March 25, 2007

The Downside Of Anger

George Will writes today about the caustic and self-involved nature of anger in American life in his column today, a topic that has bubbled in my mind for quite a while. He writes more generally about the effect that it has on politics, but anger is the germ of another related problem in politics that Will doesn't address:

Wood notes that there is a "vagueness and elasticity of the grievances" that supposedly justify today's almost exuberant anger. And anger is more pervasive than merely political grievances would explain. Today's anger is a coping device for everyday life. It also is the defining attribute of an increasingly common personality type: the person who "unless he is angry, feels he is nothing at all."

That type, infatuated with anger, uses it to express identity. Anger as an expression of selfhood is its own vindication. Wood argues, however, that as anger becomes a gas polluting the social atmosphere, it becomes not a sign of personal uniqueness but of a herd impulse. ...

Today, many people preen about their anger as a badge of authenticity: I snarl, therefore I am. Such people make one's blood boil.

Will makes a number of good points in this column. He points out that the culture used to value people who came to anger only slowly, or not at all. Will uses Gary Cooper in High Noon and Alan Ladd in Shane as examples, but I could easily include Mr. Spock in Star Trek and "the Force" in the first Star Wars trilogy; who can forget Ian McDiarmid's creepy exhortation to Mark Hamill to use all of his anger in order to make his journey towards evil complete? Tellingly, the second trilogy didn't use that formulation to anywhere near the extent of the first.

The anger Will describes creates another kind of problem. He notes that anger gives people an identity, but it goes farther than that. It creates a sense of shared identity based on anger, and also based on the object of that anger. It creates a sense of tribalism, where we join hands in anger towards a specific Other -- and that drives reason and compromise from the political arena.

In some cases, we should not compromise. Terrorists make themselves a rational target for anger, and those who stand against them have existential reasons for doing so. In times of war, anger towards one's enemy clarifies the priorities of the nation, assuming that we have correctly identified those enemies. In Iraq, for instance, we have done a good job of not allowing ourselves to blame all Iraqis for the ongoing violence, but the small minority of insurgents and terrorists who kill soldiers and civilians alike in their bloodthirsty pursuit of power -- which is true of both sides of the debate.

However, in other applications, this anger and tribalism creates a national sense of rhetorical civil war where we cannot ever agree enough to maintain standards of behavior or get anything accomplished. When Howard Dean stands up and says that he hates Republicans and everything for which we stand, that's not reasoned politics but tribalism. When we accept behavior from Republicans that we find unacceptable in Democrats, or excuse it because the other side did it (even though we howled when they did), that's another form of tribalism.

The point of politics is not to engage in primal screams, but to find ways to implement the best policies for the nation, states, and communities. Anger has its place, but we cannot allow anger to define our politics and our ethics. If we are to make a better nation and a better world, we have to insist on a focus on policy and performance regardless of which party is in power. Otherwise, we're just playing Capture the Flag.

UPDATE: I hadn't noticed it when I wrote this, but Joe Gandelman has some thoughts on tribalism today as well.


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Comments (75)

Posted by beezy [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 8:41 AM

The more relevant problem is labeling as unacceptable Republican behavior that Democrats routinely get away with.

If all Republicans need to be above reproach then we don't need a very big tent to hold them all. A small umbrella should work fine.

BTW anger provides an element of unpredictability to conflict. A predictable opponent is easier to manipulate. Of course there are downsides as well but that is its evolutionary purpose.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 8:52 AM

I'm also amused at how Republicans, now the minority with their platforms shoved up their collective asses in the last election, and soon to be even further embarassed in 2008, are eschewing "anger" for calm collaboration. Where was that sentiment when the Republicans were in power? It was non-existent, that's where.

Anger is justified considering what the Bush administration and the Republican party has wrought. Iraq wasn't just a simple mistake, it was a catastophic decision. There isn't enough anger in the world to balance the harm that the Republicans have wrought to the U.S. and the world. So while your argument may be valid within a certain set of circumstances such as those wrought be petty differences, in the matter of American politics post-Bush, it's nothing less than ludicrous.

Posted by TomTom [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:04 AM

Jeffrey misses the entire point of the post. He is angry, proving its point again.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:10 AM

No, TomTom, the post makes my point. If you have taken over a company, fired half its employees, drained its bank account, run up its debt, and scared away all of its customers, and then say to everyone involved - hey, don't be angry at me - well, you deserve all the disdain that will surely be coming your way for making such a ridiculous comment.

Posted by syn [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:13 AM

Dear Captain

The tribe won't be angry with you if you would simply admit that Bush is just a puppet for master-mind Rove's devious plan to impose worldwide evil halioilchristerburtonMcCheney theocracy,

To bring peace to the tribe you must submit or die.

Posted by Jeanette [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:14 AM

You bring up a topic that has been bothering me for several weeks now. I just never had a word for it---tribalism.

We live in a country where our party can do no wrong and the other party can do no right. Instead of trying to work on the business of the country our politicians are too wrapped up in their "tribalism" to get together with the other side to try to work out differences for the good of the country.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:25 AM

Cap'n Ed wrote:

The anger Will describes creates another kind of problem. He notes that anger gives people an identity, but it goes farther than that. It creates a sense of shared identity based on anger, and also based on the object of that anger. It creates a sense of tribalism, where we join hands in anger towards a specific Other...

I've often noticed this. I am not at all a "happy" person ("I suffer, therefore I am"), but I've noticed that many friends and coworkers seem angry or upset much of the time. Usually, the "Other" is the boss, but it can be customers, other employees, some bureaucrat, telemarketers (sorry, Cap
n), etc. Conversations at lunch or around the water cooler tend to be about what's wrong, not what's right.

Perhaps the anger is a natural outgrowth of our national obsession with problem solving. This has often been discussed at the various management and leadership seminars and courses I've attended: people naturally examine situations to see what's WRONG, and seldom give any thought to what's right (remember this the next time you have a performance review... or give one to somebody else).

Need it be said that the media focuses almost exclusively on bad news?

Given the environment we're in - and that we all help to create and foster - is it any wonder that people are bitter, sour, frequently angry, and need help ranging from "bitch sessions" with friends to psychological counseling to antidepressants to illegal drugs?

But let's look on the bright side and not forget the dubious joys of schadenfreude. As we see from Jeffrey Carr's post, the libs in this country have been suffering in their own private BDS-inspired hell for the past several years. BWAH-HAH-HAH!

There... I feel better already.

Posted by CJ [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:35 AM

Published September 05, 2005


Posted by Captain Ed [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:38 AM


That's okay -- I wasn't in telemarketing. My call center didn't do sales but a type of customer support and live monitoring of products in the field.

Which was a good thing, because I hate telemarketers -- they make me SO ANGRY! ;-)

Posted by lurkyer9876 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:50 AM

This is my first time to post here. I'm disappointed when reading your position regarding Gonzales.

From what I have read so far, Gonzales followed the standard operating procedures. I did not see where Gonzales lied or showed ineptitude or incompetence in his job performance. In managing a very large group, Gonzales is not required to know everything that's going on under him.

I agree that we should not accept either in the office of the highest-ranking law enforcement officer of the United States, regardless of whether he is a Republican or Democrat. America existed before the Bush administration, and it will exist after it, and we had better insist on a level of competence and/or honesty that exceeds what we're getting at the moment -- or else we will live to regret it in later adminstrations.

