In his new book, former defense secretary Robert Gates slams both the President and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a range of issues he claims to have witnessed during his tenure in the Defense Department. The claims are wide-ranging and I’d encourage you to read more than the blurb below but here’s a brief summary.

Report from the DailyMail:

Hillary Rodham Clinton, a likely Democratic Party standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential contest, staked out her military-related positions in the 2008 race based on how they would play politically, according to a former secretary of defense who served in both the Obama and Bush administrations.

Describing a ‘remarkable’ exchange he witnessed, Robert Gates writes in a book due out next week that ‘Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary.’

Obama, too, ‘conceded vaguely that [his] opposition to the Iraq surge had been political,’ Gates recounts. ‘To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.’

And Gates recounts how, as the president lost faith in Gen. David Petraeus’ handling of hostilities in Afghanistan, he – Gates – lost faith in Obama’s commitment to accomplishing much of anything.

‘As I sat there,’ he recalls, ‘I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand [President Hamid] Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his.’

‘For him, it’s all about getting out.’

Gates puts on paper his reflections about Obama’s own troop surge, a move of 30,000 armed personnel into Afghanistan meant to stabilize the country in advance of a final all-out troop withdrawal.

The commander-in-chief, he says, was ‘skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail.’

‘I never doubted Obama’s support for the troops,’ Gates insists, ‘only his support for their mission.’

His book is 600 pages so these few sentences don’t do it justice but we’re limited for time and space here.

What to make of this?

91 COMMENTS

  1. Two thoughts from me:

    First, I’ve thought from the outset that the drawn-out Benghazi kerfuffle is pure politics, and nothing more. And THAT is why this is a damning book for Hillary (a) she admits that her stand on foreign policy was just domestic politics, and (b) she was stupid enough to say it in front of anybody, much less the guy charged with running the war. So it’s petty politics plus poor judgment. Her bad.

    Second, I have heard a number of accounts about the book. I have made no secret of how repugnant I find war. So my criticism of Obama is opposite of Gates’–that Obama came into office talking about the “good war.” The way I see it, a president SHOULD be committed to PREVENTING war, and ENDING war, not sending our kids halfway around the world, to die for no national purpose.

      • Goethe:

        Oh someone is going to stand Karzqi ……..right up against a wall with 6 guys with guns facing him.

        My guess is we will give him asylum like we always do to figure heads we support but who’s own people can’t stand. He’ll have his own villa in Hawaii paid for by the good ol’e American taxpayer.

  2. Reviewers, of all books, tend to select passages that are favorable to their particular point of view. Robert Gates writes of his experience as Secretary of Defense in very honest and compelling adjectives. Of the US Congress he wrote ” All too often during my 4½ years as secretary of defense, when I found myself sitting yet again at that witness table at yet another congressional hearing, I was tempted to stand up, slam the briefing book shut and quit on the spot. The exit lines were on the tip of my tongue: I may be the secretary of defense, but I am also an American citizen, and there is no son of a bitch in the world who can talk to me like that. I quit. Find somebody else”

    Of the two presidents he worked under,he said “It is difficult to imagine two more different men than George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Clearly, I had fewer issues with Bush. Partly that is because I worked for him in the last two years of his presidency, when, with the exception of the Iraq surge, nearly all the big national security decisions had been made. He had made his historical bed and would have to lie in it”. Of Obama he wrote “I never confronted Obama directly over what I (as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-CIA Director Leon Panetta and others) saw as his determination that the White House tightly control every aspect of national security policy and even operations. His White House was by far the most centralized and controlling in national security of any I had seen since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger ruled the roost”

    I do not believe Robert Gates wrote this book as retaliation on any one person. It is a record of history as it happened on his watch.

    • Tess: I’m surprised that you didn’t mention that Gates said that Obama’s decision-making process is like that of Abraham Lincoln. . .

      Yer slippin’ 😉

  3. Goethe…I guess I omitted his reference to Lincoln as a bit “too much”. It has long been known of President Obama’s admiration for Lincoln but as for,Gates talking to his white statue daily and` asking “How did you do it?” is in another realm. I think when all the “hullabaloo” is over…readers will find that after being critical of someone…on other pages he offers praise of that person, with the exception of Congress and, perhaps,Joe Biden. Of President Obama’s decision to capture or kill bin Laden, Gates called it “one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House”. Of President Obama’s Afghanistan policies, Gates wrote“I believe Obama was right in each of these”. No doubt, Robert Gates harbored a lot of bitterness. To me, right or wrong, he wrote as he saw and felt it.
    .

  4. Don’t know how Gates felt about about the start of both Iraq and Afghan – never shoulda been boots just very big bombs

  5. Sam: We’ve lost a lot by losing both Gates and Petraeus. They seemed to appreciate that foreigners are PEOPLE, and it makes sense to work WITH them, instead of just killing indiscriminately. The “surge” was originally seen as just adding more boots. But it was really a change in approach–with the new troops to add credibility. We made peace with Sunnis and got them to repudiate al Qaeda.

    So to answer your question, my guess is that he would have worked harder and earlier to straighten out Afghanistan–through outreach. I’ll bet if there had been a serious program there, we could have found Taliban with whom we could reason–and been otta there years ago.

    But I’ll bet he foresaw, as GHW Bush did, that taking down Saddam would not only lead to chaos and bloodbath, but also eliminate the only real balance for Iran in the region.

    • Goethe – the only thing I can add is there was a lesson in the 10 year unsuccessful conflict USSR had with the Taliban – should never have been boots just big bombs.

  6. W dropped plenty of “big bombs” on Iraq, Sam. Remember “Shock and Awe”? And they did nothing to get rid of the nonexistent WMD’s that W. Bush lied about to start a war.

    Gates’ book is nothing but red meat for the unhinged Obama haters on this forum. No one else cares what he thinks.

    • Sam: You and I have agreed that Snowden’s actions were inappropriate. What do you think about the increasing public attacks (and ridicule) by generals on their civilian bosses? Doesn’t that strike at the very heart of our concept of civilian control of the military?

      I don’t remember seeing such brazen insubordination–at least not since Gen. MacArthur tried to go his own way on Korea–and was fired. And, it should be noted that MacArthur did NOT speak out against Truman, or anyone else.

      I’m not talking politics. Gates has a right to his opinions. But is it appropriate for generals to attack their superiors in the media–and disclose private (and candid) conversations from behind closed doors?

      My concern about Gates and Snowden is that if we don’t allow our elected leaders to speak their minds, with a reasonable expectation of confidentiality, don’t we run the risk of these people only speaking in the BS platitudes that they feed us?? And doesn’t that put us all in danger?

      • Goethe – i wanted to just sit on the sidelines and read for a few unless someone wrote something so warped and blue filtered it really needed a response. but – i will opine to you.

        1 – tho you can’t see it, probably 90 % of people who pay attention can see the left leaning bias in the MSM; but the general population only watch’s MSM (ABC,CBS,NBC – NonCable) and carries out their private lives. So they have no clue if all info is getting out to them and if it is reporting or opinion – that’s why they are called Low Information Voters (or Public).

        2 – This is the first POTUS/CinC in our history who has openly said that we (the U.S.A.) needed to be taken down a notch and be less a defender of freedom throughout the world. Especially the Middle-East. Obama would prefer that the U.S. be beneath the U.N. and he be that President. Further, and most recently, he took away our Retired and Veterans benefits and upped monies to the illegal alien causes. Further, taking away huge sums of money from the Military, blaming the sequester and unnecessary closing of Vet monuments for same reason. Some more was religion and screwing with the 1st Amendment in the Military. I could probably come up with more.

        3. – Most importantly this POTUS/CinC has no respect for the Flags (nickname for General Officers and Admirals) and especially senior Flags of major commands incl the present VC of the JOC who likes his job and is lapdog to the SecDef who is lapdog to CinC. There isn’t a Flag rifted who said he would fire on American Citizens.

        4 – Flags who are still active cannot and will not speak in adversarial about the CinC, that is in violation of the UCMJ. Our Oath of Office says we will “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic” and “discharge the duty of the Office” – for an Officer there is nothing about POTUS/CinC. That includes if the POTUS violates our Constitution or Amendments, it is SecDef’s and Congress’ responsibility to order the VC of the JOC to take out POTUS/CinC.

