"Take Ron Paul Seriously Neocons" Warns War Street Journal
Off to the Races
Surprisingly, the Republican presidential campaign comes into focus.
Friday, September 7, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT
This week the Republican candidates for the presidency tried to make it new again. Summer's over, autumn's here, they're relaunching. I think they pretty much succeeded. Their debate Wednesday night had sparks and fire. And a new candidate moved in.
So while Barack Obama struggles with a big question of his candidacy--how to draw deep blood from Hillary Clinton without fatally endangering his future in the party and earning the enmity of its power brokers; and Mrs. Clinton figures out each day how to slow him and stop him but not right now squish him like a bug, which would highlight a reputation for ruthlessness and embitter a portion of the base--a look at the Republicans in what was a Republican week.
The debate was full of fireworks about Iraq, about its essentials--the rightness of the endeavor, and what should rightly be done now. From the libertarian Ron Paul a blunt argument against the war: We never should have gone in and we should get out. "The people who say there'll be a blood bath are the same ones who said it would be a cakewalk. . . .
Why believe them?" His foreign policy: "Mind our own business, bring our troops home, defend our country, defend our borders." After Mr. Paul spoke, it seemed half the room booed, but the other applauded. When a thousand Republicans are in a room and one man of the eight on the stage takes a sharply minority viewpoint on a dramatic issue and half the room seems to cheer him, something's going on.
Ron Paul's support isn't based on his persona, history or perceived power. What support he has comes because of his views. As he spoke, you could hear other candidates laughing in the background. They should stop giggling, and engage in a serious way.
Mike Huckabee, and for this IHuckabee, shot back that history will judge whether we were right to go in, but for now, "we're there." He echoed Colin Powell: We broke it, now we own it. "Congressman, we are one nation. We can't be divided.
. . . If we make a mistake, we make it as a single country, the United States of America, not the divided states of America." David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network says he doesn't know why Mr. Huckabee isn't in the top tier. I wonder too. Maybe he is and we don't know it.
John McCain seems liberated by loss. Once he was the front-runner, then he was over. Unburdened by the pressure to do well, he has rediscovered the pleasures of the trail. The other day when a student was impertinent, he pleasantly responded, "Thanks for the question, you little jerk." It reminded me of the time Mayor Rudy Giuliani told an insistent radio caller who pressed for the legalization of ferrets that he probably cared about the issue because he was insane.
In the debate, Mr. McCain was spirited--we stay and fight in Iraq, "otherwise we face catastrophe and genocide in the region." Fox News's focus group said won. As he retools, he should speak of Reagan in 1976, when he was washed up in South Carolina and said, "I'm taking this all the way to the convention, and I'm going even if I lose every damn primary between now and then."
Mitt Romney is--well, he continues to seem like someone who's stepped from the shower and been handed a dress shirt by his manservant George. He's like a senior account executive on "Mad Men." Still the most focused and disciplined of all the Republicans, he did fine the other night. But he should get shirt-sleeved, dig deeper, get to his purpose.
He had the best quips about Fred Thompson's decision to get in, telling reporters, "Why the hurry? Why not take a little longer to think this over? From my standpoint, if he wants to wait until January or February, that would be ideal."
Rudy Giuliani proved it is possible to bang the gong too much on leading New York City. Enough already, we heard you, move on. Then come back to it in a few months and make it new again. For now, can he be thoughtful about foreign affairs? Not forceful, not pugnacious, not rote, but thoughtful. No one knows quite what he thinks, as opposed to feels.
Duncan Hunter was there. So was Tom Tancredo, who shouldn't be. When you can't compellingly break through with the issue that most roils the base, and on which you were a leader and in agreement with the roiled, then you should admit it didn't work, and leave. But whom he throws his support to--who he decides has an immigration stand he can back--might have some significant impact on primary voters.
For Fred Thompson, spurning the debate and announcing on Leno was rude and shrewd. He loped on like a long, tall, folksy fella and got a good burst of applause from the audience when he said he was running. The Web video was fine, the 60-second commercial unveiled Wednesday too self-consciously presidential. A young journalist brutally remarked to me of the makeup and lighting, "He looks like a skull on a Disney pirate ride."
He faces three big challenges. He has come in saying, essentially, I'm not the other guys. That's good, but raises the questions: Who are you? And the reason you're running for president would be . . .?
Second challenge: You can come to the rescue only when someone calls "Help!" You can save the drowning guy only when he falls through the ice; you can't do it when he's skating by and giving you a friendly nod. Three and six months ago, the Republican Party was looking at its slate of candidates and shouting, "Help!" Since then, the candidates have been out there making an impression, getting known, declaring their stands. They've found supporters.