But by the same token, we expect our Congress to treat our public officers with integrity and high morals. Congress' performance and treatment towards our public officers in the last twenty years have been deplorable to the point where some people, such as Libby, have been indicted and convicted for a missing crime.

Gonzales may not be smart but he may remain a high ranking law officer with integrity and high morals but he was grilled the treatment from Congress that he does not deserve to get. The harder and longer he was grilled by Congress, the more "confusion" came out.

We are making a serious mistake by throwing Gonzales under the bus, rather than focusing on the process to prevent show trials from happening.

You say:

"You don't like the policies of the Democrats? Vote against them; I do. But I'm not going to accept incompetent and deceptive leadership from a Cabinet official just because his resignation would please Democrats."

I don't like the policies of the Democrats. So I vote against them. While I expect competent and non-deceptive leadership from a Cabinet official, I expect the same from Congress treating our Cabinet Officials!! Gonzales' resignation means that Bush will never be able to nominate anyone just as good or better than Gonzales. The Democratic Congress will not let him.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:52 AM

Anger; A strong feeling of displeasure or hostility. A noun that denote's varying degrees of marked displeasure.

Rage, fury, ire, wrath, resentment, indignation; Rage and fury imply intense, explosive, often destructive emotion: smashed the glass in a fit of rage; directed his fury at the murderer.
Ire is a term for anger most frequently encountered in literature: "The best way to escape His ire/Is, not to seem too happy" Robert Browning.
Wrath applies especially to anger that seeks vengeance or punishment: saw the flood as a sign of the wrath of God. Resentment refers to indignant smoldering anger generated by a sense of grievance: deep resentment that led to a strike.
Indignation is righteous anger at something wrongful, unjust, or evil: "public indignation about takeovers causing people to lose their jobs" Allan Sloan.

In concept, I agree with CE absolutely. If we could rid ourselves and all who make-up the system of goverment of anger, it would then be possible to have civil debates while advancing the will of the people. A noble principle; a noble wish for our people and country.

One only needs to read the comment posted above by Jeffrey Carr, to see the effect that unresolved anger has on the human spirit. "There isn't enough anger in the world to balance the harm that the Republicans have wrought to the U.S. and the world."

These are not the words of an angry person; these are the words of a person ingulfed in rage & resentment; emotions that take over the spirit of the human and demand a steady dose of fuel in order to maintain the energy needed to sustain such hatred.

First things first: The world and the U.S. had no problems before Bush and the Republicans stole the power away from Democrats. Only Liberals and Democrats can rule the world. Republicans and all others are only good for doing the jobs that we don't want. Work, pay taxes, join the military, go to your church, and shut the f*** up; in return, we will allow you to call yourselves Americans.

Second: America is the "root evil" in the world!

Third: Liberalism is the answer; one world government.

My son plays HS Lacrosse. Like most boys, my son is a much better player when he is angered by an opponent or the attitudes of the opposing team. The term "playing angry" has it's merits. Then the game ends, and my son goes on with his day free of the anger that fueled his play. Then there is "unresolved anger" which left unchecked, turns into resentment and rage. Referencing star wars again, "these are dark side emotions" that will dominate the spirit and soul of a human, potentially leading to irreversible actions of evil.

Liberals "HATE" being out of power. This "current" anger attack started back in 1992, and has grown into a monster over the past 14 years. I see hatred as an evil emotion; I see pure raw hatred dominating the Democratic Party. I see clumsy & awkward behavior coming from Republicans; stumbling in their efforts to combat such a powerful & evil force. The success of Rush Limbaugh and those who have followed him has fueled this HATRED; Fox News & it's success with dominating cable news has fueled this HATRED; Conservative & right leaning bloggers & their successes have fueled this HATRED; the shrinking audience of the NYT, WAPO, LAT and so many others is fueling this HATRED.

Conservatives and right leaning people are a tolerant people. We go about our daily business often adding to life as it evolves around us, rather than take, take, take... We are a people that doesn't know how to fight hatred and evil behavior very well.Hell, I usually pray for these people. We are guided by values and principles that are worthy of fighting for, but yet we struggle with the methods of engagment with an opponent that is also our countrymen: an opponent that will use every weapon and tool to achieve victory and power while crushing our values and principles.

We had better wake up...

Posted by MikeDevxPatriot [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 10:04 AM

Ever since the 60's, the left has valued primal scream therapy as the only means of purging oneself of all the negative baggage of childhood and the evil Western societal programming that is such a drag, man.

I remember John Lennon's and Yoko Ono's comments about the hours and hours of screaming, ranting and raving that they engaged in. Apparently this mental enema always left them exhausted but feeling much better.

Hint to idiots: so does exercise.

Posted by OldDeadMeat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 10:23 AM

Sometimes reading/posting here is useful for me as a diversion from my anger. Though I dislike flame wars and insults, a really good argument with people who don't quite agree with me is sometimes refreshing.

For me, a really good argument is an exchange of ideas, appreciation of other people's ideas and at least willingness to consider that the other side might have a point. It can be hard to find that in the blogosphere.

In my life arguments can turn into long running inside jokes - our debate club in high school stretched an argument over Peanut Butter Twix v. Caramel Twix for the whole school year. It was FUN - led to some fine jokes and two beautiful pranks.

Unfortunately these days, too many assume that arguments require anger at the opposing side.

It's cliche, but having good outlets for anger really help.

The first outlet that I ever heard of was in James Clavell's TaiPan - the "shrieking tree" - where anyone who was thoroughly angry would go out to the tree and yell at the tree - which of course didn't yell back and didn't suffer for the experience.

I find yelling in the car is an acceptable substitute. The idea is that sometimes you need to express anger yet not hurt anyone else.

But in the political arena I worry that too many use politics as a focus for their anger. Moreover, it seems that anger and stereotyping seem to be tightly linked,

Bad news guys, liberals are not the only intolerant ones. Intolerance isn't stamped on your hand when you vote democrat. There are just as many intolerant conservatives as liberals.

There are also tolerant liberals and tolerant conservatives.

My mother is passionate Republican, and my dad is a classic Southern Democrat. Quite often they disagree, yet they love each other immensely.

Be angry and yet do not sin. Good advice, but it takes a lot of work to put in practice.

Or course, telemarketing is outside the bounds - were it up to me, I would name it the 8th deadly sin.

Posted by SwabJockey05 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 10:25 AM

Keemo, when you said: “Conservatives and right leaning people are a tolerant people.” You know you are going against “conventional wisdom”. Everyone “knows” conservatives are intolerant bigots, racists and homophobes. Just ask a liberal-socialist.

I’ve been married to the same DEMOCRAT (liberal-socialist) for over 20 years. She still has a Kerry/Edwards sticker on “her” car and a couple of Gore posters in the garage.

But I’m one of the “intolerant” conservatives who’s been called bigot, racist, homophobe etc on this blog? What I find curious is that many of my swabbie pals (called the same names as above…) are also married to women more liberal than themselves. Quite a few have conservative wives, but the majority of them have started their families with women that are MORE liberal than they are…does this mean we are as stoopid as Jon Kerry said we are? Are we just stoopid enough to join the military (as a racist/homophobe)…but smart enough to marry an enlightened “liberal”?

If we are so intolerant, how can we exist on a day-to-day relationship with a Kerry / Gore / Clinton supporter?

How about the other side of the coin? I have some male friends who are liberal (admittedly not that many are friends…but acquaintances with whom I regularly interact). NOT ONE of them has a wife that is more conservative than they are…to the man, they have wives about equal…or more liberal than they are…who is more tolerant?

