Saturday, June 28, 2008

Listening, or Waiting to Interrupt?

Hi, Everyone…

It’s good to be back home at Gates of Vienna.

The other day, while still in hospital, I read the Michael Yon post linked below.

As I read his analysis of some of the problems with groupthink — and at least one of his points is counter-intuitive — I became aware how much Mr. Yon’s writing has matured, both in breadth and depth, since he started his website a few years back.

When I first began reading what I thought of as his “barefoot” reports from Iraq, he was desperate for decent camera equipment and basic protection like night goggles. From that inauspicious beginning, he has persevered through much… and in the process has gained the perspective of several years’ hard experience in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The view he brings to those conflicts is an upfront-and-personal discernment that can only be acquired first-hand by someone with military experience.

In fact, Mr. Yon may be the only one with his length of experience working in both Middle Eastern theatres of America’s portion of the War on Terrorism . You can tell from reading his work that he has the wisdom to refrain from saying all that he knows.

As I mentioned, in his latest post Yon describes in detail the dangers of groupthink. He opens with his reflections on the journalist Joe Galloway, noting that he usually disagrees with Galloway’s take on the wars, but that they are both agree that the use of torture to obtain information is problematic in itself, and wrong. Dishonorable, even.

Using his own views of Galloway, Yon makes a plea for the importance in listening to those with whom we disagree:
- - - - - - - - -
…but how can we challenge our own views if we do not listen to others who disagree with us? One of the main reasons we made so many mistakes in Iraq was that high officials in the Bush Administration were often afraid of the truth and viewed a serious foreign policy question with ideological blinders. Instead of honestly appraising the facts on the ground, they saw only what they wanted to see. And instead of encouraging candor and even dissent, they ignored or attacked those who disagreed with them.

I will admit that as much as I admire Yon’s analysis of the battlefield, I disagree with this short summary.

Much of the beginning failure in 2003 can be laid at two doors: first, Turkey’s betrayal and refusal to let US Forces deploy from the north via Turkey.

Second, the failures of two types of Americans, which Ken Joseph outlines from his own experience in those beginning moments in Baghdad with the Allied Forces. In 2006, I posted on Joseph’s experience of the Americans in Baghdad in those early days. His words still bear repeating:

Who betrayed Iraq? The “good guys” [military] who naively believed, [and] the “chasers” who desperately hoped Iraq would fail for their simple job needs and the “experts” who systematically dismantled all the good done for the Iraqi people.

In particular, who betrayed Iraq? In contrast to the no-nonsense Military Officer Jay Garner [whom] I had the honor of meeting, I confronted Paul Bremer, his pathetic successor who personally betrayed the people of Iraq by turning it over before it was ready just [s]o [he could] personally get out.

That whole post is still worth reading, just to get an Assyrian Christian’s point of view about why Iraqis wanted the war to come, why they prayed it would happen, no matter what the cost. That has been lost in the noise of those who want us to lose, and in the evil machinations of AQI, who will die trying to make that a reality.

I have left most of Mr. Yon’s post for you to read for yourself. In order to show how informative it is, here is his experience with groupthink, and why he finds the phenomenon is so deadly. He is explaining the pitfalls of “leadership” during a Special Forces Qualification Course:

…[it] had a land navigation section so difficult that it caused many people to fail the course. I saw Vietnam combat veterans get lost on land navigation. They flunked the course. Sure, it wasn’t easy to make your way through swamps during heavy rains at midnight while freezing and carrying a heavy load. But worse than the physical challenges were the mental hurdles. Soldiers were strictly forbidden to cooperate with each other on this particular section. But they did it anyway, thinking that they would have a better chance as a group. And they were wrong. I saw soldiers form into groups. The most confident soldier would embark on an azimuth and the others would follow behind. They would all get lost because they were following a leader who was wrong. The soldiers who passed the course tended to be those who thought for themselves…

Yon presents an opinion I have voiced many times: in order to think for ourselves, we have to learn to listen rather than merely wait for our turn to interrupt so we can put forth our own already-formed point of view. This is especially important when you’re listening to someone with whom you disagree.

Yon says:

…there is a lot of noise on both ends of the American political spectrum that deserve our attention even if it is biased and wrong. Read the websites of the far-Right and Left-wing. These groups rarely, if ever, give a dissenting voice the chance to speak. Their sites are examples of groupthink run amok. That doesn’t mean the participants are dumb or bad.