Is the party still yelling "Help!"? Is it falling through the ice?
A third challenge, I think, is a certain dissonance in Mr. Thompson's persona. He seems preoccupied, not full of delight that he's at the party. John McCain has been having sly fun with the idea of Mr. Thompson's sluggishness. When asked why Mr. Thompson didn't come to the debate, Mr. McCain said "Maybe we're up past his bedtime."
I felt this week, and to my surprise, that the campaign was focusing itself, tightening in some way, getting serious. The next Republican debate, the first one with Mr. Thompson, is Sept. 17, in New Hampshire.
The first real voting, in Iowa and New Hampshire, is in only four months. For all our complaints about the endless campaign, this one may catch us short. It may get decided when we aren't watching--knowing, as everyone told us, that we had plenty of time to start paying attention. This could move quickly. Got to watch now.
Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father" (Penguin, 2005)
Things must be getting tough for the republicans.They used to use those images against the liberals :yes:
Like I said the other day, when the money reports come in at the end of the month, the story is going to look a lot differently. I heard Ron Paul's name mentioned quite a few times on the air yesterday.
I don't think that Rudy and Mitt can keep snickering in the background like they do at the debates
I had a chance to watch much of the debate and saw the saprring between Huckabee (he impressed me for my first time seeing him) and Ron Paul.
I wish the world worked the way that Paul envisions it. The problem is that radical Islamoterrorists are absolutely going to attack us here when they get the chance. Our entrance into Iraq did not usher in a new era of attack on our country, despite what some might think (see the two WTC attacks, the Cole, MC base, etc.) If Americans believed that our oceans protected us from mass murderers like Al Queda and Hezbollah, I would be willing to listen to Mr. paul. But we were not insulated or isolated as Mr. paul would want us to be.
Out of a weak field, I probably came away with some appreciation for Huckabee and was thoroughly unimpressed with Tancredo. I think Paul is quick on his feet and, about a century ago, probably would havev made a heck of a candidate.
[QUOTE]Antiwar Republican sets the terms of GOP debate by Justin RaimondoWe know that Ron Paul did great in the Republican presidential debate sponsored by Fox News and held in Durham, New Hampshire, because how else can we explain neocon Andy McCarthy's exclamation of despair over at the National Review group blog? "Why," he cried out in anguish, "is there so much cheering for Ron Paul?"
As the last of the neoconservative dead-enders, holed up over at "The Corner," mutter darkly, Paul, the ten-term libertarian Republican congressman from Texas, is stealing the spotlight from the so-called frontrunners. For the first time in many a moon, we witnessed a genuine knock-down drag-out brawl between presidential contenders: a real mix-up in which Rep. Paul, the only antiwar candidate in the GOP pack, succeeded in framing the debate around his challenge to neocon orthodoxy on the all-important issue of foreign policy.
By the way, thanks to Fox News for their brazen hostility to Paul, which blew right back in their faces. The refusal to even acknowledge him until a good twenty minutes into the debate, and Chris Wallace's consistently sneering tone when a question finally came Paul's way, didn't stop the Texas troublemaker from stealing the show anyway.
Go here for the video, so you can hear the dripping sarcasm in Seρor Wallace's voice as he characterizes the Paulian position on Iraq as "pretty simple." Okay, so you want to get out, but what asked Wallace about "trying to minimize the bloodbath that would certainly occur if we pull out in a hurry?"
A great deal of Paul's growing appeal as a candidate lies in his apparent inability to emulate the bromidic grammar-challenged phrases that pass for stirring political rhetoric these days.
Instead, he cuts to the chase with a few razor-sharp sentences, and his answer to Wallace did not disappoint his fans:
"The people who say there will be a bloodbath are the ones who said it would be a cakewalk, it would be slam dunk, and that it would be paid for by oil. Why believe them? They've been wrong on everything they've said. Why not ask the people (interrupted by cheers) why not ask the people who advised not to go into the region and into the war? The war has not gone well one bit."
This is an extremely effective trope, politically, for Ron, and that is his alacrity in identifying and going after the Bad Guys, in this case, the crew that lied us into war and is now trying to blame everyone but themselves for the debacle.
As the US position in Iraq becomes more untenable by the day, awaiting only a Beirut-style attack on the Green Zone to underline the finality of our failure, the urge to hold someone responsible for what General William E. Odom rightly calls the biggest strategic disaster in our history grips large portions of the electorate.