        5 – Both Flags and Civilian management knows the influence of politics in military decisions and the mendacity involved and then released to the press. When a Democrats Administration is in command the MSM will faithfully deliver the “word” and are very Communist to the Administration. When a Republican Administration is in office the biased is reversed or 180º out. A present example is in front of us right now with crescendo of negative energy put on Christie vs Gates book. Even deeper the major mishap of an arms deal and capture gone bad at Benghazi vs Nixon’s staff break-in at Watergate. Nixon was labeled a crook for life vs Obama and Clinton are basically ignored instead of being tried for murder and negligence.

        If you had given 30 to 40 years in defense of your country and knew as an insider what your CEO was doing and ruining your country what would do?

        I’m not sure how Snowden fits in – he screwed the pooch and is a traitor; he should been a simple snitch to a Congressman and given immunity.

        • Sam:

          That’s a well written and totally irrelevant response.

          From what I’ve heard, Gates trashes Biden more than anybody, but does trash Cheney, as well. And he both trashes and praises both Obama and Bush. So my comment had nothing to do with content.

          My question was not at all about politics (or your media fetish). It was that, regardless of what he said, Gates’ comments were disclosing privileged information that was shared in a candid manner, to people who should have been trusted–under the Constitution, and under oath of honor.

          Bob notes that Dick Morris and David Gergan wrote similar books. The difference is that these two were not in the military. The point I’m making is that we have avoided the problems of Egypt and the Banana Republics because our military has always accepted that it is subservient to civilian control. (And, of course, I cannot imagine that anyone could respect Dick Morris, who has prostituted himself to both parties. Anyone who spoke candidly to him deserves whatever happens.)

          I would feel comfortable with a general explaining what happened on the battlefield–what worked, what did not–assuming it did not divulge secret tactics. But I am very uncomfortable with a military person acting as psychologist and character arbiter of civilian superiors. And since the book came out so quickly, it becomes part of the political discussion that the military should be above.

          It is the act of discrediting the current Commander in Chief that bothers me most. If he wrote this book to review interaction with Bush/Cheney, I would not be so concerned. If he had waited two-and-a-half years to review Obama/Biden, I would not be so critical, except that I am still uncomfortable with disclosure of privileged, private discussions–with the clear purpose of undermining the speakers’ authority.

          If the rest of the military begins publishing its political views so openly, our Republic will be at risk. That “political party” will have all the guns.

          • Goethe – re-read what i said with an open mind and my opinions have a common thread why RETIRED Flags and RETIRED Civilian Administration leaders feel an obligation and a warning to either divulge general strategies private conversations about this UNIQUE Administration who disrespects the military, like it does, wants to turn it into an entity which could not protect the U.S. in time of need and is full of MENDACITY and disrespect for the U.S.

            Military Officers as I explained work for the Constitution and it’s Amendments not POTUS. This dis-believer of the U.S. has violated the Constitution 10’s of times, usually by E.O,’s or just a plain unilateral decision. No one in Congress, or the DoJ has enough balls or ovaries to order his removal.

            These RETIRED Flags are simply warning the U.S. what could possibly lie ahead in the future. And the MSM protects this POTUS versus challenges him if at all possible.

            I opined a final time on this – you may refute more all you desire.

            • Sam: My issue was the concern of the military taking up current politics in public–which has been encroaching.

              You didn’t answer that the first time. What you are saying now is that the military answers to its interpretation of the Constitution above its Commander.

              But the problem with that is that it IS their “interpretation.” Look at Egypt. The military didn’t wait for this fall’s elections. It perpetrated a coup, is putting its president on trial, and has banned his entire political party. There is no deadline for its actions, and there is no oversight. Just like that, national democracy is dead in that country.

              I am much more suspicious of military involvement in politics, than politicians beating up on each other. There are many, many civilian checks and balances. We have the impeachment process,we have the parties, which are at each other’s throat about even silly little issues. Despite what you think, the media will excoriate any politician for any reason. Look what they did with Bill’s blowjob.

              A lot of people said Bush had committed many crimes. Just about every president has done something that could be interpreted as unconstitutional. If the military determines which Commander to obey, and which to bring down, we are in real trouble.

          • Goethe – i re-read yours for the 3rd or 4th time – actually It is a POTUS not a CinC making Military decisions – It is all about a CinC making political instead of war decisions. Flags (actually all O’s) have their own political ecology and would prefer to leave civilian politics out of the mix. They are shouting a warning about the mendacity of this administration.

            Hmm, wonder why Pubs in Congress force investigations and only FOX follows both opinions and questions the Pres’s Lapdog but let a Republican have a issue and the MSM is all over it. Then there are the Nixon tapes over a Pub breaking into a Dem’s office – was there killings we never found out about, Maybe it was actually whites breaking into a black democrats office.
            ——————————————————————–
            Why did FBI official Mark Felt become Deep Throat?

            The popular narrative is that Felt leaked details of the Watergate scandal to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward out of an altruistic motive to expose Richard Nixon’s corrupt presidency.
            ——————————————————————-
            Plus as you said, Gates was honest and fair in his assessments – he simply discussed the once again term MENDACITY of this administration and the seriousness with respect to the U.S.

            • Sam: Well, we’re getting somewhere. As I originally said, I have no problem with comments Gates made about Bush/Cheney. BUT I do NOT think it’s appropriate for the military (retired or otherwise) to attack a CURRENT Commander-in-Chief. It’s not just insubordination, it’s an attack on the Constitution.

              If he had waited 2-1/2 years with “volume 2” about Obama/Biden, that would be an entirely different matter.

  7. Sam/Goethe;

    If I may add a few thoughts to your conversation.

    In point 4 Sam says the brass generally won’t speak out against superiors. Now I was in the military 45 years ago when it was basically made up of people from the draft or avoiding it so the attitude in the services have changed and become more professional since then. I will yield to Sam on that who had more time in. But the way I saw it wasn’t just the UCMJ that prevented the brass from speaking out. A major factor was none of them wanted to jeopardize their pension after putting in so many years. That goes for senior enlisted members as well as officers.

    Secondly Secretary Gates served under Presidents who were from two different political parties. He had no allegiance to a party but simply served at the pleasure of the President much the same as David Gergan and Dick Morris served directly under two Presidents from different parties. Lastly Sec. Gates is a civilian who wasn’t really under the UCMJ rule per se but answered directly to the President. I believe these had an affect on his decision to write a book.

    • I meant to add that both David Gergan and Dick Morris wrote books after serving in their capacities.

      Also pensions were figured by the last rank achieved and time in grade if I remember right.

      • Sam: You’re still totally missing what I’m trying to get at. I am NOT talking about politics. I’m talking about propriety. That’s why I asked it in conjunction with our snowden discussion.

        I know you love to slam Obama, and you took the opportunity, and now that you have that out of your system, let’s get to the point.

        I made an earlier post in this thread saying (a) Hillary apparently admitted that her stand regarding the surge was political, not policy; and (b) Hillary showed poor judgment in being honest about that, because you can’t trust people to hold confidences.

        Didn’t you love to hear that opinion??

        Ok, now let’s look at the other side of the SAME coin:

        I also feel that Gates was inappropriate as a military person in (a) making political statements about the CURRENT civilian leadership, and (b) disclosing a discussion that could not be construed as anything but confidential. If you can’t trust the honor of the military, who can you trust?

        I noted that I was less concerned about comments regarding Bush/Cheney, and I would be less concerned about comments regarding Obama/Biden if those comments were AFTER Obama/Biden were no longer the military’s superiors.

        I was asking if you agreed about that. Can we get back to the point?

        • Goethe – last remark – I spelled it out as best i could – Obama’s administration is unique in history! It is full of mendacity and does not trust or respect our military. All of the flags he rifted (purged / fired) were leaders who would not fire on Americans.The CinC was making POTUS decisions – he had / has no military experience or background, wouldn’t / won’t take military advice and bases his decisions on political needs.

          http://downtrend.com/jrc410/obama-changes-direction-of-us-military-command-fires-9th-general-in-his-purge/

          Both Gates and Senior Flags are aware of this and is unique for a POTUS/CinC and an Administration. Nor is the Military Happy with the Muslim BrotherHood infiltrating the Administration. They don’t distinguish sects of Islam – a Muslim is a Muslim and we have been fighting them solid since 9-11. I really don’t know why Gates spoke out now, except to let the public know that this POTUS/CinC is unique (and a un-good unique) and still has three years left..

          http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/world/2014/01/11/Robert-Gates-wars.html

          The Flags are very concerned that once Obama has “His Military” plus the BrownShirt civilian “Army” (out of DoHS), Martial Law might be next.