Not exactly a “scientific poll” admittedly, but does anyone know of a liberal man who has a long-term loving relationship with a conservative woman? Who’s being intolerant, the liberal men…or the conservative women?

My contention is the “neo-liberal” world-view is based on hate. Especially distasteful to them is the concept of Liberty and Freedom. Most liberal hate is so controlling that it renders the hater incapable of tolerance.

How ‘bout it Keemo, any of your liberal pals in the construction industry have conservative spousal units?

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 10:26 AM

Keemo said:
"Conservatives and right leaning people are a tolerant people."

As long as you aren't gay, or advocate a woman's right to choose an abortion or not, or want to keep religion separate and apart from school curriculums or state and county courthouses. Many conservatives, particularly many Christian conservatives, are among the most hateful and bigoted people on earth.

Posted by lurkyer9876 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 10:34 AM

JeffreyCarr, I'm a Christian Conservative but don't hate the gays and advocate the woman's right to choose or believe in abortion, and now see the need for school curriculum to include religious topics, including the truth about Islam.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 10:44 AM

Well Swabbie,

Jeffrey proves your point perfectly....

How ‘bout it Keemo, any of your liberal pals in the construction industry have conservative spousal units?

Can't think of one swabbie....

Posted by eforhan [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 11:15 AM

Just a thought:

Symptoms of PTSD fall into three general categories:

1. Repeated "reliving" of the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity

* Recurrent distressing memories of the event
* Recurrent dreams of the event
* Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be recurring
* Bodily reactions to situations that remind them of the traumatic event

2. Avoidance

* Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
* Lack of interest in normal activities
* Feelings of detachment
* Sense of having no future
* Emotional "numbing", or feeling as though they don’t care about anything
* Reduced expression of moods
* Staying away from places, people, or objects that remind them of the event

3. Arousal

* Irritability or outbursts of anger
* Sleeping difficulties
* Difficulty concentrating
* Exaggerated response to things that startle them
* Hypervigilance

Other symptoms that may be associated with this disease include a sense of guilt about the event (including "survivor guilt"), and the following symptoms, which are typical of anxiety, stress, and tension:

* Paleness
* Feeling your heart beat in your chest, called palpitations
* Headache
* Fever
* Fainting
* Dizziness
* Agitation, or excitability

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 11:41 AM

I have a Liberal friend who's a victim of Bush Derangement Syndrome. She is also angry about EVERYthing, including the LAPD, attempts to enforce immigration reform, and has become vocally anti-Semitic.

The last time I saw her, I was making a comment and she interrupted me to go into a loud lunging spiel about Bush being the worst President EVER!!! And on and on and on.

After she finally sputtered into silence, I told her angrily that SHE is not only ignorant and uninformed but just plain rude. We then stomped off into our own corners. She sent me an apologetic e-mail the next day, apologizing for being rude in interrupting. Her reason for her repeated tirades is that the Democrats are now in power after having not had any for years, and for some reason, rather than becoming more thoughtful and deliberative, this power has made her (and them) MORE loud and obnoxious.

She is exactly the sort of tribal personality described above, and spouts all the latest talking points, but never has the slightest idea of any of the issues I raise about Hizbollah, Wahhabism, or Sunni/Shiite/Kurd activities.

I don't know if there's anything that can be done to reprogram these people. I personally have decided I need to wash my hands of this particular person in that she is, sincerely, deranged. I'm leaning more and more towards thinking that we need to institute "gatherings of eagles" all around the country to confront them nose to nose and toe to toe, so that they can get a sense that there *are* repercussions for their behavior.

Because thus far, what seems to be happening is that they feed off of and reinforce each other on-line, and then start to take that behavior into Real Life like my (ex-) friend does, who also likes to begin a lot of her claims with "Everybody knows..."

They were out of power and obnoxious, and now they're in power and worse -- and the obnoxiousness is running amok to the point of hurting the country and treason. I begin to sincerely believe that physical confrontation and spanking (and maybe a few deaths) may have to be the ultimate solution.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 12:14 PM

RE: Keemo (March 25, 2007 09:52 AM)

You touched on several points, the one most intriguing to me being the contemporary status of the media. I don't know if the operative word is hate so much as it is a sincere belligerence. ;) But you raise an important point in the ongoing coarseness and antagonism on public display.

Now, consider (as you have) for a moment what has been happening in the past few years with regard to traditional streams of media. The "old world" television monopoly of predominantly liberal memes has lost ground to other technology and voice (commercial radio/internet). FOXNews has interjected conservatism amidst its liberalism both in its studio and, by virtue of existing, into its competitors. The press, wildly liberal overall, is hemorrhaging readership at alarming rates. Free TV is losing viewership to more selective cable and internet streams.

This is all part of a paradigm shift where, politically, conservative POVs are getting mainstreamed at the expense of the monopoly that once was a liberal dominance. Now that MSM liberals are losing some voice, getting critiqued, and suffering economically, their proverbial ox is being gored and they aren't happy about it. Anecdotally, consider the NYT and the LATimes and their economic troubles. The world is falling down around them but the rest of America is doing fine. Which lede do you think gets published? Add to that the commercial appeal of conflict, screaming heads, and lively debate where the name of the game is to grab headlines/attract eyeballs to rise above the crowded field of media carriers and power brokers.

Contemporary media has set up an environment where "hate" is the operative mood. In a time where a conservative POV was not addressed, a contrarian position could not induce the antagonism we witness today. Everyone was on the same page by and large. Now, that format has been destroyed. Conflicting POVs are profitable in media. We consumers ensure it. But I would submit that it was conservatives finally getting a stage to make their positions more known that has induced the "hatred" of the Left (aka MSM media in some parts) as it loses its monopoly in the public arena. Now everyone gets to be belligerent in all sorts of ways without the checks the 4th Estate once imposed.

While we may not all like the tone, we should like the freedom. I know I do.

So, Keemo, I hope you don't mind that I took your point and ran with it... you fascist Rethuglican. :D

Posted by gaffo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 12:14 PM

why don't you just call it the Final Solution Nancy?

- oh ya and your workmate is the Anti-Semite


Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 12:32 PM

Very well stated AD; as usual.....

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 1:07 PM

No, you're not angry, Nancy. You just advocate physical violence and reprogramming against people who disagree with you.

I'll bet you're a Christian, too.

Posted by Geoff [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 1:43 PM

I'm disturbed at the willingness of some folks to give a free pass to public derangement by suggesting that it's some sort of adaptive mechanism - isn't that what George Will said, a coping mechanism?

On the contrary, psychological defense mechanisms are hypothesized to moderate base impulses. The defense mechanisms are what make civilization possible, precisely by moderating unrestrained fury, by dissipating pure impulse with an admixture of reason.

Of course Freud had the defense mechanism of displacement, where you're enraged by your boss, but you go home and kick the dog. But here we're talking about the exact opposite: the deranged leftist is frustrated over the year 2000 election, and rather than moderate his rage, he escalates it by openly admitting, or at least insinuating that the president ought to be annihilated. And don't kid yourselves, members of the democrat party have done precisely that.

Let's not give these animals the cover of an adaptive motive, even an unconscious one. This is a whole new level of derangement. Call it what it is: a stunning absence of human virtue; a moral wrong.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 2:17 PM

Geoff wrote:
"Call it what it is: a stunning absence of human virtue; a moral wrong."