Who lost Iraq? The question is even now being asked, and one's answer seems to largely depend on ideological and partisan allegiances.
The neocons blame Bush: he didn't follow their instructions to the letter, you see, by putting their sock puppet, Ahmed Chalabi, in charge from the beginning.
The Israelis, too, blame Bush: now they're saying that they always wanted him to go after Iran, not Iraq perhaps he got the two countries mixed up, somehow.
McCain also blames Bush, claiming that the war has been "mismanaged," although we hear very little about how he would manage to occupy a nation of some 30 million souls that resent and have come to hate the American presence.
And we haven't even gotten to the Democrats, who, naturally, blame the Great Decider for practically everything an inadequate explanation for the disastrous course of the past six years that they nonetheless think is sufficient for their purposes. This is a blunt sword with which to slash away at the Republicans, and yet Paul has found a sharper instrument, one that cuts to the quick and provides the electorate with what they're looking for a truly deserving scapegoat. But we'll get to that in a minute.
Wallace also asked if Paul would "leave troops in the region to take out any al Qaeda camps that are developed after we leave," and Paul's answer, interwoven with his riff on "they were wrong then, why should we believe them now?", takes an unequivocal position "Yes, I would leave, I would leave completely" that outflanks any of the ostensibly antiwar Democratic candidates, and yet still resonates with the old conservative adage, "win or get out," which dates back to the Vietnam era.
Paul, however, goes beyond a mere critique of the present policy, and offers a coherent and comprehensive alternative, succinctly and with real passion in his voice:
"I am less safe, the American people are less safe for this.
It's the policy that is wrong. Tactical movements and shifting troops around and taking in 30 more and reducing by five, totally irrelevant. We need a new foreign policy that said we ought to mind our own business, bring our troops home, defend this country, defend (bell sounds) our borders "
What's this a presidential candidate who thinks in terms of principles? And a Republican, to boot! Good lord, we can't have that! What is he, some kind of kook?!
Wallace's fangs extended to their full length before Paul was done, and he leapt at the chance to pull off a Fox News-style on-air smear:
"So, Congressman Paul, and I'd like you to take 30 seconds to answer this, you're basically saying that we should take our marching orders from al-Qaeda? If they want us off the Arabian Peninsula, we should leave? (Laughter.)
You have thirty seconds to tell us why you're not a terrorist-loving, pro-jihadist tool of radical militant violent crazed bloodthirsty Islam and Osama bin Laden's best friend go!
PAUL: "No! (Cheers, applause.) I'm saying (laughter) I'm saying we should take our marching orders from our Constitution. We should not go to war (cheers, applause) we should not go to war without a declaration. We should not go to war when it's an aggressive war. This is an aggressive invasion. We've committed the invasion of this war, and it's illegal under international law. That's where I take my marching orders, not from any enemy. (Cheers, boos.)"
As the reporter for National Public Radio put it:
"A mixture of boos and applause that followed indicates just how divided even a Republican audience in New Hampshire is over the issue of Iraq."
The raucous debate over Iraq was the leitmotif and high point of the New Hampshire debate, and the only antiwar candidate in the pack was right in the middle of it, expressing the doubts and anger of the thirty-six percent-plus of Republican primary voters who now think the war was a mistake and want us out.
Brownback, offered the chance to rebut Paul's apostasy, demurred, and instead babbled about Tom Friedman's idea of a "political surge," which is shorthand for acknowledging failure. Mike Huckabee, however, chose to take on Paul when Wallace asked him about the pessimistic prognosis of the latest National Intelligence Estimate, which says the "surge" won't stem the rising tide of violence nor bring about a viable government for Iraq. So why continue?
With the unerring instinct of a born crowd-pleaser, Huckabee went straight into that old riff about the Pottery Barn Rule, cribbed from Colin Powell:
"We have to continue the surge. And let me explain why, Chris. When I was a little kid, if I went into a store with my mother, she had a simple rule for me. If I picked something off the shelf of the store and I broke it, I bought it.
"I learned don't pick something off the shelf I can't afford to buy.
"Well, what we did in Iraq, we essentially broke it. It's our responsibility to do the best we can to try to fix it before we just turn away because something is at stake. Senator McCain made a great point, and let me make this clear.
If there's anybody on this stage that understands the word honor, I've got to say Senator McCain understands that word (applause, cheers) because he has given his country a sacrifice the rest of us don't even comprehend. (Continued applause.)"
