Senate to have first closed-door meeting in 25 years



  • @DarthMaximus:

    That is not misleading, that is bad intel.  There is no intent.

    If i called anyone here gay, because i believe it and noone tells me i am wrong, is that “bad intel” or misleading?

    Plus if you are going to fake it, why not just plant a couple of make shift dirty bombs in Baghdad?

    Why fake some baloney build up?  Just fake some elementary dirty bombs (in the months after the war) and get your approval up to 90%.  Have your troops kill Saddam in his rat hole (eliminate witness).  Forge some old Saddam documents from the 90’s saying he aquired stuff to make dirty bombs and planning to hit Israel and give to people to hit US.
    I mean people made documents that foold Dan Rather.  I think the US could forge some really great stuff.

    True…… up to the last point:
    In Belgrad you bombed the chinese embassy because the CIA had out-dated city maps …
    well, that could have been quite a good forgery indeed … so i agree on all of it.

    It just doesn’t make sense to fake such a stupid part.

    agreed

    It makes no sense.  These aren’t stupid people.

    Them being stupid is the last option that seems plausible to me.

    But why was the UN so unwilling to back up its resolutions?

    Because the weapon inspectors, parts of the UN, said they needed more time.
    If i am in an organisation that i trust, and someone says “we need more time” then i trust that person.
    (Just like GWB trusted his CIA people although the intel was “stupid” and some obviously faked 🙂 )

    I think if we had full UN support, Iran, NK and Syria would have all caved by now.

    You could have gotten full support, but you didn’t want it  or wait long enough.
    Well … obviously, the weapon inspectors would not have found anything, and thus the motion of WMDs would have failed. Plus: SH gave in to all UN demands and did not violate anything once the US had built up its armies.
    All you had to do was make the UN pay for the army … and all would have been good.

    About the scaring the world, I guess I can see that, but it shouldn’t.

    You shouldn’t have been afraid by the USSR.
    But fear is so irrational.

    But we are always right.  😄

    I feared that  😐



  • Well, Darth, of course it’s partly posturing:  that’s to be expected in politics.  But as you recognize, reasonings aren’t necessarily negated by the actions used to advance reasonings.  But more on that later.

    In any event, the difference between 1998 and 2002 was the use of inspectors and the limit on military conduct.  The change wasn’t sudden, especially when you consider that about 4 years passed in between the two incidents, and more importantly a lot changed on the ground in Iraq that was not accounted for in Bush admin calculations.  For example, the lack of inspectors was huge.  France was being contrarian in 2002, but Germany wasn’t necessarily, and the divide was over concerns about inspectors:  could they be reintroduced, can they ferret out NBC capability if provided with sufficient political and possibly military backing?  And Desert Fox versus Iraqi Freedom:  one was a limited missile strike which doesn’t have greater implications for Iraqi sovereignty, the other…well, that’s obvious.  These are fundamental differences in foreign policy at least that other countries, and the US, consider.  Read Ritter’s book (Endgame) for an illuminating view of this.

    In addition, in war, selling the issue is often the problem.  Winning almost any war for the US is no longer a question.  It is simply too instrumentally powerful a military for the outcome to be other than victory.  Existentially and adaptability is another question, and that ties into why a war must be sold.  As I said, what reasons you choose necessarily impact how you conduct and prosecute a war.  Listing multiple reasons is fine, provided that they all work towards the same end.  For example, are you eliminating WMDs?  Then why don’t you reintroduce inspectors, who seemed to be working?  Are you helping the Iraqi people?  Then how about addressing the punitive sanctions regime which wasn’t really working.  Are you going for regime change?  Well, that’s the big question, and Bush’s inability to talk about that clearly has international consequences, the most important being lack of support.  And we can already see how that is bogging down the US military.