          I can’t be anymore straight forward than this. end of my responses concerning this discussion.

          • Sam: Yes, you couldn’t be anymore clear in answering a question I did NOT ask, and I feel is irrelevant to the point.

            SO–in order to avoid your hatred of Obama. . .

            Let’s pretend this book came out in 2007 and trashed ONLY Bush and Cheney. Try to imagine if you would then NOT be concerned about a military man attacking SITTING civilian superiors?

            (1) If he had waited until after the President was no longer the Commander-in-Chief, and

            (2) If he had not betrayed confidential meetings,

            we would not be having this discussion.

            I brought it up within the context of Snowden because I feel that we are in very dangerous territory if we do not ever allow our leaders to have ANY opportunity to brainstorm and speak honestly.

            • Bob: I’m not even sure why there is such a kerfuffle. From what I have heard so far, Gates’ main criticism of Obama is that AFTER Obama agreed to the surge that the military asked for, he became dubious that it would actually work.

              It did work in Iraq, but Iraq is not Afghanistan. Entirely different circumstances. I was actually upset with Obama for pulling people out of Iraq just to put them back into Afghanistan. Not that he wasn’t gung-ho enough.

              If the military thought the surge would work, and they were given their surge, it seems to me that it was up to THEM to prove that they were right. To tell you the truth, I’d rather have a president be skeptical of military adventures–as Ike was.

              Gates said that the problem was NOT that Obama didn’t support the troops, it’s just that he didn’t pat the heads of the chiefs. Think about what that means.

            • Goethe – I do not hate anyone, including Obama, that is in direct violation of spirituality and understanding love. However, I don’r respect or trust Obama!!! I suspect the rifted Flags feel much the same way as well as disagreeing with his politics, and some were rifted because they let slip in public their disagreement with a politician or Admin of Obama’s – and as i mentioned earlier that is against Reg’s as well as protocol.

              The military would never produce or support a coup. All the major leaders work for SecDef, the various SecArmy, etc are redundant with the JCofS. The only two rebellions would be if Obama told to military to execute a Martial Law and directed the military to shoot any non-compliant’s – or – Congress rebels and Obama (or any POTUS) is impeached and doesn’t leave and there is a Flail-Ex.

              What you will never find in the MSM or a Liberal rag:
              http://www.wnd.com/2013/10/top-generals-obama-is-purging-the-military/
              http://www.wnd.com/2013/11/u-s-generals-now-take-action-to-watch-obama/?cat_
              —————————————————————————————————————————————————–
              Re: Gates – he was in the AF for 2 years as a junior officer and even then he was working for the CIA – he has been a Spook most of his career. He wrote what he felt and said it wouldn’t have done any good to have released it later. He thought about releasing it in 2012 but decided not to because of the elections.

              It amazes me than no one on this site (except Obvious / Surfisher) doesn’t see Obama as a threat to our Democratic-Republic and don’t have a issue with becoming a Socialist / Communist.

            • Sam: Perhaps “hate” was too strong a word, but when you mention a name and the other person gets all emotional and rants, all Surfisher/Obvious-like? That’s something like hatred. I guess it’s the emotion, and going off on tangents when it started out as a simple question.

              There are only one or two people on here who seem to support Mr. O. Everybody else trashes him on a regular basis. I defend him when I think the attacks are too extreme or unfair. But then, I used to defend Newt and others, before.

              Anyway, my question was a simple yes or no: Since we had discussed our mutual concern about Snowden, I was wondering if you were also concerned about the disclosure of private/confidential meetings, in which higher-ups were being open and self-reflective, only to have it later bite ’em in the ass.

              You seem to be saying that you don’t think it’s right, but you’re not “concerned” about it.

        • Goethe:

          I know where you want to go with this but your biggest mistake is inferring Secretary Gates is military. Not only is he civilian but each of the Secretaries that are in charge of every branch of service are civilians.

          The best example I can give of what is happening here is what happened years ago. Secretary McNamara was Secretary of Defense since 1961 and in 1968 he became aware that we are not going to win the Vietnam war and wrote a memo to President Johnson stating such which led to his resignation. After wards he wrote a number of books on his time as Secretary,how we go to that point in the war and what his attitude was. Two of them are entitled “Argument Without End and “In Retrospect”. When Clark Clifford took over as Secretary of Defense in his first meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff he asked “What is our plan to win the war” followed by complete silence. Why was there silence because as Godfrey wrote in one of his post the policy of the United States since the Second World War has been stability and containment not winning wars.

          Now you can say Robert McNamara was wrong, an evil person, or should have quit years before but that isn’t what we are discussing here. Secretary Gates isn’t leading a military coup against the President nor the country.

          • Sam wrote his response while I was composing my post so let me make it perfectly clear that in no way shape or form do I agree with Sam’s theories. The purpose of my post was to have everyone see the past is repeating itself.

            In my opinion not only isn’t Secretary Gates NOT LEADING A COUP AGINST THE ADMINISTRATION BUT THE ADMINISTRATION ISN’T FORMING “HIS MILITARTY” NOR AN ARMY OF “BROWNSHIRTS” TO FIRE UPON THE CIVILIAN POPULATION. This takes the same “Tin Foil Hat” logic” that Oblivious preaches. I denounced his empty headedness and I denounce this also!

            Let me finish by saying every election cycle RETIRED SENIOR MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY come out in favor of a candidate running against their former Commander in Chief. This is not subordination IT’S FREEDOM OF SPEECH!

          • Bob: I think that’s splitting hairs. If Gates had been a city councilman from Peoria before taking over the DOD, maybe. But Gates spent his career in the military, and he was speaking as a military man.

            I would not be as concerned if Leon Panetta wrote a similar book, since he really is a civilian.

            My concern is about the growing involvement of the military in politics.

            • Goethe;

              I understand your concern about the military involvement in politics and that is what exactly I was attempting to cover in my 3 previous post. I don’t think I’m splitting hairs at all because the Defense Secretaries job is civilian NO MATTER WHAT HIS PREVIOUS BACKGROUND. He may have been an senior officer in the Armed services like Gen.Powell but that doesn’t eliminate him from serving in public office. In his book Sec.Gates says by the end of his term in the Pentagon he admits “My fuse was really getting short. It seems like I was blowing up in my own quiet way nearly every day. I was exhausted and often teared up while talking to members of the military.” This sounds just like what Robert McNamara experienced. You can only assume Sec.Gates is speaking as a military man in your comments and it is your interpretation when you say Sec.Gates is upset because the President didn’t pat the Joint Chiefs on the head.

              I don’t see any red flags of a military coup taking over the country. My fears go to our elected officials in both Houses of Congress,the Executive branch, Appointed Government Department heads, NGO’s and Lobbyist, abusing the Constitutional system of government. If you fear the military then you are advocating the same stratagem that Sam is. Our military firing into crowds of citizens. This is pure empty speculation that conspiracy theorist conjure up like the military having something to do with President Kennedy’s assassination because he wanted to pull troops out of Vietnam. This tripe can be proven false through JFK ‘s press conference of 17 July 1963 and an interview of Bobby Kennedy by the JFK library in April 1964.

              Like you I also would like our Commander In Chiefs to be more skeptical about using military force but over the past recent history it hasn’t been that way. In fact they have been used for everything from humanitarian aid to holding an umbrella over the Presidents head while he gives a speech in the Rose Garden. Many politicians may talk the talk but I fear they have little respect for the military and treat them as they were minor members of their staff.

  8. Mr. Reusse. In response to your comments:
    1 — I rarely watch TV but I have heard that MSNBC has a liberal viewpoint. What’s interesting is that you had nothing to say about Faux News’ famous conservative bias. Why not? And speaking of Low Information Voters: http://www.alternet.org/story/149193/study_confirms_that_fox_news_makes_you_stupid

    2 — The U.S. hasn’t fought a war for freedom since WWII. Mostly what we do is protect corporate interests overseas like when we overthrew a popular, democratically elected President of Iran and installed a dictator, the Shah of Iran, so that British Petroleum could control Iran’s oil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d'%C3%A9tat But for that, Iran could have been another Turkey, a friend and ally. The rest of your claims about the President are completely unsupported. What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    4 — Please clarify: just who is the “VC of the JOC” who, in your paranoid world is supposed to “take out” the President of the United States and it’s Constitutionally designated Commander in Chief? Wouldn’t doing so be both insubordinate and a violation of the Constitution which you so selectively love?