Notice that there are few, if any, facts in the above-quoted peroration. Just a cute little anecdote about him and his mom, and, furthermore, one that we have heard before, which simulates the warm fuzziness of folksy wisdom and yet has no real content.
A personal anecdote and a rather odd analogy comparing a country of 30 million living persons, with a history that predates the dawn of civilization, to an item sitting on a shelf in a store, an object to be examined, priced, bought, and sold, says more about the wrongness of this war of conquest, and more eloquently, than any of its critics have so far managed.
Honor is there any honor in this war? Most Americans think the cost of this conflict isn't worth it that it was a mistake to go in, and it's a mistake to stay in. That's what Ron Paul believes, too, but not the Huckster, who appeals to the heart, not the head, and who's selling the "surge" and the war aims of this administration with an emotional demagoguery that belies his mild persona.
Turning to Paul, he addressed him directly:
"And on this issue, when he says we can't leave until we've left with honor, I 100 percent agree with him because, Congressman, whether or not we should have gone to Iraq is a discussion that historians can have, but we're there. We bought it because we broke it.
We've got a responsibility to the honor of this country and to the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and ever served in our military to not leave them with anything less than the honor that they deserve. (Cheers, applause.)"
I'm sure the Iraqi people would be very interested to learn that they have been bought: does that mean they'll all get green cards and engraved invitations to emigrate once we leave? I hardly think so.
As for the honor of this country, it has suffered quite enough at the hands of warmongers and opportunists, who spared no effort in their campaign to drag us down into this quagmire including "outing" a CIA agent, falsifying "intelligence," and engaging in systematic deception to fit the "facts" around a pre-conceived conclusion. Defending the nonexistent "honor" of these people which is not the same as the honor of this country isn't worth a single life, either American or Iraqi.
Paul homed right in on the logical error at the core of the Huckster's honor-mongering:
"The American people didn't go in. A few people advising this administration, a small number of people called the neoconservative hijacked our foreign policy. They're responsible, not the American people. They're not responsible. We shouldn't punish them. (Cheers, applause.)"
Here's the blame-the-neocons theme popping up again, and quite opportunely. Paul's focus is admirable: he goes right for the jugular, and hits it unerringly.
Who lost Iraq? Was it us, the American people, as the neocons imply, because we didn't have the spine to stick it out?
Neocon military guru Max Boot once bemoaned the lack of American casualties in Afghanistan, because such a supposedly easy victory wouldn't prepare us for the coming slaughter: today, presumably, the bloodshed has lived up to Boot's expectations, and he must be satisfied with some 3,500 dead and 40,000-plus with major wounds.
Boot's point, however, was that the American people lacked the toughness it takes to run an empire: they are too squeamish about taking casualties. This theme of our supposed moral deficiency has run through the War Party's propaganda, especially now that the Iraq war is hugely unpopular, amounting to a taunt: Are we tough enough to tough it out until victory? Do we have what it takes?
This what might be called the argument from machismo worked in the beginning, but has long since lost its power to intimidate. And Paul is hardly one to be intimidated by such a facile playground jibe.
Instead of reacting defensively, he went on the offensive and challenged the premise behind the Huckster's emotional appeal to our collective "honor" by pointing an accusing finger at specific individuals, namely, the neocons. This "we are all to blame" collective guilt-tripping isn't going to go over very well with the electorate, for the very good reason that they know it isn't true.
The War Party conducted their own "shock and awe" campaign on American shores before Bush ever unleashed a more deadly version in the skies over Baghdad. We all heard the neocons Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, former CIA director James Woolsey, Bill Kristol, and whole platoons of laptop bombardiers tapping away in the hangars of the American Enterprise Institute say it was going to be a "cakewalk," and that the Iraqi people would greet us as "liberators." We heard them round the clock in the run-up to war, declaring, with utter certainty, that those "weapons of mass destruction" were a threat to the entire region, and a challenge to US national security that had to be answered with force.
We heard these same voices echoing and elaborating on the administration's talking points, including the supposed threat posed by Iraq-inspired terrorism right here on our shores. Now this same crew is braying that we can't leave, that we have a moral obligation to clean up the mess they made, and that to fail to do so is to risk losing our honor.
What honor we had was lost the moment we went to war under false pretenses. The only way to recapture it is to retrace our steps, to conduct a thorough investigation in order to discover how and why we were deceived into invading and occupying Iraq and, most important of all, by whom.