[…]

Ideologies traffic in received ideas, which give people the illusion of thinking, without actually having to do the hard work of thought. Received ideas, like some religious and cult beliefs, are not challenged, merely accepted, and repeated until they become so important to those who hold them that to challenge these ideas would be to question one’s very identity. People who hold received ideas seem to feel personally threatened by the prospect of being wrong. Instead of reading and listening to possibly change their minds, they seek to reinforce the received ideas they already hold dear. On the Left, one received idea is that the Iraq War is lost. On the Right, one received idea is that torture is acceptable. The Left is wrong. We are winning the war in Iraq. The Right is wrong. Torture is unacceptable.

Maybe I don't go down the spectrum far enough to get to the wrong Right blogs and magazines and think tank analyses. I sure don’t remember seeing anyone suggest that torture is a good idea. The end does not justify the means, however tempting that may be in the case of those you know have killed your compatriots in horrifying ways and will do so again.

As they say, read the whole thing. Yon’s post is a long, thoughtful one. He is meeting people and moving into areas that will change the way he perceives reality. Whether that will, in the end, make him more like the “mean old man” he told Joe Galloway he had become remains to be seen.

If he survives his chosen career as an observer of one of America’s most important ventures since World War II, Michael Yon has years and years ahead of him in which to learn to listen most carefully. Developing this skill, this art, takes time. Years of slow time when we learn to focus on the other rather than our own opinions.

Yon listens with brilliance when it comes to matters military. He has lived in that milieu from the inside. Now that he is outside, he brings a special knowledge to what he sees and hears.

However, I am not sure he has succeeded in close observation of the Bush administration. That would take a specialization he has not yet acquired… whereas someone like, say, John Bolton, has observed that particular danger very close indeed. And, yes, he does listen and retain what he hears.

On the other hand, in Mr. Yon’s defense — and for others who share his point of view — this President often plays his cards so close to his vest that no one seems to know what he’s holding. Sometimes he appears to have dropped into a large silence from which he is not likely to emerge in the time remaining to him. This is just one reason it will take years to grasp all that has transpired in his time in office.

I often wonder if Bush’s restraint is not partly due to his views on those who vie to sit in his chair when his time in the Oval Office comes to an end. Listening to what he does not say, one can come away with the impression that he wants to return to Crawford and relish the peace and quiet.

How many readers think Bush will be a globe trotter like Carter and Clinton? How many believe he will criticize or second-guess those who come after him? Perhaps it is his post-presidency that proves a President’s mettle, not to mention his integrity.

I’ll be listening… even the silence will be telling.

28 comments:

Jungle Jim said...

Great post, Dymphna. I'm glad your home and hope you are feeling better.

Annoymouse said...

Ditto, welcome back.

I have always admired and respected Mr. Yon. The guy has earned his right to impugn the early handling of the war effort because he was a witness of it. Personally, I think there is enough to go around to make a sh1t sandwich myself. I too take a mild offense to the idea that there are conservatives out there who think torture is a good idea. I think that the issue really was "Does putting underwear on someone’s' head constitute torture?” It’s more of a stupid sophomoric prank in my book. Anyhow, torture rarely accomplishes the goals of getting useful intelligence and it is a something that eats away at the morale of the torturer in the case of US personnel. But the threat of being killed, or worse yet captured can’t turn into a coveted trip to Club Fed either. There needs to be a credible threat of un-pleasantness. And any detainee who finds out that they have been captured by the CIA should be sh1tting in their loincloths.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Welcome home, Dymphna :)

Now, since disagreements are fertile, I really have to take up this one:

Much of the beginning failure in 2003 can be laid at two doors: first, Turkey’s betrayal and refusal to let US Forces deploy from the north via Turkey.

Now, Turkey is a sovereign nation, and the term 'betrayal' just doesn't apply in this case. However much the US wants to push Turkey into the European Union, most of us Europeans would prefer that the US stays out of this question.

Or - if really desperate - admits Turkey to the United States of America instead. Or at least be a good example and admit Mexico to the United States, and show that it works out great before pushing Turkey on the EU.

Anti-American sentiment has been deepening in Turkey over the last decade, and it is hardly surprising that the US government seeks to push its once-friendly ally on Europe. That does not work out very well.