    The domestic analogy sometimes works in IR, but this is not one of those times.  In catching a criminal and making multiple charges, the task is clear:  put this guy behind bars anyway possible.  The system and institutions are established to process that individual was incarcerated, and the big question is getting him to that point.  But what about regime change or any other foreign policy measure?  Where is the automated system?  What are the conflicting goals between objectives?  Remember, much as semantically it works, Iraq is not a unifed entity, as I think we can see.  There are multiple objectives, sometimes working at cross-purposes, which must be juggled, both between countries and within the US bureaucracy.  It defies easy resolutions, which was the principle problem I found with going to war in Iraq.

    You’ve kind of misunderstood my point about prevention vs. pre-emption.  Pre-emptive attack is considered a defensive move, provided that the country can show imminent danger, etc.  But that was not the US stance.  It was preventive, halting a potential threat in the future.  As such, it is not defensive, but aggressive.  In that case, the US, and any other country, does not have the right to war under international law.  Long established principle reaching back to St. Augustine.  And while yes, people should be taking the Democratic Senators to task for their votes for the war, that doesn’t mean that Bush is blameless.  Granting authorization is one thing that should be addressed, but the prosecution of the war, the alienation of international support, and the lack of post-war planning, is entirely the fault of the Bush administration.  Questions regarding manipulation of evidence are also important, but require a thorough, non-partisan investigation, which is why I think this closed door session was a positive thing on balance (and for the reasons I made earlier).  Plus, the Democratic Senators have distanced themselves from frankly deplorable policies, like Abu Ghraib, and the war more generally.  That only adds to their credibility when the administration as a matter of functioning cannot do so, and of course, that has had dire implications for post-war planning and strategy.

    You know, you make these logical conflations.  One person’s involvement in an issue does not exonerate another’s.  As such, Democratic Senators voting for war does not mean Bush shouldn’t be taken to task for his actions, especially when his are more consequential.  Likewise, simply because someone perceives a critic as being supportive of Saddam, doesn’t mean that the critic actually is, or that the criticism is invalid.  Prevention being a different class of action than pre-emption.  Finally, support for a fundamentally different action in 1998 displays hypocrisy in 2002.  You’ve got to parse these elements out better to make a stronger case for supporting the Bush presidency.  I think it can be done, but you need a finer analytical comb to do it.

    But give me a good reason for any non-American to think that.

    Cause if you don’t we’ll invade!!!  Muhuahahhahahaha!   😄

    That’s a joke.

    Don’t worry, I picked up on it.  🙂



  • @DarthMaximus:

    No they fail to realize there was MORE THAN one reason for the war.

    State of the Union address 2003:
    “If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.”
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030128-19.html

    The war was about WMDs
    Saddam did disarm (as he had nothing), GWB still lead the coalition.

    Bush always said “we can’t wait until Saddam has these capabilities”.  He never said he had nukes.  He said we can’t wait until he gets them.  Too many people gloss over this.

    What iff you equate nukes and WMDs ….
    and remember that GWB said
    “The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons.”
    in
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021007-8.html

    The US has every right to defend itself as it sees fit.  As does any other country.

    Cause if you don’t we’ll invade!!!  Muhuahahhahahaha!    :lol:
    That’s a joke.

    (a) the US has no right to “defend” itself if it is not attacked. Iraq never attacked the USA. An aggressive war is only legal if it is sanctioned by the UN (no matter what your congress says on that, it can’t define international law). This war was not sanctioned.
    So, yes, you can defend yourself. Yes, you didn’T defend yourself here, but oyu attacked.
    (b) not funny at all. Scary, especially because you are joking about it.
    Let’s make jokes about suicide bombers in NYC, shall we?

    @Imperious:

    the masses of ignorants … should never be allowed to shape public policy

    You are an anti-democrat



  • You are an anti-democrat

    the founding fathers believed similarly to this as well


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    1.  Lies to appeal to a domestic audience might hurt you in an international one, making this a bad policy.

    I have stated the opposite the leader must appeal to his own ideals and those of his appointed experts, and not the hysterical masses ( polls).

    2.  Who determines who the enlightened few are?

    Im assuming the ones in power, i just determine who is not in the loop and should not have any influence in national policy.