    5 — If you have evidence of Clinton or Obama committing murder, you should share it with the world.

    My Senator, Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has repeatedly claimed that the Public had no idea what the CIA and NSA are doing and would not approve of it if they did. http://www.wyden.senate.gov/news/press-releases/in-speech-wyden-says-official-interpretations-of-patriot-act-must-be-made-public He was prohibited from being more explicit due to the classified information to which he was privy. Thus “snitching” to a senator or representative would not have resulted in immunity and would have done nothing to mitigate what illegality was being done. Now that Snowden has blown the whistle on the massive domestic and international spying, things are changing. We can thank him for taking a great risk to tell us what our own government was doing to us.

  9. Sam Russer: “Military Officers as I explained work for the Constitution and it’s Amendments not POTUS.”

    Military officers don’t work for the Commander-in-Chief??? What rubbish! I defy you to back that up.

  10. Sam:

    In regard to your 13th January @9:16Pm post.

    There are plenty of us on this site who believe President Obama ‘s socialist policies are a major threat to the nation. We DON’T HOWEVER believe to the extent you and Oblivious are advocating that he will refuse to leave office in 2017,order the military to fire upon the citizens or has a personal “brownshirt army”. The threat he poses is strictly political.

    The purpose of this site as i believe all political blogs are to “engage not estrange” the conversation. We can throw opinions out but really shouldn’t cut the conversation off without explaining where we are coming from with these ideas. That is simply what we are referring to.

    • I actually feel much like you do, Bob – but i also believe that with the unilateral decisions, rules he has dictated through E.O.’s, and foreign policies (or non-policies), coupled with lapdog support of the media and a stalled split congress who won’t hold the Executive branch accountable will continue to lead Obama to conduct policies and actions much like a Monarch. We still have three years of Obama, and while he is very smart, his ideology is overbearing, he rules his Party with almost an iron hand and still has the MSM faithfully supporting 95% of his actions / in-actions.

      Bob – I don’t expect anyone on these threads to agree much with my opinions and i certainly wouldn’t want to be estranged – i thoroughly enjoy Goethe’s, Your’s, Tess’s, Billy’s, Josh’s and others on the threads, My Oncologist tells me not to get angered or too much negative energy flowing as that can increase my Lymphoma – so nothing upsets me anymore – but sometimes i want to just opine, sit back, and see the other remarks – when challenged, it is my nature to respond unless it is some left wingnut like a couple have been.

      It just amazed me that I’m the only one on these URL threads that can’t recognize how close we are too a one party nation and borderline Monarchy. If a Republican were in office, by now he/she would be impeached and some of the Administration would be in jail. It DOES amaze me that no one else on this site can see that. I don’t remember FDR but i was alive and have studied him; i have been alive and do remember every other president since, some good and some not so good, but never one like the present POTUS.

      I welcome totally all remarks on my opinions, but may not respond back, don’t need to get upset, Opinions are like Anuses, we all have one and sometimes my opinions overload the other end.. ,

      • Sam:

        I totally understand where you are coming from and if you look at my post of 13th of January @ 4:53PM you will see just how close we agree.

        Take care and we are always glad to hear your opinions……………Bob

      • Sam:

        How about Signing Statements? They really bother me. I didn’t like when Bush did ’em,and I don’t like when Obiwan does, either.

        The reasoning is that laws are not always clear, so the executive says, “this is what they meant.” But it seems to me, the prez should then be required to send it back to Congress to get them to confirm that that is what they meant. Otherwise, it’s a matter of the executive just writing his own laws by rewriting them.

        OR–since the Supremes have the job of interpreting, I suppose he might go to the court to say, “this is what they meant,right?” Since the Supreme Court has the ultimate say in what laws mean, I suppose they would be the ones to “interpret,” but then, seems like they’d have way too much to do.

      • Here’s another one: Recess Appointments.

        Congress’ job is to “advise” and “consent.” That means “give opinion and then confirm the nomination.” It doesn’t mean, “just say no.” The idea of purposely keeping a president from assembling a team is ridiculous.

        It’s NOT just this administration. It’s been going on for years, but it keeps getting worse.

        Seems to me that there should be a deadline for considering a nomination. X-number of weeks to discuss and then vote on it. If they can’t debate within a set time, must be they have no objections, right? That would make recess appointments unnecessary.

        The case before the Supreme Court is the meaning of “recess.” Seems to me, if they don’t have enough people to conduct business, they are “in recess.” This is not “messing with Senate rules,” it’s just common sense.

        Then the question is whether the president COULD have gotten someone confirmed ahead of the recess. If so, the recess appointment should NOT be allowed.

  11. “Opinions are like Anuses, we all have one and sometimes my opinions overload the other end.”

    Sam, your comment about military officers not working for the Commander in Chief isn’t an opinion, it’s a lie, and you know it.

    • Godfrey:

      I am lost. I looked through Sam’s posts, and I don’t see anywhere that he said that the military doesn’t work for the Commander-in-Chief. Can you point out where he said that? Not picking. Just confused.

      • Goethe – I did in fact say that. Our Oath of Office is to the Constitution and the duties of our Office. The Chain of command is President -> CinC -> SecDef -> Unified Area Command Flags (with Central Command in Chief having the biggest 4star suck) The Civilian Sec’s of the Services and JCofS are advisors but nothing is done without their approval. the present Chairman of the JCofS is a total suck up to CinC and serves at SecDef’s pleasure. As a Former enlisted, and retired Navy Lieutenant. I have sworn a lot of oaths E-1 -> E-7, WO1 -> CWO3, & O2E -> O3E.

        All Officers have at least one “Chain Link” between them and CinC. And the POTUS/CinC cannot give an un-Constitutional or unlawful order to the Military unless approved by Congress. Our Founding Fathers specifically set it up that way as they were more afraid of Tyranny (having just fought a revolutionary war) than the present day modern America is.

        The Enlisted Oath specifically states, “. . . will obey the orders of the President of the United States . . .” , The Officer’s oath does not ! .

        • Sam: But doesn’t an officer start out as an enlisted person, and wouldn’t that oath continue to apply, as well?

          Thanks for the info. I was a college kid when Vietnam heated up, so I didn’t go. Thus, I must bow to you and Bob and Tess regarding internal military matters. AND I appreciate your enlightening me.

          To clarify my stand, I don’t believe a military coup here is any more realistic than a president (Bush OR Obama) cancelling the election. However, I don’t think military people should be trashing the president any more than they should publicly trash their own general, colonel, or lieutenant. Nor, would I think, they should “tattle” like little girls about juicy gossipy tidbits they hear in confidential meetings. . .

          • Goethe – I did and that’s why i’m also called a Mustang. The majority of Officers (unfortunately) have never experienced life as Enlisted. Every time i re-uped (shipped over) as enlisted i had to take the E. oath, but it changes as a O. and with every promotion as a Commissioned you get to retake the O. oath. WO1 like the Academies take the commissioned type oath – they are not fully commissioned as CWOx through 0-10 (4star).

            As I said, the military would never do a coup, SecDef or Congress would have to order any mutinous activity against the CinC. As I stated several times this POTUS/CinC and Administration is both unique and quite mendacious, and i don’t believe the military has ever been quite this upset with it’s status or the direction of the country. ACTIVE military is not allowed to trash superiors or any politicians – against Regs. In reality, anyone paid by the Defense Finance Accounting Agency (DFAS) or VA is subject to the UCMJ,including contractors. . So I could be held accountable as I receive from both.

            ACTIVE duty they will courtmartial.and rift. As I reminded you this isn’t the first tattle on an Administration, simply close to the first by senior military (Flags). .

            • Sam: interesting. Thanks. I guess we’ll need a few days to hear what else he has to say. I heard part of one interview I which he said his comments have been twisted and taken out of context.

  12. Goethe, to answer your question…

    January 10th: Sam Reusser said:
    “Our Oath of Office says we will “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic” and “discharge the duty of the Office” – for an Officer there is nothing about POTUS/CinC. That includes if the POTUS violates our Constitution or Amendments, it is SecDef’s and Congress’ responsibility to order the VC of the JOC to take out POTUS/CinC.”

    January 11th: Sam Reusser said:
    “Military Officers as I explained work for the Constitution and it’s Amendments not POTUS.”

    Note: Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution states: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

    Now that Sam has admitted denying that military officers work for the Commander-in-Chief, he should admit to lying about it. He seems to have done so to provide some bogus justification for overthrowing the President, whom self-described Tea Bagger Sam seems to hate with an irrational passion. Sam has also declined to clarify just who the “VC of the JOC” is who he claims has the authority to “take out” the President of the United States.