Oh, the self-righteousness of the Right, now that they've been given the boot by the American electorate. Let me ask you, Geoff, and the rest of you who suffer under the delusion that you're being "moderate" in your extremist political and moral views, when is anger justified? Is it EVER justified? Is there ever a time for moral outrage? Was Jesus justified in his anger against the moneychangers in the temple?

If the pain incurred by the soldiers and their families who've been wounded and killed in Iraq isn't sufficient reason to be morally outraged at the Bush Administration, what would qualify? If the invasion and wholesale destruction of an entire nation isn't cause to be angry, what would be? If providing a perfect excuse for Al-Qa'ida to use our invasion of Iraq as a recruiting incentive to multiply their membership by the thousands, what in the world would justify outrage to you?

Wait, I know. Gay marriage! Now THAT's something to be angry about! (snark)

Posted by SoldiersMom [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 2:18 PM

Nancy, I agree. Perhaps Eagles need to begin Gathering more often.

Jeffrey, You're going on my prayer list today. Keemo, thanks for the reminder that this is the best tool to counter hatred.

CE, Thanks for making me do some soul searching.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 2:25 PM

Jeffrey Carr said:

As long as you don't advocate sticking the rod in the disease-causing hole, don't advocate child slavery, don't suppress religious expression...

We sound pretty good, actually. Now, what does the other side sound like?

Posted by OldDeadMeat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 2:29 PM

Just read this interesting post on comment boards - recommend it to all.

Jeffrey - I am sorry that so many "Christians" have left such a bad impression on you.

I am a Christian - though not an impressive one.

The impressive ones I have known have taken their families and settled in the midst of hurting people - like in Bosnia while that war was still going on (this was with a new wife and two little kids) - to start a church and minister to little kids. All I did for him was give him a trench coat that I can't use in South Texas.

An impressive one on NPR the other day talked about starting and living in a shelter and giving a man so desperate to feed his family he was about to rob a gas station a place for he and his family to stay.

Impressive Christians in this land goto prisons every day, go to all kinds of sick wards (including AIDS) and give what they have to help the dying and the guilty.

There are a whole lot of Christians that have helped Katrina victims, doing what FEMA hasn't done.

Impressive Christians go everywhere in Africa - quite often before U.N. or other gov't help gets there - to provide medical aid, help starting farms, teach basic literacy. Some of them even get murdered, but still they go.

Yes, they do also talk about Christ, because from their perspective, Christ taught them to love strangers.

Don't take what you read and see for the whole picture. As docjim said, the media thrives on bad news - that's what sells.

Anger does have its place, to motivate us to change what is wrong, not to hate the source of the anger.

Hate however, is terribly tempting. Hope we all remember to resist it.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 2:46 PM

Now Unclesmrgol, it's not nice to make up quotes and attribute them to other people (i.e., me). I'm a little surprised that Captain Ed allows that sort of behavior in his comments boards. You'd be banned from most for doing that.

OldDeadMeat: There are many good Christians out there. I count my parents in that category. It's when so-called Christians espouse hate towards certain groups that I feel compelled to point out their hypocrisy.

SoldiersMom: If you agree with Nancy's solution of violence against those whom she disagrees with, then you're the one who needs the intervention of prayer, not me.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 3:18 PM

RE: Jeffrey Carr (March 25, 2007 02:17 PM)
If the pain incurred by the soldiers and their families who've been wounded and killed in Iraq isn't sufficient reason to be morally outraged at the Bush Administration, what would qualify?

Oh, I dunno. How about those who would send (or vote to send) troops into harm's way and then a) deny they really meant to cast such a vote, or b) claim that they were misled while posturing now about their wisdom on such matters despite proven dereliction of responsibility and competence, or c) undermine that military at every opportunity to give the President "what for", or d) rewrite history about pushing the President to act on Iraq when politically expedient and abandoning him when it isn't, or e) manifestly lie about the intent of legislation to "help" our cause in Iraq, or f) politick on the idea that they want a change in tone yet sprint to escalate it in vitriolic manner, or...

I could go on but I think you get my point. Yes, moral outrage is justifiable, and, since we're tossing around Jesus' perceived outrage, I figure He would be pretty upset with the likes of Saddam wood-chipping peasants and those standing idly by, the ghastly terrorists who would torture, maim, and kill as policy innocents in the bosom of Christiandom, the facilitators who furthered Saddam for their cut of oil, and the poseurs of humanitarian profile who would abandon the weak for their own political comfort. Conversely, I figure He would look fondly upon those who would try to protect the innocent even if mistakes are made in the effort. Cheek turning goes only so far.

And you preach on self-righteousness when you opened with Republican platforms "shoved up their collective asses." Sheesh. Exhibit A of unprovoked anger. Get a grip, man. Don't let your dislike of Christians, whatever the flavor, poison your life. Not all of them are bigoted, homophobic, racist troglodytes as you think. Neither be deluded into thinking that America is responsible for the "wholesale destruction of an entire nation" or that the "American electorate" votes in lockstep with you. Saddam, Iran, and terrorists had/have some say in the rate at which we can rebuild the infrastructure abandoned/destroyed under previous oppression. Furthermore, the electorate wants Iraq to survive. In fact I bet Jesus would too.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 3:19 PM


A simple tour of your blog tells much about your ideology; much about your person. Seasoned veterans is what you have here at CQ Jeffrey. How you fit in here, or if you fit in here will be determined by your behavior and your contribution. So far, I'd say you're off to a very poor start. Men/Woman from all walks of life comment here. I have found this comment board to be very stimulating, as well as very informative. Most come here to engage in intellectually honest debate; some come here to throw the topics off subject; some come here to be obnoxious and spiteful. Your motive will be easily read soon enough.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 3:38 PM

I'm a little surprised that Captain Ed allows that sort of behavior in his comments boards. You'd be banned from most for doing that.

Odd how Carr can see "final solution" in other comments, but can't keep himself from spouting his own version of "final solution" less than 10 minutes later.

Or not odd, actually. Predictable, in that Liberals are the ones most hung up on not allowing other people to say stuff they don't agree with.

Personally, I think it's because they're stupider as a bunch and find it so hard to refute arguments, so they fall back on insisting on PC language. Mr. Carr being an excellent example of both limitations.

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 3:46 PM

George Will doesn't address why we're supposedly angrier now than in the past. "Tribalism" doesn't answer that for me. Why the tribalism?

Some suggestions.

I say basic niceness is being gradually eroded away and that has the effect of stifling discussion. In a forum like this one insults always end a discussion. In order to have a respectful debate you have to trust that the other person will listen while you talk rather than nuking the debate with a nasty insult. I was actually rooting for Air Americas success because for that station to really reach a cross section of America would require Randi Rhodes and her friends to dial down the anger knob, think, listen a little, and discuss rather than vent. On the right, Anne Coulter faces the same challenge to expand her audience.

The news media is partly to blame for the lack of civil discussion. Drama is easy to come by and it draws viewers. The essence of drama is conflict and what's easier than finding two political pundits who will yell at each other on a tv news show.

Chronically angry people tend to see big political issues in an emotional context. I believe that's a time-saving technique - a cheap, quick way to try to understand any conflict is to guess at the motives of each side and form an opinion based on that. Bush has oil contacts + Bush wants war = war for oil. The problem with that simplified thinking is it doesn't lend itself to lengthy debate. The people making these kinds of quick assessments tend to get frustrated in a debate because they're arguing emotion and motives while their opponent, even if he's wrong, is often arguing on a different analytical level. That leads to frustration. Frustration leads to more anger.