If Turkey was part of the United States of America, the term 'betrayal' would be appropriate. For, like the much-despised 'Old Europe' of Bush, Turkey has the right to say 'No' to any suggestion from other nations, and that reply demands respect.

As could be expected, the US government sought to appease Turkey by giving her practically a free hand 'suggesting' the design of the Annan Plan for Cyprus, thus offering the Republic of Cyprus as a nice compensation to make Turkey more US-friendly. Fortunately, the Cypriots saw through that deal and rejected it.

It ain't easy being US government these days. Appeasing doesn't work, nor does bullying. For the Iraq war itself, I personally share the opinion of Trifkovic, who says of it: "Wrong war, wrong enemy". While we're finally doing well, it's been hugely complex and expensive. Not a good 'Return on Investment here'.

To complete the circle, I believe it would have been good if the US administration had done some listening, not interrupting, when 'Old Europe' spoke against the war.

dchamil said...

A statement that we don't do torture does not mean much unless the speaker provides a list of what is "torture" and what is not. Such a list won't be provided since it amounts to telegraphing our punches to the enemy. We cannot announce to the enemy that certain tactics are off the table.

vince said...

Since the comments on the interesting entry titled “GoV is an impotent cul-de-sac” are now blocked, allow me to give my opinion on the subject even if I am at the wrong comment section.

I believe Baron is right to try to repel the anti-Semites and neo-Nazis from the blog.
The Jews, who are themselves “westerners”, should not be viewed as enemies but as our own people, who just happen to have different religion and beliefs.
After all, in the street you can’t distinguish a Jew from French or a Danish gentile. They look like us, they live like us, and they’re just like us.
So it’s just stupid to view an inexistent threat in the Jews, and I am with you in this.

However, I don’t agree with you that we should marginalize these people (those who write to you). Most of them are not neo-Nazis and are not anti-Semitic per se. They’re just people who want to preserve and protect their heritage, their culture and their people, from the hordes of alien races that invade our lands. At the end, their true cause and ours are the same.
The problem is that the only places in the internet where race, heritage and culture can be discussed freely and without auto-censorship are forums and websites like Stormfront.
In these places, their thoughts are intoxicated with the anti-Semitic rubbish and Nazi propaganda.
These people instead of being marginalized should be helped and freed from the Nazis. We should welcome them and try to convince them that the Jews are not a threat to our civilization and our people, but a part of them.
Many of today’s white nationalists are aware of that, and people like Jared Taylor are working hard to bring awareness to all the whites, that the Jews are not our enemies. He even has Jewish cooperators.

As I said, we and white nationalists have not just common goals, but the same goals. We just use different terms. They call it “white race”; we call it “the west”. They call it “white culture”; we call it “western culture”. Etc…
We’re in reality, white preservationists, and they’re in the bottom of their heart, western survivalists. And vice versa. If someone objects to this definition, he should be honest and tell me if the west and western culture can be preserved without white people.
Obviously, it cannot. What guarantee the survival of the west are not ideas, ideology, or Christianity. The survival of whites is the only factor assures the continuity of the west.
South America is Christian, but do you believe they’re part of the west? Yes and no. I would not describe Brazil or Mexico as western countries, since they’re culturally and socially different from us. However in parts of South America like Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil, you feel as if you were in Europe. Why you have this sensation in Argentina, and not in Mexico? Well, I guess you already know the answer.

As Fjordman elegantly said, we just need a place where we indigenous European can live. And this place is obviously Europe, since north-America is following the path of Brazil and Oceania is soon to become an Asian colony. North America and Ocean are not a big loss since they never belonged to the white man to begin with, however we should fight to death to preserve our right to live on the land of our ancestors.
We’re not racists, we’re not xenophobic, we’re not anti-Muslims, we’re not anti-Asian, we just ask that Europe should be (only) for Europeans and their cousins in north-America, south Africa and Oceania, in case things get bad for them in those places.
If Muslims want to keep their traditions, god help them, just not on my land. And the same applies to the other non-whites.
As to Albanians, Bosnians and Chechens, we obviously can’t expel them from europa since they’re white and Europeans. We should help them to regain their heritage, and in the worst case, isolate them until they wake up and reclaim their European identity.

If we want to survive as a distinct race, culture and civilization, the following steps should be taken.