  13. I know that some people feel that Snowden is a hero, but can we at least agree that divulging our spying on Merkel and other foreign leaders did a lot of damage to the American “brand,” and divulging that particular, sordid tidbit did nobody any good?

  14. Goethe, since when does hiding the truth do no harm? The world is full of self-serving liars, spinmeisters, and political and religious ideologues who have no respect for the truth. The scientific community is virtually the only source of the unvarnished facts, which is why I distrust most other sources.

    • Godfrey:

      It depends on what “truth” it is. “As a matter of fact, my dear, I HOPE that dress IS making your ass LOOK fat, because otherwise, you have become something between a pig and a cow.”

      Or, why not publish Godfrey’s social security number, credit card numbers, bank numbers, address, and current whereabouts of his wife and children? The truth can’t hurt, can it?

      In fact, Target stores are now learning one example of what happens when the “truth gets out.”

      You can argue that it was good to let the world know that the NSA has run amock. In fact, I was horrified and ashamed to learn that we bugged Angela’s personal cell phone. But I see no benefit to publicizing that particular fact, and that was all I was saying. Are you now saying good will come from that particular juicy tidbit?

      But otherwise, I agree with you. The scientific community is about the only folks who consider even things like gravity to be just “theories,” which may, someday, be disproven. Everyone else seems to think they know more than God–and want to force it on you.

      • @Goethe: “You can argue that it was good to let the world know that the NSA has run amock. In fact, I was horrified and ashamed to learn that we bugged Angela’s personal cell phone. But I see no benefit to publicizing that particular fact, and that was all I was saying. Are you now saying good will come from that particular juicy tidbit?”

        It already has! http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/17/politics/obama-nsa-bottom-line/ The truth is producing changes already, although not nearly enough.

        Regarding the size of my wife’s butt, neither my beautiful wife nor I are in denial about the facts. A problem would arise only if she were in denial about the health dangers of obesity.

        Also, regarding credit card numbers, there’s a difference between the truth and personal privacy. I will reveal the true numbers on my credit cards to businesses that I choose to do business with, but I don’t think that in a democracy the government has the right to lie to its citizens or to invade their privacy. Neither do corporations or other citizens have the right to invade my privacy without my permission.

        • Godfrey: You are continuing to duck the question I have asked over and over.

          I have not supported NSA.

          I have not condemned Snowden for releasing information.

          My complaint is the haphazard, wholesale, and damaging manner in which he has done it. People like Daniel Ellsburg and MarkFelt (Deep Throat) released specific information, for a specific purpose.

          Look, everybody knows everybody spies on everyone. Even the Israelis have moles here–as if we were not already doing everything they want.

          PLEASE answer my specific question–what possible value was there in publicizing that our government spied on personal communications of ally leaders? The point of NSA spying was already made. This particular tattle did no one any good–except to make Snowden a celebrity.

          • What haphazard, damaging way did he release his information??? He gave it to the Guardian and the New York Times, both of which are co-conspirators in releasing the “secret” information and both are doing so in a judicious, and prudent manner. I challenge you to point to a single bit of damage that has resulted from the release. Revealing embarrassing information is not the same as damaging information. In fact there are thousands of documents the Guardian and Times are still reading and there will almost certainly be more revelations to come.

            You also seem to assume that secretly spying on world leaders and the American public was doing no harm in the first place. Wrong! All Snowden did was blow the whistle on unethical conduct tell the truth to the American public and the world, at great risk to himself, and even Obama now realizes that or he wouldn’t be making changes.

            The other recent whistle-blower was Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning who revealed not only how brutally and callously Americans were murdering civilians and journalists, http://www.collateralmurder.com/ how both Iraqi civilian deaths and American deaths were being grossly under reported, and how badly the war was going for us. These are exactly the kind of things that Daniel Ellsberg revealed in the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam war and he hastened the end of the war and thereby saved many American and Vietnamese lives. Daniel Ellsberg himself says that “I was Bradley Manning.” Yet Manning is now in jail for 35 years for his courage. In the Middle East it was the American invasion of two countries which were bad policy decisions, founded on lies, and resulting in the death and trauma of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people. This embarrassing information was hidden from the American public under a cloak of secrecy, and Manning deserves better for his courage to have revealed it.

            Okay, enough pontificating. To answer your specific question, the value of publicizing that our government spied on personal communications of our allies is that such unethical conduct may now stop. I certainly hope so. Obama wouldn’t want our allies spying on his private conversations, so why is he doing it to others?

            • Godfrey:

              ” I challenge you to point to a single bit of damage that has resulted from the release.”

              Geez, people get worked up around here.

              Let’s go back to my original post:

              “can we at least agree that divulging our spying on Merkel and other foreign leaders did a lot of damage to the American “brand,” and divulging that particular, sordid tidbit did nobody any good?”

              Are you saying that
              (a) it was necessary to divulge the “fun fact” that we were spying on personal cell phones of world leaders,
              (b) that nobody knew everyone spies on everyone,
              (c) that everybody knew the level of our expertise in that nasty process,
              (d) that knowing all the other facts were insufficient to tell the story,
              (e) this helped us be friends with our allies, and that
              (f) having this PARTICULAR fact improved our image?

              My point was that he has dumped a lot of information. Did he have to blab this PARTICULAR one?

              So let me go back to my original point, and you tell ME what specific benefit (aside from his own ego and notoriety) did anyone get from this PARTICULAR tidbit that was NOT available from all the other information?

  15. @Goethe: “Look, everybody knows everybody spies on everyone.”

    Really?
    Do you sneak around at night and peak into the windows of your neighbors? I don’t and I don’t think others should either. If someone gets caught doing so and is thoroughly embarrassed, they are probably less likely to do so again and the neighbors will be less trusting of the snoop. I consider both of these results to be improvements.

    @Goethe: So let me go back to my original point, and you tell ME what specific benefit (aside from his own ego and notoriety) did anyone get from this PARTICULAR tidbit that was NOT available from all the other information?

    See previous comment. Snowden wasn’t ego-tripping. He’s just the guy who caught the snoops. And the snoops didn’t like it, so now they’re trying to put him in jail for blowing the whistle on them.

    @Goethe: Are you saying that
    (a) it was necessary to divulge the “fun fact” that we were spying on personal cell phones of world leaders,

    Not necessary. Constructive.

    (b) that nobody knew everyone spies on everyone,

    See first comment.

    (c) that everybody knew the level of our expertise in that nasty process,

    Obviously the public and foreign leaders DIDN’T know or Obama wouldn’t be making apologies for it and changing policies now.

    (d) that knowing all the other facts were insufficient to tell the story,

    Other facts were telling different stories. Why should one fact be treated any differently from the others?

    (e) this helped us be friends with our allies,

    The SPYING was a BETRAYAL of our friendship, not the exposure.

    (f) and that having this PARTICULAR fact improved our image?

    See first comment above regarding the embarrassment factor.

    So now tell me, where’s the harm that allegedly resulted?

    • Godfrey:

      The harm was that this PARTICULAR sordid tidbit gave our enemies an excuse to say that whatever they do is fine. And it forced our allies to speak out against us. And nobody knows what other damage may occur.

      So, fine. You’ve answered my question. I think this PARTICULAR leak was an ego trip for Snowden that helped no one–because the main point was already made–and damaged the USA by unnecessarily antagonizing allies. You don’t.

      Question answered. Discussion ended.

      • Goethe, I don’t have enemies, and certainly not Angela Merkel or Dilma Rousseff. If exposing U.S. malfeasance allows others to rationalize their own malfeasance as being no worse, then the solution is not to hide our own but to not malfease in the first place.. Doing something disrespectful secretly does not make it respectable.

        Your comments imply that you accept the whole “us” versus “them” assumption which has been used to justify so many heinous actions. You seem to think that we should be dishonest, hide our self-serving actions and mistakes, and blindly cheer for the home team. This kind of tribalism is what causes wars which inevitably hurts everyone involved. I want nothing to do with any of it. I must confess, however, to some schadenfreude at seeing sanctimonious people hoist with their own petard.

        • Godfrey:

          You’ve answered your own question: schadenfreude.

          If all people were altruistic at all times, I would agree. But humans have an innate drive for self-preservation, which is necessarily expanded to self-interest beyond preservation.