    3.  What happens when the enlightened few disagree about the nature of US interests?

    I would hope they are from the same mold and share the common Ideals. At least the consensus of a plan would involve some deals, but the overall goal would remain the same.Otherwise they are voted out of office.

    4.  Whose relatives are affected or even die for the vision of the enlightened few, and why should they then not get a say in what’s happening, or to know the truth of what’s going on?

    They have access to information and the information should not be hidden. The policy mandated by the leadership remains its sword and it should never decide its rule by the mob. Again i say President Bush should be his own man and never do anything out of concern for his own philosophy of what is best for the nation. The truth is guarded by a bodyguard of lies allowing the art of propaganda is used for full effect.This in turn will control the population to serve its own ends. Basically it returns an authorative govenment but allowing the access of information.The ignorant are placated into doing the best for the each other and the social framework much like religion controls the masses into a specific form of behavior but also like the sheep are led by the cattle dog.



  • @Imperious:

    They have access to information and the information should not be hidden. The policy mandated by the leadership remains its sword and it should never decide its rule by the mob. Again i say President Bush should be his own man and never do anything out of concern for his own philosophy of what is best for the nation. The truth is guarded by a bodyguard of lies allowing the art of propaganda is used for full effect.This in turn will control the population to serve its own ends. Basically it returns an authorative govenment but allowing the access of information.The ignorant are placated into doing the best for the each other and the social framework much like religion controls the masses into a specific form of behavior but also like the sheep are led by the cattle dog.

    so the people are allowed access to information which is some truth and a whole bunch of lies?  So it does appear that Bush is working within this framework you are toting.  So was Saddam.  I now see another connection.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    There is no real contradiction consider: The official propaganda is published to portray whatever gets the people to support it, while whatever truth may not be clarified the government would not supress or hide it. It may still be discovered, but allways released after the action is taken. This is not unlike official military clearance of news. The military of nearly any nation does not allow certain facts about what is happening to be shown untill after a period of time pases. Sometimes its classified and this is a normal process. The overall point im making is that the political leadership should follow a path independant of any sentiment coming from its constituents, because after all its empowered with its own authority. To cower at the very idea of the ignorant masses sees as the truth deludes the prime role of Leadership. It is not a rule of representation of the many. It forges its own direction. Winston Churchill was a good Leader. He didnt do a damm thing unless he felt it would help England in the end. IN fact being his own man cost him his job late in the war and he wasnt even allowed to finish the job. But during the time he ruled… he did in fact rule and thank god for it. If he would have listen to his “people” or the international community or even some of his “advisors” he would have folded his tent and Germany would have been master. A man like Chamberlan comes to mind as a chap who wants to please everybody everytime and that led England to near ruin. Jimmy carter was another example



  • In light of your last few posts, IL, I would have to agree with Falk:  you’re anti-democratic, at least on these points.  But I don’t think that will trouble you.  So, let me try to point out some difficulties in your reasoning.

    First off, the problem is your conception of democracy.  In particular,

    @Imperious:

    The overall point im making is that the political leadership should follow a path independant of any sentiment coming from its constituents, because after all its empowered with its own authority. To cower at the very idea of the ignorant masses sees as the truth deludes the prime role of Leadership.

    points to your main contention.  Now, try to operationalize that sentiment in a democracy.  Yes, you can have vetting of information, etc.  But you forget that in advanced democracies like the US, there are independent sources of power and information.  Of course, they are manipulated at times, but it is an extraordinarily hard argument to say that they are manipulated often.  If they were, you wouldn’t have the conservative backlash against large media corporations that you see today, for example.  Frankly, with modern media, information comes out independent official sources.  Media reports of Iraq, for example, are far from any ideal that the Pentagon would promote.  The most glaring example of this is Abu Ghraib, as well as the recent body burnings in Afghanistan and the reports of extra-legal prisons in Eastern Europe.