Disagree with someone's emotion-based argument and you have disagreed with that person's feelings. If someone tells you they're really feeling low because they just lost a relative imagine the reaction you would get if you said "nah, you shouldn't feel that way." In a debate when you disagree with my emotion-based opinion you have dismissed my feelings. If you don't care about my feelings then I can't trust your motives. And assessing bad motives is how I screen the good from the bad so now I can surmise that your policies are bad. This is why Howard Dean can say "Republicans are evil."

I never thought much of Lucas' jedi philosophy. If the deathstar is about to vaporize a planet and you can't feel a little miffed about that then you're just another droid speaking the binary language of moisture vaporators. I prefer the Atticus Finch philosophy - don't swear unless provoked - Gregory Peck would have made a great jedi knight. Spock was half human - he was capable of anger, don't believe the rumors.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 3:58 PM

AnonDrivel: Why do you post behind annonymity? Why not take responsibility for what you write by signing your name to it? As to the content of your post, I agree with your addendums. I blame the Democrats for this ill-begotten war as much as I blame the Republicans. Both exhibited a shameful lack of oversight and courage. I opposed it as lunacy from day 1. The only target worth going after then and now was Al-Qa'ida. Period.

Keemo: Glad you read my blog. Feel free to comment there if you find something you disagree with.

Nancy: "final solution" wasn't my quote, just like Unclesmrgol didn't quote me accurately either. I not only stand by what I write, but I put my real name behind it. The only thing I expect is that I be quoted accurately. Making up obscene quotes and then attributing them to me is what a common internet troll does. And trolls tend to get banned. In the future, if you're going to quote me, at least do it accurately. Surely you can manage that much intellectual effort.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 4:00 PM

Jeffrey Carr,

Obviously, sarcasm escapes you completely. I merely took the salient points of one of your previous posts, put them into my own words, and reposted. Anyone who scrolls this chain will figure it out. If the quote (or "quote") comes from off site (say, your blog), I will link so everyone can see what was really said. However, since you take umbrage at my methods, I will always use the third person when referring to such paraphrasing, such as: Jeffrey Carr says that unclesmrgol falsely attributed certain words to Jeffrey, and he wants Captain Ed to ban him because such behavior is unseemly of civilized people and Captain Ed should fall into line with what Jeffrey would do on his own blog.

Well, Jeffrey, I'm still here, as are you.

I did get the gist correctly as to the post I "badly" quoted, didn't I? If I didn't, why don't you enlighten me as to where I went wrong.

As for what the Captain allows, it seems to be debate and conversation about ideas; he appears to draw the line at personal attack. That leaves a pretty liberal playing field, don't you think? If I've gotten that wrong, the Captain himself will make it clear in due time.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 4:12 PM

Unclesmrgol: Here's what I wrote:
"As long as you aren't gay, or advocate a woman's right to choose an abortion or not, or want to keep religion separate and apart from school curriculums or state and county courthouses."

Here's what you said I wrote:
"As long as you don't advocate sticking the rod in the disease-causing hole, don't advocate child slavery, don't suppress religious expression..."

Now since most people won't read every comment to see what was actually said, they'll assume that you were accurately quoting me, and since I post under my real name, unlike you, what you claim I write has real implications for me. Therefore, I'm asking you to not engage in further troll-like behavior and simply stick to debating the issue point by point. I don't think that's asking too much of anyone, do you?

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 4:16 PM

Relax. People read here.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 4:47 PM

RE: Jeffrey Carr (March 25, 2007 03:58 PM)
AnonDrivel: Why do you post behind annonymity? Why not take responsibility for what you write by signing your name to it?

It's my prerogative, I have signed my "name" to it, and I take full responsibility for my comments.

Nevertheless, what does that have to do with anything? If I signed it "John Smith", would that lend more credence to my position? Would you prefer that? Do I need to have a blog with a 3rd-party validated profile page to satisfy some internet code of conduct? How about just addressing the point(s) rather than divert? Is it too offensive and unworthy of consideration?

Back to tone/motive/morality: At least I can appreciate your position that you thought the war was wrong from the get-go and that Saddam's brutality and intransigence were acceptable to you - or at least acceptable enough not to intervene at that point in time. You were in quite a small domestic minority then though much of Europe and the rest of the world were disinterested in diminishing the suffering of others if it meant more than rhetoric. I resolutely disagree with it both ethically and politically, but it is a concrete position and more honest than the double-talkers.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 4:50 PM

Get a grip Keemo, dems are angry, gop isn't, bullcrap, I go here and I go to Daily Kos, the commenters here are twice as angry as those "liberals" on Kos. Please don't be so naive. I listen to Rush and Hannity because there the only talk radio I can pickup. They are angry ALL the time! CE, who I think is fair and balanced is angry very few times, but his commenters, guys like you and Lew, and nodonkey have hate raging from them. Please don't try pulling the wool over this subject, its laughable.

Posted by trapeze [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 5:26 PM

Anger is an emotion that is sometimes useful. Hate is also an emotion but one that is never useful.

Jeffrey Carr, as evidenced by his posts, is a Christian-hating bigot and a troll to boot. He paints Christians with a broad brush...a primary tool of the bigot. Hatred governs his feelings toward anyone who has a point of view that differs with his own. He needs to come to terms with this or it will destroy him.

As noted above, Christians will be praying for him. In the meantime, stop feeding this troll.

Posted by Count to 10 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 5:59 PM

To the best that I can see, anger and hate seem to drive all of the Democrat's positions now a days. Their platform is just a list of all things the Republicans are against, and everything they attack is just because Republicans suport it. As far as I can tell, anyway. I have no loyalty to the Republican party, but they have been on my side of most arguments recently.

As far as Star Wars goes, it really is a pity that Lucas fell in with the BDS croud when he was writing ep. 1-3. He had a good, positive and inspiring thing going and he ruined it by going negative and defeatist. On the other hand, maybe he only decided to make the prequils, which told a depressing story, because of it. I wonder how the timing works...

Posted by SoldiersMom [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 6:25 PM

CD, I don't want to put words in Keemo's mouth so I'll say it, Yes, Republicans are angry, but liberals are ferociously rageful as exhibited by this video. I still haven't heard any public condemnation of this outrage by any official anti-war groups, nor, most importantly, from ANY elected Democrat. Has Kos, DU, or Huffington, condemned this burning of our soldiers?

Jeffrey, I coming out here. I don't have a blog; I'm not a persuasive or gifted writer. I'm a capitalist though and I'm not afraid of confrontation.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 6:53 PM


Only_one_cannoli says in one line what would have taken me a paragraph. Thanks, cannoli.

In response to your complaint about my pseudonym and your belief that it lets me evade putting myself on the line, I offer the following tidbits for everyone's education here:

1) You do not have a profile under; I do. Clicking on your jeffcarr profile entry gets a 404 Not Found error. I can guarantee you won't get a 404 if you click mine.
2) Your blog's URL,, has the owner's identity protected by domainsbyproxy, thus completely hiding your identity; my blog's URL,, is unprotected and you can view my identity information at will.
3) Your blog is hosted by a third party; mine is self-hosted from a server I can actually see with mine own eyes. Hence, the IP address of my server points right to me; yours does not.

As a result of all of the above, any reasonable person would infer that I am being quite open about who I am and whence I come, while you are conversely raising firewall after firewall to prevent that same determination

unclesmrgol is a pseudonym; I use no other pseudonyms when posting, no matter what the arena; you can google "unclesmrgol" and easily see my range of interests and the areas in which I claim expertise. I have chosen my pseudonym carefully to allow just that kind of search.