          You many not THINK you have “enemies,” or maybe you are defining the term too narrowly, but you certainly DO have people who wish you ill (“shadenfreude”) and you DO have people whose self-interest overlaps with yours–and each of us feels “right” to pursue it (“pursuit of happiness”). And don’t we keep praising the value of “competition”?

          Even on here,people have said that we should not be running foreign adventures unless we have a national interest. They are just not joining this particular thread. Our national interest is in competition with others.

          Like it or not, people need secrets. In World War II, we lied to the Germans and we lied to the Japanese. Bad us. If we hadn’t faked out the Germans about D-Day, it would probably have failed. In the Pacific, the Japanese had their secrets, transmitted in code. We broke the code, but no one here called them and said, “you know what? You can’t trust your code anymore.”

          I am a lot more internationalist than most people. I’m not crazy about overt actions, much less covert ones. But, like it or not, your personal interest collides with others, your city competes with other cities, your state with other states, and your country with other countries. Fact of life.

          But what I’m saying in this thread is that the point had already been made–and the Merkel disclosure was horribly embarrassing for us as well as the spied upon, and did not really add to the discussion.

          • @Goethe: “You’ve answered your own question: schadenfreude.”

            AKA: poetic justice.

            “If all people were altruistic at all times, I would agree. But humans have an innate drive for self-preservation, which is necessarily expanded to self-interest beyond preservation.”

            Is this why you snoop in your neighbors’ windows at night? Because you’re worried about your self-preservation and other self-serving interests?

            “You many not THINK you have “enemies,” or maybe you are defining the term too narrowly, but you certainly DO have people who wish you ill (“shadenfreude”)…”

            “Schadenfreude” does not mean that people wish you ill. In fact, I’m not aware of anyone who wishes me ill since unlike my government, I try not to give anyone reason to do so.

            “…you DO have people whose self-interest overlaps with yours–and each of us feels “right” to pursue it (“pursuit of happiness”). And don’t we keep praising the value of “competition”?”

            I pursue my self-interest but not to the point of violating other people’s rights. And I rarely praise the value of competition. Cooperation is a vastly superior tool. Without cooperation we would still be picking berries in the jungles of Africa.

            “Even on here,people have said that we should not be running foreign adventures unless we have a national interest… Our national interest is in competition with others.”

            Goethe, look at what has passed for our “national interest”. Overthrowing a democracy in Iran and installing a dictator in order to seize control of Iran’s oil. Fighting a debilitating, costly and losing war in Vietnam to defend ourselves against “godless Communism.” Invading Iraq to destroy those legendary weapons of mass destruction. Invading Afghanistan to wreak revenge on conservative Islamic ideologues. So how has all that worked out for us??? Perhaps our “national interest” should include not spending ourselves into poverty trying to run the rest of the world for our competitive self-interest, eh?

            “Like it or not, people need secrets. In World War II, we lied to the Germans and we lied to the Japanese. Bad us. If we hadn’t faked out the Germans about D-Day, it would probably have failed. In the Pacific, the Japanese had their secrets, transmitted in code. We broke the code, but no one here called them and said, “you know what? You can’t trust your code anymore.””

            Goethe, revealing to Americans that WE were wantonly murdering civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan (the Iraqis and Afghans already knew), or revealing that the American Government was routinely spying on AMERICANS and our allies, are not even remotely similar to exposing that we had cracked the German Enigma code, Germany being an unambiguously hostile force then, unlike the American public and Germany today. The fact is these “secrets” were only hiding embarrassing facts from Americans and our friends who had a right to know what was being done.

            “…like it or not, your personal interest collides with others, your city competes with other cities, your state with other states, and your country with other countries. Fact of life.”

            So should California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah start wars with each other because they all want the dwindling water supply from the Colorado River? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/us/colorado-river-drought-forces-a-painful-reckoning-for-states.html?_r=0 Is competition over scarce resources EVER the best solution? I would argue that it is never the only solution and rarely the best solution. It turns us into evil, greedy, self-serving people, it turns our opponents into implacable enemies, and is virtually always counterproductive. Starting wars over political and religious ideology is absolutely the stupidist of all possible reasons to compete with others, but inexplicably, we keep doing it.

            • Godfrey:

              This is a silly argument. For the most part, I agree with you–except that you get too extreme and rigid. You think if someone does one thing you like, you have to defend everything they do.

              I continue to believe that disclosure of the bugging of other world leaders probably didn’t even come as a surprise to them, despite protestations. (“I am shocked, shocked that gambling is going on in here!” “Your winnings, sir.” “Thank you very much.”–Casablanca)

              But to make it public, caused damage among the publics of the various countries, and I don’t see that that PARTICULAR disclosure did anybody any good.

              And “Schadenfreude” is NOT “poetic justice:”

              American Heritaage:
              “Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.”

              Merriam Webster:
              “a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people”

              Wiktionary:
              “Malicious enjoyment derived from observing someone else’s misfortune”

              Wikipedia:
              “pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. This word is a loanword from German. The literal English translation is ‘Harm-Joy’. It is the feeling of joy or pleasure when one sees another fail or suffer misfortune.”

  16. Goethe, What “schadenfreude” does NOT mean that people wish you ill.

    Also, schadenfreude can mean poetic justice when people who have behaved badly are hoist with their own petard. That’s the only time I would take any pleasure in someone else’s misfortune.

    When I made the comments about schadenfreude and poetic justice I had just watched the documentary “We Steal Secrets” about Wikileaks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdezJrNaL70 The title quote was not from Julian Assange, as one might expect, but from General Michael Hayden, former Director of the NSA and the CIA, a guy who has presided over stealing more secrets than probably anyone in history. Yet Hayden has the chutzpah to condemn Wikileaks for stealing secrets with the same tribalistic justification that you did. Perhaps he just didn’t like the competition.

    You don’t get justice any more poetic than that!

    • Godfrey:

      It is the very essence of schadenfreude that a person feels “justified” in feeling it. But on some level, we all know it is wrong. That’s why you originally said you “must confess” to feeling it.

      We WANT people to suffer, if we feel that–based on our own guidelines–they have done something else that deserved punishment. But that doesn’t make that sordid feeling right. And that was my point–to err is human–and the perfect government you demand can never happen BECAUSE governments are run by humans.

      I asked my original question because I, too, felt that the NSA had gone too far–but I ALSO felt that Snowden had gone too far in releasing salacious details that didn’t add to our knowledge, but was done only to damage international relations and make him a “star.”

      So PLEASE drop that. And let’s move on to another one:

      It is clear on here that I am anti-war. I have always been so. I was against the Vietnam War–yet, even then, I was embarrassed by Jane Fonda, who “showed off” by going to North Vietnam and praising them–while criticizing our soldiers, not just our government.

      Let’s move on to this one:

      Do you agree that Jane Fonda went too far?

      [And, by the way, isn’t there ANYONE else out there??]

      • Goethe – Fonda should have been arrested and tried as a traitor for “aiding & abetting the enemy”. even then the Dems were in control and the Pubs had no ‘nads.

        I think you know my feeling about war – similar to you but not quite the same. No War, giant prevent Defense, stay out of other country’s conflict & ideology business, if attacked – just plain eliminate attacker (other countries will sit up and notice and give us a wide berth), and if “the Domino Effect” gets involved in our business relationships or threatens our freedom – back off or face our consequences. And major goal, become resource independent.

        • @Sam Reusser: “Fonda should have been arrested and tried as a traitor for “aiding & abetting the enemy”.”

          Who gets to define who an “enemy” is, Sam? The Vietnamese certainly weren’t my enemy. My political leaders were the invaders and murderers and then they tried to convince me that the Vietnamese were the bad guys. They weren’t. The U.S. would have responded the same way they did if our country had been invaded. Why can’t you see this? Is it more than just tribal chauvinism?

          @Sam Reusser: “I think you know my feeling about war – similar to you but not quite the same. No War, giant prevent Defense, stay out of other country’s conflict & ideology business, if attacked – just plain eliminate attacker (other countries will sit up and notice and give us a wide berth).

          Sam, your faith in military intimidation is touching but utterly unjustified. Did we succeed in intimidating anyone in Vietnam? Did we succeed in intimidating any Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East? And just how does one intimidate religious fanatics who are willing to strap a bomb to themselves?
          I think it’s precisely this kind of hubris that encourages weak-minded chickenhawks like George W. Bush to start wars. If you have the biggest military hammer in the world, every other country looks like a nail.