After all, we can't do much about our looming defeat on the battlefield, because the announced war aims of the administration never were achievable, but we can find and punish those responsible for pushing such a reckless strategy. That is the implicit program behind Paul's jibes at the neocons, and it is very effective, as indicated by the loud applause and cheering that greeted the candidate's remarks.
The Huckster, in answer, reached into his bag of emotional salves and demagogic snake-oil, and pulled out a Lincolnian trope to fit the occasion:
"Congressman, we are one nation. We can't be divided. We have to be one nation under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country, the United States of America, not the divided states of America. (Cheers.)"
Oh really? If the head lemming goes over a cliff, the rest have a patriotic duty or is that a compulsion? to follow him. This is the red-state fascist Leader Principle drawn out to its logical conclusion: we must commit collective suicide in the name of "unity." One nation, under the neocon hucksters who sold us a rotten bill of goods, indivisible, with climbing debt for all and war profits for the few. How convenient for the War Party and how the Republicans are dreaming if they think they can get away with this, even with their alleged "base."
Paul was speaking for a lot of rank-and-file Republican voters when he replied:
"No. When we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people through their representatives to correct the mistake, not to continue the mistake! (Cheers, applause.)"
Paul wins this argument because he is here showing that the Huckster has already conceded by acknowledging that we did indeed "break" Iraq, instead of liberating it. If we continue to occupy it, we continue the process that will lead to its final break-up: our presence makes the situation worse, not better, and this is what the Huckster is tacitly admitting. The belief that we'll somehow get a different result by engaging in the same actions is tantamount to madness.
The Huckster protested that Congress is stepping into the breach, but Paul would have none of it:
"No! We've dug a hole for ourselves and we dug a hole for our party! We're losing elections and we're going down next year if we don't change it, and it has all to do with foreign policy, and we have to wake up to this fact.
"HUCKABEE: Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor, and that is more important to the Republican Party."
Let's stop a moment, here, and note this extraordinary admission: the Huckster is saying, well, we're going to lose anyway, so why not nominate me? If you were a Republican, would you find that very inspiring?
Aside from that, however, there's the question of how many lives the War Party's "honor" is worth. 3,500? 10,000? 50,000?
These are questions the Huckster's emotion-laden appeals to American machismo are designed to quell, but they require answers. Here is Paul's answer, as, a seventy-something man standing straight as an arrow, he raised his voice over the applause and the catcalls:
"We've lost over 5,000 Americans over there in Afghanistan and Iraq and plus the civilians killed. How many more do you want to lose? How long are we going to be there? How long what do we have to pay to save face? That's all we're doing is saving face. It's time we came home!"
Whose face are we saving? Whose honor is at stake? Not America's, because, as Paul pointed out, it wasn't the American people who wanted this war, and it wasn't they who conducted a campaign to convince themselves and the world that Iraq was a deadly threat that had to eliminated.
It was the neocons who wanted this war, who planned it, who agitated for it, and who finally got their heart's desire when the bombs began to fall on Baghdad. It is their honor that is at stake and, as we all know, the honor of those who never had any to begin with cannot be compromised. [/QUOTE]
[QUOTE=Come Back to NY]yeh- homemade web sites like prison planet and truthout are more the speed for the mentally incompetent....[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE]Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader.
"The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead," the source said.
Bin Laden, according to the source, was suffering from a serious lung complication and succumbed to the disease in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief.
About 30 close associates of bin Laden in Al Qaeda, including his most trusted and personal bodyguards, his family members and some "Taliban friends," attended the funeral rites. A volley of bullets was also fired to pay final tribute to the "great leader."
The Taliban source who claims to have seen bin Laden's face before burial said "he looked pale ... but calm, relaxed and confident."
Asked whether bin Laden had any feelings of remorse before death, the source vehemently said "no." Instead, he said, bin Laden was proud that he succeeded in his mission of igniting awareness amongst Muslims about hegemonistic designs and conspiracies of "pagans" against Islam. Bin Laden, he said, held the view that the sacrifice of a few hundred people in Afghanistan was nothing, as those who laid their lives in creating an atmosphere of resistance will be adequately rewarded by Almighty Allah.
When asked where bin Laden was buried, the source said, "I am sure that like other places in Tora Bora, that particular place too must have vanished."[/QUOTE]
so does the fact the story begins sourcing this report from another news paper mean anything to you??
[QUOTE]Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader.[/QUOTE]
or are we to continue to believe you are the most ignorant moron on the face of the earth???
[QUOTE]A new study by Indiana University media researchers finds that Fox News host Bill OReilly calls [B]a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute [/B] during the editorials that open his program each night.[/QUOTE]