Now with regard to "Jeffrey Carr", we really can't be sure, because a google of that name brings up Jeffrey Carr the religious professor, Jeffrey Carr the curtain manufacturer, Jeffrey Carr the M.D., Jeffrey Carr the motivational speaker, Jeffrey Carr the artist.... Here we have a real name (not backed by any other real facts) as a means of obfuscation; so whatever real implications use of what you claim is your name might have, you've certainly done a good job of shielding yourself from it.

You have chosen three topics for debate, outlined your position, and I have already made my initial response and position clear in my reply. If that was a troll, then your initial post was a troll, too. Care to continue? Pick one of your topics, wait until the Captain opens the appropriate forum, and then we'll have at it. Or, if you desire a really small audience, we can do the same at either your blog or mine.

Come to think of it -- lets not do it at your blog, because I'd hate to be banned after my first post.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 6:56 PM

Yes, I was in a tiny minority in 2003, at least here in this country, but that was never an issue. What's right is right, even when only a few people accept it. As far as Saddam's reign was concerned, my view was that it there were plenty of non-military solutions available to the world then our military intervention. Further, the standard could not have been that we as a country had a moral obligation to de-throne non-democratic dictatorships. If that were true, why not attack North Korea? It's regime was far more onerous and dangerous. Wny not invade Liberia? or Sudan? Far more innocent people were killed there than in Iraq. So it was patently obvious that we were invading Iraq for other reasons then the ones we were given, or for the ones that were invented after the alledged existence of WMDs proved false.

Let me ask you a different question, AD. What do you think about the lack of sacrifice and involvement by the American people during this war? During WWII, the general populace suffered under gas and power restrictions. We converted automobile plants to producing war-fighting vehicles. Everyone shared the cost and pain of fighting that war. Not so today. If we nationalized General Motors, suspended their truck and car production lines to build the proper armored vehicles needed by our troops in Iraq, we wouldn't be losing so many to IEDs in un-protected Humvees. We wouldn't have so many troops without adequate body armor. Where's the sacrifices made on our end?

Posted by SoldiersMom [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 7:11 PM

Just one more comment, I have to get this off my chest, -- Yes, Republicans are angry. Anti-war protestors are burning effigies of US Soldiers and defecating on the flag. You can argue that this is a fringe element of that movement, but if that's the case, where's the outrage? Where were those at the rally booing this vulgar behaviour. Where's ANY condemnation from the left?

Let's turn it around here. What do you think the response would be if Republicans burned effigies of say John Kennedy or Martin Luther King?

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 7:37 PM


You are on the right side of this argument, as usual. One must wonder, what happened to this countries pride? It wasn't that long ago ( a few generations) where a person burning an American flag would fear for his/her life if caught doing so. Now this action is called "freedom of speech". Burning the effigy of an American Soldier, and these people aren't beaten to a pulp; no, this is now considered "freedom of speech". Pissing on an effigy of an American Soldier, and these people can still walk; this is now considered "freedom of speech".

These acts are being carried out by Liberals, Democrats, and terrorists overseas. Gee, that formula just keeps popping up; Liberals, Democrats, & Terrorists..... These three groups keep coming up in the same conversation on a wide variety of topics. Read this link SoldiersMom.

Republicans fight to create legislation that protects civilians from the bad guys; Democrats create legislation that protects the bad guys... Republicans stumble and sputter, but the motive is usually geared towards the people; Democrats engage in the personal assassination of anybody that dares get in the way of their propaganda driven motives (socialism), using associations such as CAIR & the ACLU to seek & destroy. Then they wonder why we are mad (angry as CD states).......

Liberals, Democrats, & Terrorists.....

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 8:02 PM

What do you think about the lack of sacrifice and involvement by the American people during this war? During WWII, the general populace suffered under gas and power restrictions. We converted automobile plants to producing war-fighting vehicles. Everyone shared the cost and pain of fighting that war. Not so today. If we nationalized General Motors, suspended their truck and car production lines to build the proper armored vehicles needed by our troops in Iraq, we wouldn't be losing so many to IEDs in un-protected Humvees. We wouldn't have so many troops without adequate body armor. Where's the sacrifices made on our end?

Good point Jeffrey! We just had this discussion over dinner Friday night. The difference between then and now is (in my view) that politics stopped at the shoreline back in those days. America is a different country now; the anti-war crowd along with the Liberal media & Hollywood have squashed the unity that Amerians felt in the days following 9/11. The "retreat & defeat" America suffered in Vietnam stings this country to this day. The anti-war crowd was embolden with power following their victory and our surrender in Vietnam. Much the same way as Democrats in Congress have embolden our enemy with their actions, the anti-war crowd relishes their victory to this day.

I would love to see our country unite behind our military; I would support this misson in every way I could, as would my family members across this great nation.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 8:51 PM

Soldiersmom: Whatever idiot burned a soldier in effigy deserves whatever he gets. I don't see any evidence of that happening, but if it did, I'm sure it was an isolated case done by a twisted mind. If you have evidence that such behavior is widespread among the anti-war movement, post it. You'll forgive me if I find it highly suspect.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:17 PM


Evan Sayet, ex-Liberal, presents a fascinating thesis via a YouTube Heritage Foundation talk (h/t Ace of Spades) on modern liberalism. Very insightful point of view.

Jeffrey Carr,

Good to see that a-n-o-n-y-m-i-t-y aren't the scarlet letters for "discredited" that you implied previously.

What's right is right, even when only a few people accept it.

On the principle that a minority position can be honorable, I agree; however, on this particular point of history, the majority position was the right one.

To the bigger point on OIF, and I'll keep it intentionally brief because this has been rehashed, literally, thousands of times, there were many reasons for our intervention, not the least of which was ending one brutal tyranny of many. Of course, the disingenuous will decry that it was only WMD which instigated our action when that is patently false. We prioritize our limited resources and pick our battles. Some think if you can't do it all, you shouldn't do anything. Well, that's a naivete that smacks of Utopian impossibilities.

Now that you've brought it up, do/did you support waging war with NK, Serbia/Croatia, Liberia, Sudan, Somalia, etc. under our current geopolitical status? If so, under what auspices? If not, why not? Actually, that's too long of a question to elaborate. More simply, which intervention would you support? In my personal decision tree of validating American action, my hierarchy proceeds from this calculus:

ASI ~ American self-interest
NSI ~ No American self-interest
HC ~ humanitarian concerns

( ASI + HC ) > ( ASI || HC ) >> NAI

As you can see, Iraq fits squarely as a justifiable action and the administration presented it as such long before OIF. My judgment on which wars should be fought and in what order are predicated as I described. Even those considerations need be tempered by the cost/benefit ratio of what can be or cannot be accomplished given global restraints by foreign governments and our own domestic milieu. RE Iraq, Bush was right in his early conclusion, he was right to continue when the meta-narrative by the Left was changed, and he is right to continue today regardless of what was done elsewhere around the globe.

[major snippage] ...Where's the sacrifices made on our end?

Different time, different requirements. We have a manufacturing capacity and JIT system that optimizes production. We have technology that is a force multiplier for bodies on the ground. Even you must acknowledge that it isn't the lack of hardware or arms that has most harmed our field warriors. It's the overly discriminate use of them and the hand-tying ROE that does that. Rather than obliterate towns full of "freedom fighters," the coalition carefully winnows out reds from friendlies at great risk and sacrifice. Only now with Petraeus' new rules has the worm turned.