      • @Goethe: “We WANT people to suffer, if we feel that–based on our own guidelines–they have done something else that deserved punishment. But that doesn’t make that sordid feeling right.”

        Neither does it make the feeling wrong, especially when it’s not punishment that one desires but simply observing the natural consequence of their own actions. Kind of like watching someone piss on an electric fence… the second time.

        “And that was my point–to err is human–and the perfect government you demand can never happen BECAUSE governments are run by humans.”

        I neither demand nor believe there is any such thing as perfection. I would just like to see my country stop pissing on the same electric fence over and over and over and over again. And to stop sending me the medical bills.

        “Do you agree that Jane Fonda went too far?”

        Well it certainly didn’t help her career but in the larger scope of things it was absolutely trivial compared to murdering 58,000 Americans and millions of Asians, http://alphahistory.com/vietnam/costs-of-the-vietnam-war/ burning people alive with napalm and poisoning the countryside and even future generations of Americans and Vietnamese with Agent Orange. http://embryo.asu.edu/pages/birth-defects-caused-agent-orange.

        Let’s keep a little perspective here. Just who deserves to be condemned? It certainly wasn’t Fonda! She was trying to END the war and you condemn her for not blindly supporting her tribe when it had made a MONUMENTAL mistake. More power to her, Ellsberg, Manning and Snowden.

        • Oh, Godfrey, yer so full o’ crap.

          The trouble with being so doctrinaire, dogmatic, and self-righteous, is that you paint yourself into corners and find yourself with strange bedfellows.

          In order to prove to the world that you’re never wrong, you find yourself defending schadenfreude–even though you began by admitting guilt in feeling it (“I must confess”).

          And then, you feel that being against the Vietnam War forces you to align with any nutcase who was also against the war. Jane Fonda is a flake. The last time I heard, she had become a total Jesus freak fanatic. And I didn’t “condemn” her. I just said I thought she “went too far.”

          You need to acquaint yourself with the concept of “going too far.”

          • Oh, Godfrey, yer so full o’ crap.
            All healthy people are, Mr. Behr! 😉

            “The trouble with being so doctrinaire, dogmatic, and self-righteous, is that you paint yourself into corners and find yourself with strange bedfellows.”

            Me? Doctrinaire and dogmatic??? But I have no doctrines or dogmas! I adhere to no ideology, religion, political orthodoxy or conventional wisdom. All issues are up for reconsideration de novo when I get them. For me, strange bedfellows are better than the same old bedfellows all the time. If I find myself agreeing with some group too often, I know it’s time to rethink things. No one has a lock on the truth, least of all me.
            Self-righteous? Let’s just call it “convinced” but subject to reconsideration in light of evidence or a good argument. Got one?

            “In order to prove to the world that you’re never wrong, you find yourself defending schadenfreude–even though you began by admitting guilt in feeling it (“I must confess”).”

            Goethe, I’ve been wrong so many times I’m embarrassed to admit how many, but I don’t think I’m wrong nearly as much as I used to be precisely because I’m not locked into any doctrine or dogma. This leaves me free to change my mind in the face of new evidence or better arguments. I am open to persuasion precisely because I am a heretic to all ideologies.
            I thought I had explained that I disapprove of schaudenfreude in the sense that it is gloating over the misfortune of an “enemy” (of which I like to think I have none). That’s just laughing at someone for their bad luck. But in the sense of poetic justice for willful, invincible ignorance, I just have to chuckle. Education can be so amusing.

            “And then, you feel that being against the Vietnam War forces you to align with any nutcase who was also against the war. Jane Fonda is a flake. The last time I heard, she had become a total Jesus freak fanatic. And I didn’t “condemn” her. I just said I thought she “went too far.” You need to acquaint yourself with the concept of “going too far.”

            I agree with you that Jesus freaks are badly misinformed, but I’ve known some wonderful Jesus freaks and I resist being as judgmental about people as you seem to be, even though you couch it in terms like “going too far.” That’s like saying, “it’s okay to oppose war as long as you don’t do anything to try to stop them.”
            Virtually all people deserve our respect, no matter how misinformed or clueless they may be. People who deliberately hurt others for ideological reasons, or because they are sociopaths, not so much IMHO. Fonda is not in that category. Her actions may have been poorly thought out and naive, but her intentions were good and she deserves a round of applause for trying to make things better. Most people don’t have that much courage. The same is true for Manning and Snowden. You dismissed Snowden as ego-tripping. I see no evidence of that. That’s like calling Fonda a flake. It dismisses what they were trying to accomplish without even trying to understand them.

            BTW, this is not the first time I’ve been accused of being an ideologue. Real ideologues assume that anyone who disagrees with them MUST be loyal to some competing ideology. I then spend a lot of time explaining (and documenting) why I think what I do, and how I don’t agree with whatever ideology they accuse me of saluting. I’m then usually rewarded by being accused, again without any evidence, of just being another ideologue. It’s sometimes tough to find people with whom I can have a serious discussion.

            So let me ask you a serious question, since flag-waving Sam won’t answer it: What’s so great about patriotism? Is it anything more than cultural chauvinism? Tribalism? “Us” versus “them-ism”? Why should my opinions and loyalties depend on where I was born?

            • Godfrey:

              First, about Jane Fonda, now you’re saying “Her actions may have been poorly thought out and naive.” Isn’t that sort of, you know, the definition of “going too far”??

              Now to your question, you can criticize Sam for a lot of things (I have), but he won’t shrink from a conflict. My guess is that he thought the question wasn’t worthy of an answer.

              Regarding patriotism. . .

              When I was a kid, I remember seeing a Disney show, in which an American kid talked about patriotism, and his friend from Italy said he didn’t understand it–he loved his city, but didn’t “love” his country. My guess is that nationalism had been tamped down there after WWII. I agreed with the American kid.

              But now I don’t. I feel the most loyalty to my family, then friends,then neighborhood, then city, then state, then country, hemisphere, world, and universe–in that order. And I agree that nationalism is dangerous, even when it’s dressed up in the pretty clothes of “patriotism.”

              However, I think it’s “poorly thought out and naive” to condemn one’s own country, since humans have an innate instinct for self-preservation, which begins with one’s own well being, but includes family and, yes, country. Everybody wants a larger piece of the limited resources. That’s life.

  17. @Goethe: “First, about Jane Fonda, now you’re saying “Her actions may have been poorly thought out and naive.” Isn’t that sort of, you know, the definition of “going too far”??”

    Not to me, Goethe, although only you know what you meant by the term. To me naievity or lacking experience or sophistication isn’t the same as deliberately violating well understood social norms. But if that’s what you meant by “going too far” then I will thank you for the clarification.

    @Goethe: “Now to your question, you can criticize Sam for a lot of things (I have), but he won’t shrink from a conflict. My guess is that he thought the question wasn’t worthy of an answer.”

    Either that or he couldn’t defend his own statements.

    @Goethe: “I feel the most loyalty to my family, then friends,then neighborhood, then city, then state, then country, hemisphere, world, and universe–in that order. ”

    My only loyalty is to my family and to the odd numbered side of my block. And I will fight to the DEATH if one of those even numbered neighbors tries to invade the odd side!!!

    @Goethe: “And I agree that nationalism is dangerous, even when it’s dressed up in the pretty clothes of “patriotism.””

    I don’t see the slightest difference between patriotism, nationalism, tribalism, or cultural, racial or territorial chauvinism.

    @Goethe: “However, I think it’s “poorly thought out and naive” to condemn one’s own country, since humans have an innate instinct for self-preservation, which begins with one’s own well being, but includes family and, yes, country. Everybody wants a larger piece of the limited resources. That’s life.

    Why would you assume that someone from a different piece of dirt threatens your “self-preservation”? Exactly what resources do Mexicans or Canadians want to deprive you of? The right to make $5000/year picking vegetables or shingling roofs in the hot sun? The right to drink Molson?

    For the most thoughtful person I’ve seen posting on these discussions, you seem to totally accept the jingoistic, ethnocentric idea that we have something to fear from people from a different area or from a different culture. In fact, I have vastly more to fear from Tea Party crackpots and self-serving wealthy plutocrats in my own country than I do from Iranians, blacks folks or Jews.

    Edward O. Wilson, in his latest book, http://longnow.org/seminars/02012/apr/20/social-conquest-earth/ calls tribalism “Humanity’s Hereditary Curse”. In fact he has an entire chapter by that name. In his book he explains how tribalism, developed, how it has fostered war after war and other forms of social conflict, and why it is obsolete and counterproductive in a modern global, interdependent world. He also attributes the successes of social insects and humans to their COOPERATION, not to competition. We can all gain perspective on ourselves, our culture and our future from him.