1-Deport in a humane manner, all non-whites from Europe. Those who held European citizenships, would be financially compensated.
2-Create a federal Europe to be strong enough to push back any exterior threat.
3-Stop meddling in other countries’ affairs and stop patronizing the others.
4-Europe’s foreign policy should be friendly, isolationist, and firm. Just like Japan, only our interests count
5-All free-trade agreements with extra-european countries should be cancelled.
7-Protect our industries and our workers from foreign competition.
6-Encourage Europeans to have children.
7-Strengthen our ties to Israel, and offer them membership to federal Europe, if they decide to expel the Arabs from their land.

Dymphna said...

@henrik r clausen

Now, Turkey is a sovereign nation, and the term 'betrayal' just doesn't apply in this case. However much the US wants to push Turkey into the European Union, most of us Europeans would prefer that the US stays out of this question.

The betrayal came because Turkey reneged on its agreement to let us use their air space, territory, etc., in the very last moments before the war. We were left having to scramble. I fault us for not having a Plan B, given the past behavior of Turkey.

I didn't realize the US was pushing for Turkey's entrance into the EU. This must be more State Department lunacy?

Gad. Who wants to see a Muslim country become part of the EU?? Oh. Nevermind. Forget I even asked.
________________

dchamil: I agree completely: it is one of those paradoxes. However, some kind of philosophical line has to be drawn, at least at the meta level, and it has to be composed of what underlies our character. We used to shoot spies and call it patriotic. The times are not as honorable as they were. For one thing, far too many people have been taught to believe there is nothing worth dying for.

____________

vince---

That comment section was closed for a reason. Thus, if your comment begins to attract flies, I will delete them...and you, too, for starting the whole thing all over again.

This idea, in particular, is most offensive:

1-Deport in a humane manner, all non-whites from Europe. Those who held European citizenships, would be financially compensated.

How about all the Europeans who have fled to non-white cultures and countries because they find Europe unacceptable in its present state? Should they be sent back, compensated or not?

This is a basic violation of liberty and I find it abhorrent.

Our problem is not these "non-whites" -- however you chose to define such entities -- it is mass immigration. In fact, it is mass migration, since large numbers of desperate people wait on the shores of Libya every year, hoping to flee the poverty and lack of opportunity in their own lands.

If that problem were addressed directly, instead of dumping our massively corrupted "foreign aid" onto, say, Africe, it would end the problem at its root.

I would point you once again to Grameen, which is a strong example of "help" at a local, micro level. It works. We might even begin to try it in Europe and the US instead of our wasteful welfare system.

Grameen is here.

Words are important, vince. When you define a section of the populace as "non-white" you remind me of the thoughtless supremacy of the Catholic Church when it routinely referred to the rest of the Christian world as "non-Catholic." That offended me when I was a seven year-old Catholic and it still does. Fortunately, it has fallen out of use as a pointer.

In fact, this "non-white" shunning reminds me of the narcissism of Islam and China, both of whom divide the world your way, only they don't think white is the focal point.

Banishment is not a useful tool. In fact, it's a form of dhimmification.

This comment is already too long, so I won't take up your other points...

Dymphna said...

Thanks for the welcome back, y'all. Re-entry is hard. I miss being waited on...

annoymouse, this is an elegant turn of phrase:

There needs to be a credible threat of un-pleasantness...

I agree. But there doesn't need to be a public discussion of it if we have our priorities in order. Which we don't, and haven't had since maybe Woodrow Wilson's time.

Henrik R Clausen said...

I didn't realize the US was pushing for Turkey's entrance into the EU. This must be more State Department lunacy?

Indeed. It was agreed in 1999, when we assaulted Serbia, that Turkey would become an EU candidate. In the usual clandestine summit meeting manner, no public debate. At every future turn of events, when we in Europe tried to set down our feet, the Turks would call the US for support in the matter, and the State Department would happily oblige. Quite visibly so in October 2005, when we almost held our ground against the Turks.

It has been repeated by the Bush administration several times since. We just turn our heads in disgust.

Noted about the Turkish last-minute bailout over Iraq. Internal tension would be the cause, right? That would very likely have been a genuine Turkish concern, and not out of the usual for the Turkish government to be confused over such matters. A 'Plan B' would have been wise indeed...

no2liberals said...