WRT humvees, there is no vehicle that can survive an IED of large enough size. Abrams can now be penetrated with the Iranian imports. New kits are installed as the battleground situation evolves, but a humvee has limits no matter how quickly a redesign is employed... and the military is employing them despite the odd planted question or two courtesy a dishonest press.

On the totality of sacrifice, there are levels across the board. Some do "nothing". It was thus in WWII. Some do something, whether it be moral support via word, byte, or parchment or economic via donations, fund raisers, or taxes. Still others do everything - giving life and limb in a just war for a just cause in the face of superficial "support" by opportunistic legislators and an elitist commentariat looking to make their own buck undermining a President at war. And worst of all, we conclude with hardcore antagonists who prefer to see the U.S. humbled for our "hegemony" and don't care how many Americans die for their idiocy. Frankly, if we could purge from our midst the last category and the latter group from the previous category, the bulk of the country could sit on its hands and the war would turn into a cakewalk. Current sacrifice would be enough.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:20 PM

Unclesmrgol: Doing a WhoIS on your URL doesn't reveal anything except the name of your administrative contact. I have no way of knowing if that's you or someone else. Anyone can click on my About link at and see my picture and the name of my employer.

Regarding issues for debate, I'm happy to oblige, as I've already demonstrated here repeatedly. Are you capable of quoting me correctly, because that's kind of important when answering your opponent's position. As to topic, whatever you like. I haven't seen you answer any of the ones that I've raised. I've only seen you mis-quote me.

Regarding where this might occur, I really don't care. I post here, at Townhall (Hugh Hewitt and Dean Barnett) and at my own blog. As long as you know how to conduct yourself in a debate (meaning sticking to the issue and refraining from ad hominem), you needn't fear banning by me at my own blog..

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:21 PM

Thanks AD; I will check that out...

Here you go Jeffrey.... Follow the links within the link.

This group was in Portland. Other cities hosted more of the same...

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:35 PM

AnonDrivel: There is an armored vehicle built to withstand IEDs and other mortar-based blasts. And, predictably enough, it's in short supply for lack of money! Lack of money when we've spent over 500 billion dollars on this war!

Here's the link:

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:46 PM

Keemo: Thanks for the link. Anyone who engages in that kind of obscenity deserves what he or she gets. It's inexcusable. It's also not even remotely representative of the majority of the anti-war movement.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 9:53 PM


I just listened (watched) the first 20 minutes; I have never heard Liberalism nailed to a tee, as good as this former Liberal nails it. This speech needs to be spread around this country immediately...

Thanks again for the link. I will finish hearing this speech following our Sunday night dinner (family time)...

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 10:12 PM

Sorry, I originally missed the first half of your post regarding when to become militarily involved in other countries. My answer is - when we have been attacked by that country, or when we are in imminent danger of an attack, and act pre-emptorily. In all other cases of humanitarian action or genocide, we collaborate our actions with the U.N. or regional bodies like NATO. Military intervention in all cases should be an act of last resort, when all else has failed.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 10:54 PM

Coordinating with the UN is certainly a good thing.

Consider Rwanda -- we coordinated our inaction expertly with that of the UN.

Or consider Bosnia -- the UN was certainly at the forefront of activity in that area.

Or even Darfur -- look at how the UN is helping the civilians in that beknighted region.

With regard to Iraq, we probably should have waited until the France's Total corporation got all their oil out, or until the Germans finished using the Oil for Food proceeds to finish buiding Saddam's Palaces. Or maybe until Blix finished off the last of his reports indicating that the Iraqis are not forthcoming. Or maybe until the Iraqis actually managed to take delivery of yellowcake (instead of just asking but being turned away like Wilson indicates occurred in Niger).

Military intervention should be of last resort -- as it was here. But it should be a resort whenever it is in our national interest to use it. If we had waited to use force during the onset of the Civil War as long as we waited to finish up Iraq, the CSA would have long since been recognized by England and France. Bush hails from the Party of Lincoln, and, like his predecessor, knew the right time to use our nation's military power. And with the Iraqi's own actions, we don't have to worry about the Democrats making nice with Saddam and setting him back on his throne.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 11:04 PM

RE: Jeffrey Carr (March 25, 2007 09:35 PM)

If after appropriate field and live-fire testing the MRAP is a suitable substitute for current assets, then I hope we'll implement them ASAP. Hopefully, after the next reincarnation of the light armored utility vehicle is employed, the terrorists will not have redesigned its explosive charge to direct energy/mass at a different angle to exploit the flaws in the redesigned hull. Such is the nature of defense and counter defense - an unending race.

This still doesn't address the issue that no matter how well designed a hull of land-moving steel, a relatively cheap explosive device can be more rapidly and efficiently employed. Funding, designing, testing, assembling, shipping, instructing, and optimizing the use of such an asset will always take more time than designing an IED. There is a practical limit to what can be done with a particular war tool. If by the time the new and improved are field worthy they are rendered obsolete, then it's a cost prohibitive cycle whereby an expedited process, especially at a super-premium price, is not a viable option. The limited resources should be placed elsewhere.

I hope this means that you will support the MRAP if/when it is deployed. Otherwise, why complain about its absence, whatever the rationale, if the object is not to actually lobby for the troops protection but to criticize logistics and suggest gross mismanagement or incompetence by those rear echelon managers who must work within the restraints/laws/politics imposed by bureaucrats of varying motivation.

Posted by SoldiersMom [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 11:08 PM

Jeffrey, Here's a YouTube Video of the burning. It makes me sick.

If you don't believe me, here's a link from the Portland Tribune. It's titled "Rudeness Mars Peace Message." Be sure to read the comments underneath the article. A commentor wrote and I couldn't agree more "If burning our soldiers in effigy and defecating on the American flag is "rudeness", what exactly is vulgar and disgusting?

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 11:08 PM

With regard to Iraq, we should have waited until Iraq actually did something to warrant an invasion, but worse than that, we should have remained focused on the war on terror and continued pursuing Al Qa'ida and the Taliban who support them. Instead, Bush abandoned the fight against Al-Qa'ida in favor of one against the one person that he and Dick Cheney have wanted since his father was president - Saddam Hussein. So where do we find ourselves now? Al Qa'ida is stronger than ever, and they've drained us of resources, money, and lives in Iraq, and continue to do so. And that's what the Right call a victory? You really need a new dictionary.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 1:29 AM

AD wrote:
"I hope this means that you will support the MRAP if/when it is deployed. Otherwise, why complain about its absence, whatever the rationale, if the object is not to actually lobby for the troops protection but to criticize logistics and suggest gross mismanagement or incompetence by those rear echelon managers who must work within the restraints/laws/politics imposed by bureaucrats of varying motivation."

I always support the right tool for the job at hand. Even moreso when your life depends on it. At the same time, I endorse multiple investigations into the gross mismanagement of this war. That, to me, is what supporting the troops should mean.

Posted by The Yell [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 2:10 AM

For most of our history, a politician could go to Congress and be either a preacher calling down hellfire, or a Machine cog solidly and quietly following the groove. Today, on both sides of the aisle, we have the markerter Congressman.

The marketer pol hedges his bets. He's all the time on the lookout for wasted effort. He has no use for the fanatic who wants to win all over the map. The marketer pol is so necessary because he knows when and where to give up.