    Another operational point:  voting and elections.  Democracies institutionalize responsibility to the public.  Do something your constituencies don’t like, and you get voted out.  Just look at the Harriet Miers debacle, and now the Alito nomination.  If that isn’t appeal to a certain constituency, I’m not sure what is.  For international affairs, consider the inevitable drumming up of support before any military action.  That sort of behavior would not exist if accountability were not there.  And when I said, “Lies to appeal to a domestic audience might hurt you in an international one, making this a bad policy.” you misunderstood me.  I meant appeal in a neutral sense, in whatever propaganda is used to bolster public support for undertaking an action, not to synchronize the justification for an action with broad public sentiment.  (in the former, the government is the proactive actor)  And consider what happens if you don’t consider constituency, like in Vietnam.  We still live in the fallout of that conflict, with which huge implications for the way Americans saw themselves, the use of military force, the system and relationship of civilian control over the military, etc.  With the advances in information technology, can you reasonably expect the current war in Iraq not to have even greater information feedback and therefore questioning?

    Now, you are correct in that military clearance of news (and its civilian counterpart) does occur.  But I think you’ll have a harder arguing that it happens for all news the public receives, or that that situation is a good thing.  Which leads me to your last, and arguably most important, point.  True leadership is not simply forging one’s own way without care or regard for anyone else.  Churchill eventually lost because he couldn’t adapt his methods for radically different circumstances.  Inflexibility also seems to be plaguing the current US administration.  Another form of leadership is to guide the public to what is part of the leader’s vision, but in guiding people, the leader must ultimately bend towards public opinion, at least in part.  Consider Wilson and Roosevelt, who had to convince a reluctant nation to participate in awfully bloody wars.  A different type of leadership, but no less valid than Churchill or Bush’s method.

    Finally, I am naturally wary of “follow the leader” type arguments, in part because leaders are simply people, no more skilled or infallible than you or I.  The access to certain information does not mean they have access to the right information, and as is amply shown, leaders are often just plain wrong.  Saddam Hussein was a leader who miscalculated about invading Kuwait.  Bush Senior was a leader who miscalculated about how much Iraq would take.  Clinton screwed up on universal healthcare coverage and Monica Lewinsky.  And Bush junior has screwed up on Katrina, Iraq, North Korea, and Iran, and is only now trying to pull himself out of those situations.  The liberty you give to leaders appears to abrogate their responsibilities to the people they serve, approaching a divine right.  However, you really can’t justify granting that right other than by recourse to some special ability that leaders have, which is manifestly not the case, or by arguing that judgment should be withheld until later (as you’ve argued before).  Neither of these, however, are very good arguments, because they fail to acknowledge that elected officials can simply screw up.  They’re not gods, they’re people, and as such, they can be scrunitized by people.  And if they can make mistakes, that’s all the more reason for various organs within the public to keep a watch over their actions and influence them towards more socially acceptable ends.

    There’s a larger debate in democratic theory about the public encouraging immoral (simply put) actions on the part of their leaders.  But that’s a different argument and one which I think you’re reluctant to take up.  But that’s for another time perhaps.  Hope you found my thoughts interesting, and I’m looking forward to your comments.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    you’re anti-democratic

    I have always been opposed to democracy in its current form. I favor a return to Imperal rule that was last tastefully done during the Bismarck era and to a lessor extent from the period of 1888-1918. A close comparison of this during the American historical period would be under Teddy Roosevelts presidency. In these times national leaders looked after their brethern with all the ideals and sentiments that found the national aspirations and identity and purpose. Things really got done and no red tape or “public outcry” was to stop the national policy that was being pursued. I dont want my Leader to be responsible to what a certain faction of people want or dont want. I want unencumbered vitality in what decisions are made on MY behalf. If my elected leader feels that its necessary to wage a war with Iraq, then i fully support that decision. If enought people dont like this then in 4 years somebody else can have a chance to rule. But while you rule… you rule. Your not gonna base your appointments on some PC crap or polling data. Your not going to take money from any group so you can later enact some law to benifit them. A “political contribution” is acceptable but your not going to do anything to recipricate except serve the nation as you best see fit. In Bush’s case hes not allways doing this. He recently tried to replace Sandra O’conner with someone who had no experiance, but it appears that he tried to find “some woman” to appease the losers who would accuse him of coming up with another “anti- abortion”  appointed judge. At least on the war he will stick to his plan inspite of the countless thousands of self interest groups destroying our nation. I give him props for that.