Dymphna,
Welcome home, young lady!
I hope you are happy and healthy.

I can't get into Yon's piece at this time, I need time to process it.
I would agree with the assessment that Turkey did betray us, before the re-invasion of Iraq, as a member of NATO, and as a supposed ally. Had they informed us sooner, and not as we were already off-loading equipment on their docks, the 4th ID could have been deployed in a much more expedient manner, without having to waste all that time by reloading the ships, then sailing through the Suez.
As to President Bush, too little credit has been given to the things he has gotten right, and the major focus has been on what he didn't. To be expected, since the beginning of the BDS epidemic in 2000. W is a good and decent man, that is a centered individual, and agree with him or not, he has always been true to his beliefs, and has not been a wishy-washy, focus group oriented President. He has led by principle, not by a popularity contest.
While he may have had to make adjustments to his cabinet and staff, he at least got it right with Gen. Petraeus, and the resulting surge.
Lincloln had his McClellan, and so did Bush. For any to presume they know better what to do in his position, when he is confronted with intel each day, that would make most people hide in a closet, is a presumption based on a deceit.

Henrik R Clausen said...

no2liberals, if you had said that about Reagan, I'd have agreed without hesitation. Not wanting to start a Bush-flaming contest, let me point out just a couple more blunders in his time:

- His Balkan policy was copied uncritically from Clinton, who always hated the Serbs. It should have had a complete overhaul, at the latest on September 12th, 2001. Didn't happen, and he didn't move a finger to help our Christian friends there.

- The Danish government has always been a staunch ally of the US, in face of hard opposition here. In winter 2006 we had a little problem with a drawing or 12, and expected swift, unconditional support from our friends across the Atlantic. But when finally, after a week of requests by our government, we got something from Bush, it was so useless our foreign minister simply thought they had sent the wrong document.

Many in Europe, including people who supported Bush unconditionally a while ago, are looking forward to him leaving office. There's only one problem: His potential successors don't look, ehm, pursuasive...

Whiskey said...

First, Yon is simply dead wrong about torture. It works, it has always worked, that is why it has always been used by one side or the other in a conflict.

The French Resistance and the OSS knew that when an operative was captured by the Gestapo, the torture would soon reveal all the secrets that person held. Torture worked. The Red Army's torturers got all the information out of the German prisoners, who knew they'd be shot at the end. Even McCain made some minor accommodations with the Vietnamese in terms of information and actions, and no one blamed him at all. Torture works. It always works. It always will work.

In fact, never before has the use of drugs and psychology been more useful in making torture work. With few/no limits, there is nothing someone has that a ruthless adversary cannot extract.

Thus in the event of capture by one side and the other, the side that is the most ruthless will extract the most information. Advantage: Al Qaeda and Iran/Hezbollah. Who, btw, compromised most of our secrets by torturing (to death) Beirut CIA Station Chief Buckley in the late 1980's.

Second, there is the Left (Kos, Moveon), the Right (NRO, Gates of Vienna, Hotair, Ace of Spades, etc) and the Paleo-right (Pat Buchanon, etc.).

The Right and the Paleo-right hate each other, have vastly different ideas about how the world works, and will never come to terms.

The views of the paleo right are that isolationism works, all threats to the US are minor and nuisance level, if only we can return to Fortress America in splendid isolation. That ALL foreign entanglement and government operations are evil and a betrayal of America. Ron Paul encapsulates this view in his policies and followers. It is often shot-through with paranoid conspiracy theories alleging "the Jews" or "neo cons" or Israel and Bush created or allowed 9/11, in agreement with the Left (Moveon, Daily Kos hold similar views).

The Right holds that the World is a dangerous place, there is no way to be isolated from it, and that much/most of the danger to the US and the West is not "created by" ourselves (as both the Paleocons and Left believe) but by forces native to Third World peoples confronting wrenching transitions to modernity. The Right believes that force and/or credible use of force works, that is better to be engaged offensively against enemies than purely defensively, that ultimately (this is the "neo-con" position) the cause of the conflict will only be solved when all the planet embraces at least the "lowest common denominator" of modernity including but not limited to: civil society, freedom of religion and expression, good treatment of women, some form of democracy, individualism over tribalism, and embrace of technocracy.