    • Godfrey:

      OK. By “going too far,” I meant doing things that were “poorly thought out and naive.” I saw nothing wrong with protesting in our streets, but I thought it was inappropriate (at best) to support the people who were shooting at our draftees–in their own capital. Even if you don’t agree with the government (any government), you need to accept that governments don’t reflect the wishes of all “the people” (as we have discussed regarding “the American People want”).

      Second, governments are right and governments are wrong–depending on whom you ask, and in what circumstance. It was naive for Jane Fonda to proclaim us “wrong” and the North Vietnamese “right.” They were wrong, as well.

      Thank you for your kind words, but I am not defending jingoist extremism just because I am complaining about anti-jingoist extremism. The issue is EXTREMISM, and in fighting against what you consider “wrong” DOES have limits, and there is such a thing as “going too far.”

      For instance, I don’t know if anyone agrees that it is “right” to kill an abortion doctor with the rationalization that he has “killed” others. That is an example of what I consider “going too far.”

  18. @goethe: “OK. By “going too far,” I meant doing things that were “poorly thought out and naive.” I saw nothing wrong with protesting in our streets, but I thought it was inappropriate (at best) to support the people who were shooting at our draftees–in their own capital.”

    Goethe, your idea of what’s “appropriate” still assumes that we should not conspicuously criticize our government, EVEN when it invades a small, agrarian country half-way around the world for the kind of neo-fascist ideological reasons Sam is always going on about, murders and maims millions, denudes the Vietnamese countryside, supports a puppet government and spends our country into poverty. And you criticize FONDA???? Where is your sense of proportion, Goethe? The fact that there were unwilling American draftees in a position to be shot was just one more reason to stop the war by whatever means necessary. Being naive about America’s arrogance, tribal jingoism and the likely political repercussions doesn’t mean Fonda wasn’t dead RIGHT.

    @Goethe: “Even if you don’t agree with the government (any government), you need to accept that governments don’t reflect the wishes of all “the people””

    No, in fact they rarely do. Governments support the plutocrats who wield the real power. If our government supported what the majority of the people wanted, the Citizens United decision would have already been overturned. http://www.freespeechforpeople.org/node/185

    @Goethe: “It was naive for Jane Fonda to proclaim us “wrong” and the North Vietnamese “right.” They were wrong, as well.”

    Really??? In what way were the North Vietnamese “wrong”?
    This is a false equivalency. The NVA never invaded the U.S. or did anything to justify our military intrusion. They were only defending themselves from French and American colonialism and the puppet government we propped-up.

    @Goethe: “Thank you for your kind words, but I am not defending jingoist extremism just because I am complaining about anti-jingoist extremism. The issue is EXTREMISM, and in fighting against what you consider “wrong” DOES have limits, and there is such a thing as “going too far.””

    Extremism is defined by what one considers to be reasonable. Jane Fonda never killed anyone. That made her an moderate compared to everyone else involved, IMHO.

    • Godfrey:

      OK, I give up.

      It is clear that it is now impossible for either side to admit that anyone on their side could ever “go too far” on any issue.

      Sigh.

  19. Too simplistic, Goethe.
    An anti-abortion protester who murders a doctor goes too far. A Muslim who murders someone for drawing a cartoon of Mohammed goes too far. A political activist who blows up a building, sets off a bomb or shoots a politician s/he doesn’t like goes too far. An environmental activist who shoots a lumberjack, a polluter or an XL pipeline worker goes too far. A person who expresses their religious or political opinion, no matter how creatively, but who hurts no one does NOT go too far.

    • Too Simplistic, Godfrey.
      It gets to the old “shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre.” Words have power.

      If you think it’s never “going too far” if you’re just expressing a religious or political opinion, maybe you’d be interested in participating in the Westboro Baptist Church protests at military funerals. After all, they don’t kill abortion doctors or shoot politicians or blow up buildings!

      Here’s a schedule of their events, for your convenience:

      http://www.godhatesfags.com/schedule.html

    • Godfrey:

      I dunno. It’s just not in my nature to celebrate death, regardless of circumstance. “The bell tolls for thee.”

      I assume you also feel that the death penalty in legal cases is “poetic justice”?

      • @goethe: “If you think it’s never “going too far” if you’re just expressing a religious or political opinion, maybe you’d be interested in participating in the Westboro Baptist Church protests at military funerals. After all, they don’t kill abortion doctors or shoot politicians or blow up buildings!”

        Indeed they don’t, Goethe! Isn’t that vastly better than shooting someone?
        Of course Fred Phelps and his clueless toadies at Westboro Baptist Church are bigoted, religious idiots, like many teabaggers, https://www.google.com/search?q=teabaggers&espv=210&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=DfkKU_KDKIPnoAS7zYDQBA&ved=0CDIQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=979
        but either free speech means freedom for the thoughts we hate, or we don’t have free speech.

        @goethe: “I dunno. It’s just not in my nature to celebrate death, regardless of circumstance. “The bell tolls for thee.””

        I don’t “celebrate” death either, but to paraphrase Clarence Darrow, I have never wished anyone dead, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.

        @goethe: “I assume you also feel that the death penalty in legal cases is “poetic justice”?”

        Absolutely not. Most of the time it’s a matter of wasting tax money to take revenge on someone who is mentally ill, when life in prison would protect the public equally well and be vastly cheaper.
        Poetic justice is when someone does THEMSELF in via self-inflicted stupidity, ideology, or while trying to hurt someone else.
        http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/hoist+with+own+petard

        • Godfrey: Yep, talking is better than shooting, but that wasn’t the question. It was about being a jerk.

          Yes, people have a RIGHT to “go too far,”
          but that doesn’t make it the RIGHT thing to do.

          • Goethe, I couldn’t care less if you or anyone else thinks someone is a “jerk” for “going too far.” I have my own jerk list and it’s based on more substantial grounds than yours. George W. Bush is a jerk in my book for having lied to justify starting two completely unnecessary and futile wars which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the maiming and displacement of millions more. Anti-gay bigots, racial bigots, and religious bigots have been murdering and treating people unfairly… forever. These are people who DESERVE our condemnation, not a naive peacenik like Jane Fonda who you think should have shut her mouth and not tried to end an utterly pointless war. If you’re going to be judgmental, try to find something worth being judgmental about.

            • Godfrey:

              Ok. Jane Fonda. I started this mini-thread, hoping to find something a lot of people could agree on, even if for different reasons.

              Personally, I thought Jane Fonda was a jerk because the country was moving slowly, but surely, to reject war. Even Romney thought he could get elected by going against “Johnson’s War.”

              Then anti-war people went to far–blowing up buildings and what-not. Reminded me of the dad beating his kid, saying, “stop…hitting…your…brother…!”

              And with the public moving against the war, up pops Fonda, dressed as a VC, sitting on a tank, calling our draftees baby killers. Suddenly, if you were against war, you seemed like a commie nutcase. Gave warmongers ammo. Thanks a lot Janey!

              She was the Dennis Rodman of her day (but he looks better in a dress).

              Not sure how I feel about Rodman and North Korea. Anybody have an opinion?

            • @ Goethe: “She was the Dennis Rodman of her day (but he looks better in a dress).”

              Okay, now you’ve gone “too far” Goethe. NO ONE’s uglier than Rodman!

            • Godfrey: Oh, I dunno. I don’t think it counts if they achieve the look they’re going for.

              And did you see him as a blonde in the wedding dress? Hubba-hubba!!

              However, I don’t know how he made it through the metal detector to go to the PRK!

            • She was the Dennis Rodman of her day (but he looks better in a dress).

              Okay, Goethe. Now you’ve gone “too far”. No one’s uglier than Rodman!

              Not sure how I feel about Rodman and North Korea. Anybody have an opinion?

              I assume he’s a CIA agent. Or should be.

            • Godfrey:

              He seems to have become buddies with the PRK elite. Wouldn’t it be great if he could open up that can of nuts?

    • Actually, Goethe, they were Obama’s subversive campaign workers who plotted 9/11 intent on destroying the USA by triggering two wars, sapping the our determination to rule the Middle East, discrediting George W. Bush and ultimately paving the way for a half black man to become president, don’t ‘cha know? Don’t believe me? Ask Sam.

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