  • Sorry I haven’t been around lately.  In any event, your last post was very helpful in clarifying your general philosophy, which certainly improved my understanding of your position.  My concerns with it run on three lines:

    1.  “Things really got done and no red tape or “public outcry” was to stop the national policy that was being pursued. I dont want my Leader to be responsible to what a certain faction of people want or dont want.”

    My understanding is that the best imperial administrations (take Britain for example) were highly bureaucratic.  Indeed, it was the bureaucracy that turned the sovereign’s will into action.  But that could in many ways throw up roadblocks to sudden turns in policy, etc.  Also, I think you’re leaving out the importance of the middle class/new nobility/old nobility in many imperial nations.  After all, the second flowering of imperialism coincided with the populist ascendency.  Squaring those two movements, however, doesn’t necessarily lead to the conclusion of an unfettered ruler.  Interestingly, it could be plausibly argued that the UK was the greatest empire of that age.  Yet, in political cartoons and public discourse, it was commonly seen that the sovereign was a caged or limited one, constrained by the oversight of nobles and businessmen.  And I think that may provide a clue as to why democracies have replaced imperialist governments.  In many ways, they are more efficient, governed better, and as is sometimes noted, prevent famine.  But that’s a much longer argument which we can take up later.

    2.  “He recently tried to replace Sandra O’conner with someone who had no experiance, but it appears that he tried to find “some woman” to appease the losers who would accuse him of coming up with another “anti- abortion” appointed judge.”

    I’m not so certain that picking Miers was an appeal to the left.  Pro-choice individuals didn’t really like her either.  I think he was driven more by concerns over executive privilege rather than ideological legacy.  After all, he had many women that he could have picked:  Priscilla Owen, Brown, etc.  They all have much better legal credentials and credibility with the hard right, yet Bush did not choose them.  I’d be really interested to see what reports eventually reveal about this decision-making process.

    3.  “I want unencumbered vitality in what decisions are made on MY behalf. […] If enought people dont like this then in 4 years somebody else can have a chance to rule. But while you rule… you rule.”

    Then why do you prefer imperialism to a parliamentary system?  If anything, you should be advocating for adopting the UK system in the US, where the Prime Minister has enormous power to set the agenda and affect the bureaucracy.  Even kings sometimes weren’t able to do that.

    In any event, I’d like to explore your thinking about why imperialism in whatever form is superior to democracy in its current form, and how you align that with the sheer power of democracies now (militarily, economically, politically).  It’s not just a matter of technology and science, although that of course has something to do with it.  Why is it that empires simply don’t exist anymore, and does that mean that democracies are better?

    A second point is that no ruler has complete power, nor do I think a ruler should have complete power.  Abuse is far too tempting (and rampant).  Even in the past, Bismarck was beholden to certain interest groups, as was every other dictator in history.  They all must find some way to solidify a base of power and turn that into national and even international standing.  However, in doing so, they have a myriad of political questions and forces to balance, which ultimately constrains their power.  What I am saying is that if it’s not the public that is minding the rulers, as in a democracy, then it’s likely some other social force which is less representative of what the people want, bases their decisions on a constricted view which unnecessarily limits policy options, and probably results in significant corruption.  After all, consider all the major social and political movements and the resulting social transformation.  I think women’s liberation is undoubtedly a good thing, but that would not have resulted in the absence of organized, public political pressure.  Same with the slavery.  There are always factors impinging on power:  the question is who you want to be providing that oversight, particularly as embedded within institutions.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I plan on writing up a good response to your post … but i am having some major problem with gout which is quite painful. Arrrrggg! Soon ill have something for you.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Ortega’s concepts of mass man and mass society.