I would argue that much of the vitriol directed at the Right from the Paleo-Right and Left is based on the competing world views and the threat that the Right presents to the world views of the Left and Paleo-right which are essentially, isolationist.

This is not group-think as much as competing world-views that don't have any room for compromise or thesis-antithesis-synthesis.

no2liberals said...

Henrik, I'm not going to defend all the decisions he made I disagree with, only state that the things he has gotten right are seldom acknowledged. Right or wrong, in his decisions, they were his based on his principles, which included info he relied on from his advisor's. He can accept blame for his mistakes, as they are his, and he should receive praise for his successes, for the same reasons.
Unlike the previous eight years of the Horny Hick, W didn't rely on polls or focus groups to know what his beliefs were, or what his actions should be.
Read an interesting article earlier, Bush's Trumanesque moment.

"Through all of 2006 the news from Iraq was ugly. It was against this background that Democrats, in midterm elections, took control of Congress promising an end to the war in Iraq.
But the decision of Bush to send more troops under the command of Petraeus displayed his Trumanesque character by refusing counsel for withdrawal despite his loss of domestic support."


One of the things that drives liberals into a frothing rage, especially in the LameStream media is, that they had no impact or influence on his decision making process, unlike they did with the Horny Hick. A leader of men, and not a follower of mass appeal, is anathema to the left that believes their adoration is pro forma.

Dymphna said...

whiskey said

First, Yon is simply dead wrong about torture. It works, it has always worked, that is why it has always been used by one side or the other in a conflict.

[...]

Thus in the event of capture by one side and the other, the side that is the most ruthless will extract the most information. Advantage: Al Qaeda and Iran/Hezbollah. Who, btw, compromised most of our secrets by torturing (to death) Beirut CIA Station Chief Buckley in the late 1980's
...

Yon was making the point not that torture doesn't produce short-term results. Indeed, it does. His point is that we must think longer-term about what the validation of the kinds of torture the Islamist fanatics deem acceptable, if used by us as a matter of policy and forethought (as it is used by them) will result in an ugly grotesqueness in our own character.

Being willing to torture another human being is being willing to allow oneself to become a moral freak...

Just look at the average school yard in America to see if your point of view about the validity of torturing another person has not drifted down to the six year-olds...at least to the extent they can manage to bully others.

The "mean girls" phenomenon is real and it is manifesting itself earlier and earlier...thank you, Daycare.

Profitsbeard said...

Mr. Yon assumes that we should be "challenging our own views".

But some of our "views" (liberty of thought, the press, movement, self-defense and belief) are humanely better than our opponents's "views".

Rulers who tend to use homicidally-inclined Police State terror, massive press clampdowns, targeted murders, et al for power, some of them our quasi-allies.

Let's not underplay our manifold decencies.

You don't win by default.

Zenster said...

Another hearty wlecome back to Dymphna as well.

whiskey_199: Torture works. It always works. It always will work.

To that I can only add a paraphrase of Dennis Miller:

If defeating Islam requires hooking up terrorists to car batteries, I only have two things to say:

RED IS POSITIVE AND BLACK IS NEGATIVE.

In anticipation of those who will get their panties in a wad over the use of torture, I refer you to the waterboarding of KSM (Khalid Shaikh Mohammed). This mastermind of the 9-11 atrocity broke after less than three minutes of coerced confession.

Those who wish to compare America's use of torture to other brutal regimes had best try to remember that scum like the Soviets would continue torturing individuals with, not just physical duress but, injected psychotic drugs, rape, brutal abuse and whatever their dungeon masters felt inclined to do for kicks, and do so LONG AFTER the individual had broken.

America does not operate that way, nor do I think it ever shall. I have often said that defeating Islam will require fighting fire with fire. This is just one prime example of it.

And lest there be some who insist that waterboarding is inhumane, KSM himself said that the most humiliating aspect of his torture was not the waterboarding itself, but the fact that a female agent was present during the sessions.

no2liberals said...

I'm not an advocate of torture, but perhaps my notion of torture is not what it is to most.
Can waterboarding really be considered torture, if no permanent physical harm is performed, and even more specifically, when leftist anti-war groups perform the very same technique on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, in their agitprop?
My idea of torture involves physically damaging and harmful practices, or the use of pharmaceuticals that cause permanent psychological harm.
Abu Grabass was not torture, at least not by college fraternity standards, even if it was improper.

