’t even know the most rudimentary rules of evidence and how to properly assess an arguement. Some seem to think that simply denying an arguements conclusion without adequately dealing with the premises and their relation to the conclusion is sufficient, when in fact, all that does is beg the question. It is one of the reasons why so much of the “dialogue” here is so unfruitful. This relates to the distinction I made in another thread between “belief” statements, and statements of “fact” A lot of people throw around statements of belief masquerading as statements of fact without an appreciation of what reasonable standards of evidence are required to make their statements carry the weight they want them to. Thanks for your contribution to the more rational part of the discussion. cheers, Paul



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 17, 2007 at 9:23 pm


It is one of the reasons why so much of the “dialogue” here is so unfruitful. This relates to the distinction I made in another thread between “belief” statements, and statements of “fact.” A lot of people throw around statements of belief masquerading as statements of fact without an appreciation of what reasonable standards of evidence are required to make their statements carry the weight they want them to. This is just what I was getting at. Too many people believe what they want to believe without considering any legitimate information that counters their basic worldview — do we then have the guts to say “I was wrong”? For example, I remember when I first heard that Martin Luther King Jr., whom I’ve always admired greatly, was a serial adulterer — I denied it at first, but when more evidence that he was came to the surface I finally accepted it as fact.



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Paul

posted April 17, 2007 at 9:42 pm


Rick Nowlin, Good for you.Too bad you still don’t understand the other points. For some interesting reviews: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15746 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blinded_by_the_Right cheers, Paul



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 17, 2007 at 10:20 pm


Paul — Brock dealt with those issues in the forward to the paperback edition. And BTW, when Hillary talked about the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” he points out that he gave her the information, albeit second-hand. The press checked it out — and it turned out true.



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Paul

posted April 18, 2007 at 2:25 am

Rick Nowlin

posted April 18, 2007 at 5:39 am


Paul — National Review is one of the media organizations Brock fingered in “Blinded by the Right” and his follow-up “The Republican Noise Machine,” and he had a few specific things to say about Bill Buckley’s wife Pat. So take that for what you will.



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Roger Newton

posted August 10, 2007 at 10:24 am


I’ve got two words for all of you leftist/fascist fools out there who live in some sort of idealistic dream world that if we just run from all of our problems that they will just go away.
GO VOTE



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Last week Jim was on The Tavis Smiley Show and talked about how the changing political landscape will affect the upcoming '08 election. Jim and Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state, debated and discussed both the impact of "value voters" on the election and what those values entail. + Down

posted 10:11:56am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Verse of the Day: 'peace to the far and the near'
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will lead them and repay them with comfort, creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them. But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss u

posted 9:35:01am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Daily News Digest (by Duane Shank)
the latest news on Mideast, Iran, Romney-Religious right, Blog action day, Turkey, SCHIP, Iran, Aids-Africa, India, Budget, Brownback-slavery apology, Canada, and selected op-eds. Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail » Blog action day. Thousands of bloggers unite in blitz of green

posted 9:31:25am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »




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