    Ahh I read his “two dimensional man” thats an excellent book.



  • Wow, I hope you feel better, IL.  Don’t even think of posting while you’re battling that.  😮

    “Nevertheless there is some merit in your opponents view point, at least in so far as constant and slavish pandering to the will of the majority isn’t leadership…and in worst cases could turn into either tyranny of the majority, or Ortega’s concepts of mass man and mass society.”

    A fair point, but on balance, my general impression is that democracies have done better in terms of leadership than empires.  The very influence of change on the system, and public accountability, hedges in the ability to engage in corrupt and misleading practice.  Of course, this depends on the diligence of the public, but I think people have a remarkable ability to get pissed off and dog an issue.  🙂

    But, I think this gets us to a general question I’ve been having:  what is your conception of democracy?  For me, it’s not simply majority rule, but rather a balance of many competing social forces.  Paris talks about liberalism as as channeling and mitigating conflict through political and social avenues rather than violent, physical ones.  Likewise, a groundwork for this kind of activity is adequate protection of civil, political, and social rights by the government, which is meant as a (sometimes inconsistent) buttress against mob mentality and Ortega’s conceptions.  And it is this balancing that imperialism typically has not been very good at achieving, leading to political and strategic excesses.  Without checks on the government by the public, how can you trust the authority that you place in your leaders?  Are you really willing to give over legitimate authority to someone for four years without recourse?

    This points to a large difference between parliamentary and (some) presidential systems:  votes of confidence.  In essence, there is a powerful mechanism that an organized minority can challenge the wilder plans of the government in a parliamentary system (just look at Israel in the decade before Sharon).  Combining the power of a prime minister with unchallenged timeframe of a president seems like a recipe for some serious problems.  Taiwan, for example, has a strange combination of four political systems, and you find deadlock between the parliament and the presidential office now.  During KMT rule, however, the party treasury was officially the national treasury, resulting in a US$10 billion coffer when that was finally done away with (they used to be the richest party in the world).

    A good point about leadership however.  Again, though, I don’t think an imperial system would be the way to go to achieve it.  Weak and strong leaders exist in all systems:  it’s a question if you can vote them out after a while however.



  • @Soon_U_Die:

    But dang, up here if you are Prime Minister with a Majority…you are God, at least till the next election 🙂

    Or up to the vote about new “anti-terror” laws 🙂
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/11/09/security.britain.law.ap/index.html



  • @F_alk:

    @Soon_U_Die:

    But dang, up here if you are Prime Minister with a Majority…you are God, at least till the next election 🙂

    Or up to the vote about new “anti-terror” laws 🙂
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/11/09/security.britain.law.ap/index.html

    i would have voted against that just to say “forget you pal - making me come in from an overseas trip for this stupid piece of legislation”.



  • @Yanny:

    This has nothing to do with Valerie Plame and Karl Rove. The Dems want answers for why we were misled into going to War with Iraq.

    Reminds me of the “Spot” act introduced into the House by Abraham Lincoln.

    Question is, will President Bush claim executive privelage if this move actually results in a serious investigation.

    This isn’t posturing. It’s a serious move by a lot of Senators on both sides of the isle (The Dems don’t have enough votes to call a motion of secrecy without Republican support).

    Not only that, but we won’t hear about what goes on. Since 1830, the Senate has only gone secret 3 times. All three were concerning highly sensitive cold-war era paramilitary interventions.

    This is serious stuff.

    I think that this could be a bombshell, or a buch of crap.  Closed sessions are a good thing.  Sorry folks, national security takes presidence over the national enquires “need to know”.  If they have proof that they don’t want to reveal for national security, hats off… a good move and not at all politicaly motivated.  Mcarthy did not betray this country by telling ppl how he got his info, and that is noble (I bet I get a bunch of people down my throat for that one).

    If it is a political stunt, than it is an act of a desperate entity that is about to die.


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