Zenster said...

no2liberals: Abu Grabass was not torture, at least not by college fraternity standards, even if it was improper.

I find it more than a little amusing that—when all the Iraqi prisoners who were howling about grueling American torture found out the Iraqis were going to take over the operation of Abu Ghraib—they began begging the American military to remain in control.

I hope that the lot of those terrorist whiners ended up in an unmarked grave.

no2liberals said...

zenster,
You have reminded me, I have failed to check the court records for the criminal courts in Iraq, in many months. They were severely backlogged, the last time I checked, but were aggressively prosecuting their inmates, and adding new judges at a phenomenal rate.
For a bit of satire, have you heard of the latest SCOTUS ruling, in the case of Abdul the Party Clown v. U.S?

Zenster said...

no2liberals: They were severely backlogged, the last time I checked, but were aggressively prosecuting their inmates, and adding new judges at a phenomenal rate.

Sounds to me like they're using the Texas model.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia said "I totally f&%king give up."

Pretty funny stuff there at your link, no2lib!

no2liberals said...

Iowahawk is a gem.

Dymphna said...

Yes, indeed, that was a gem.

Considering Ruth Bader Ginsburg's missing gavel, I sent the Iowahawk link to roger at Are We Lumberjacks? I must say I wouldn't have guessed his secret mission w/o reading that piece.

I am laugh-impaired of late, so thank you, no2liberals. I have now had at least my Daily Minimim Requirement.

OMG...he's not blogrolled. BAAARONN...?!

hank_F_M said...

Dymphna

Welcome back!

Hank

no2liberals said...

Henh...knowing I helped you acquire your daily dose of chuckles, is my reward.
If you need another tomorrow, you should visit his archives, he's been keeping me in stitches for years.

Dymphna said...

hank_f_m:

Many thanks. It's good to be homem though I do wish it would rain.

___________
no2liberals --

Yes, I'll do that. I think the Baron is blogrolling Iowahawk. Don't know why we didn't before and I can definitely use his humor.

Lolcats is pretty cool too. I especially like the idea of God as Ceiling Cat...

no2liberals said...

Haven't visited LolCats in a while, but visit icanhavcheeseburger, temp de temp.
My favorite iowahawk of all time is France Surrenders to Texas High School. I also loved his satirical detective series spoofing Dan Rather, and his screen play for Ward Churchill, "Chutch", based on a '60's cult tv classic.
Anyway, be happy and healthy, and I'll go check out lolcats.

Jason_Pappas said...

Welcome back, Dymphna, it’s good to see you on your feet.

On Yon’s most important question: why didn’t the administration (and their supporters) listen to valid criticism? Simple: absurd hate-America criticism from the left drowned out any useful constructive criticism. Several times I added points of criticism only to have to fend off those who mistook my constructive criticism with leftist attempts to demoralize and vilify. The “Bush lied” crowd so poisoned the airways that all constructive discussion was banished from the realm of the debate.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Jason, that's a good and valid point you're raising here. If one looks into the proceedings before the Iraq war, Bush talked repeatedly about the details of violating UN resolutions, but that was drowned out in the press.

An interesting what-if scenario - what if the Bush opponents had been more civil? Would Bush, Powell etc. have listened to the details, get in trouble with their fickle proofs, and abstained from the Iraq war?

Just might have been. I was disappointed by Powell not resigning from the job rather than presenting the 'evidence' at the UN.

On the other hand, once we're in, we're in. And Patraeus seems to be doing a great job. News from Iraq is really slow these days, and if we look into the reason why, it's because violence is dropping dramatically.

Jason_Pappas said...

Once the invasion Iraq was a clearly going to happen, I tried to warn against nations-building but found no interest for such a discussion. Both Daniel Pipes and Martin Kramer warned against so ambitious an enterprise that I can only call it an attempt at “cultural engineering.” Some time ago, I reviewed the “culture shock” by one of the early administration guys in Iraq.

I believe the Surge, with its emphasis on working with existing tribal structures, is a step in the direction of recognizing the limits of Arab culture. I wish our fellow citizens (here and in Europe) understood more of the problems and limitations with the culture and religion. We'd have very different policies.

Of course, I also happen not to share the goal of bring peace and reconciliation to the various Arab groups. But that’s another matter.