The marketer pol also knows better than to waste time and money on advocacy. There are a ton of private clubs and nonprofits doing that for free. Why duplicate what Sierra Club or the NRA pays for anyway? The marketer pol has no use for the savvy charismatic go-getter who could sell ice to Eskimos. That kind of personal quality can't be a factor in a national election Plan, unless you bury it in a ratio of defeat. The real value of the marketer pol is his pragmatic realism--he knows what districts just won't buy the platform, so he paints the party label on whoever can win with the least support.

The marketer pol wants nothing to do with drafting any legislative agenda. He will avoid offering any firm policy stand if at all possible. The value of a marketer pol is catchy phrases that perpetuate the very real split among the public, without committing to anything. "Support the troops" and "culture of corruption" are brilliant examples.

The marketer pol is hurt that nobody appreciates all the work he does for America, keeping an even keel and avoiding tribal divisions. Why can't people appreciate that it's impossible to know whether more moderates or hardliners make it through November? so how can he promise anything about the kind of laws they'll pass if they win? some people pretend that can be ironed out ahead of time by selecting advocates with the salesmanship to win even the tough districts, but that's a fairy tale like George Washington and the cherry tree. Everybody at the School of Marketing said working smarter not harder gets ahead.

Instead there's this wave of anger at the marketer pol. Just because most of Congress wears the party ribbon this year doesn't mean everybody's pet project from the campaign is going to become law! why can't people understand? they should talk less and trust more. everybody on the cocktail circuit feels the burn--THEM and US. it's getting to where you can't go to your office without getting yelled at for betraying your constituents. Good government is all about not caring too much about where you end up, so you can compromise more. Why can't they see that? It's one for the anthropologists.

Posted by John in Nashville [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 3:07 AM

Will's column, as well as the post above, omit one contributing factor to the surfeit of anger--the fact that anger is highly marketable via AM radio. Folks like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael "Savage" Weiner have made good money peddling this schtick (in one of the few media whose audience need not be able to read).

Posted by Kristian H [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 4:30 AM

I think the exact opposite of Gary Cooper in 'High Noon' was Clint Eastwood in 'Unforgiven'.

Posted by Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 12:19 PM


It's true that anger can help motivate you to play harder. But anger is a dangerous tool.
Too much anger and while you play hard, you also play stupid.

Posted by Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 12:33 PM

One thing you can count of liberals doing, is displaying their hypocrisy. Openly and often.

Jeffery proudly declares that being in the minority in 2003 is not a problem, but one must sometimes do what is right regardless of what the majority thinks.

Then he turns around and screams that because Republicans lost in 2006, this proves that they MUST accept the (in his opinion) will of the majority.

Posted by Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 12:44 PM

John demonstrates the other reliable characteristic of the liberal.

They are convinced to their core, that everyone who isn't a liberal, is stupid.

Jeffery, Saddam was giving aid and shelter to terrorists. The only people who actually believe the garbage that Iraq had no connection to terrorism, are those, such as yourself, who's worldview is dependant on believing that the US is always wrong.

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 1:57 PM

I was just thinking of the game "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" (any actor/actress can be linked to Kevin Bacon in six movie titles).

Seems like CQ commenters have their own game - "six degrees of the Iraq War Debate". ;-/

Took us all of 2 posts this time to hear how the original topic doesn't apply because it's the wrong topic and Bush is evil.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 3:08 PM


There is absolutely no proven connection between Iraq and Al-Qa'ida before we invaded. al Zarkawi wasn't a member of Al-Qa'ida until after our invasion, and the alledged meeting of Mohammad Atta with an Iraqi agent in the Czech Republic has been debunked by the Czech government as a case of mistaken identity. If you have proof to the contrary, please post it.

If you'd like to familiarize yourself with some facts regarding the latest intelligence about Al-Qa'ida, read Bruce Reidel's policy speech before the Brookings Institution in January of this year. I have a condensed version of it at my blog in the February archives. If you don't know who Reidel is, he's a retired senior analyst with the CIA, and an acknowledged expert in Middle East affairs.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 3:45 PM

RE: Jeffrey Carr (March 26, 2007 03:08 PM)

I had left this thread alone because your previous posts on Iraq have been debated endlessly and it's just not worth the effort. We live in alternate universes and no matter I present, you'll not accept it. The reverse is likely true. However, I just have to continue off the beaten "anger" path back to this well-worn one (sorry, Only_One_Cannoli):

There is absolutely no proven connection between Iraq and Al-Qa'ida before we invaded.

Iraq and Al-Qaeda are part of a bigger picture. Terrorism of whatever stripe is the target, and Saddam had links to terrorists whether the named splinter is Al-Qaeda proper, Al-Aqsa, Hamas, Hezbolla, Terrorist-du-juor, etc. They all encompass the same pathology despite their own, self-defined nuance. Saddam was interested in any tool that would obstruct our imposition of sanctions and war treaty upon his regime. Proxies were one such tool. But let's push the envelope here so that we turn lemons (as you might call it) into lemonade.

Now that we know Al-Qaeda has been and remains in Iraq, what do you propose now? Are you of the Democrat position of redeploying to Okinawa no matter the consequence of such foolishness? Do you leave out of spite because Bush "lied" about original intent and justification - that he did things the wrong way? Since the goal, and one you find as the sine qua non of ME action, is to go after those who attacked us, namely Al-Qaeda proper, how would leaving a region where that known enemy now resides satisfy that objective? Is the goalpost to be moved that only Bin Laden's tribe is the exclusive villain?

What is your plan of action now knowing that Al-Qaeda is in Iraq and that it is "stronger than ever"?

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 3:58 PM

I posted this at my blog on Feb 22. I'm copying it here intact to answer your question about what to do now.

Before you read it, however, I need to emphasize that the impetus of the war on terror was Al-Qa'ida's attack on 9/11. Not ETA, not Red Brigade, not Hezbollah, not any one of dozens of other terror groups; it was bin Laden and Al-Qa'ida. And rightly so, because they were responsible for 9/11.

Now on to my re-post from 2/22/07 at

I just finished reading Ely Karmon's "Al-Qa'ida and the War on Terror", which is a perfect follow-up to Bruce Riedel's "Al-Qa'ida: Five Years After the Fall of Qandahar". Karmon is a research scholar at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel. They cover much of the same ground and, not surprisingly, come to similar conclusions.

"The danger of the Islamist networks can be neutralized in the long run only by preventing the formation of a "liberated fundamentalist territory"--the concept of Ayman Zawahiri--in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Central Asia, Indonesia or elsewhere in the Muslim world.

"The existing danger is not that of a united World Islamist Front and its victory, but rather of a politically and socially destabilized Middle East and of an increasingly paranoid and undemocratic global society (especially if WMD terrorism succeeds). On the strategic-military level, only political, intelligence, and operational cooperation between the great international players--the United States, Europe, Russia, China, and India--can overcome this dangerous perspective. On the ideological and political level, the radical trends in the Muslim societies can be defeated only by the moderate Muslims."

We've lost sight of the fact that the war on Iraq is only a subset of the war on terror, and that the war on terror is actually a war on Al-Qa'ida. So rather than focusing on a completely unrealistic and increasingly improbable military victory in Iraq, we should be focusing on what strategy in Iraq will best help us win our war on Al-Qa'ida.

The best informed advice and intelligence assessments on the war all agree that we must begin an orderly withdrawal and seek a multi-national dipolomatic initiative to bring stability to Iraq. This will bring harm to our true enemy, Al-Qa'ida in 2 ways: one, their stated goal to bleed us in Iraq will be over, and two, creating a unified and stable political environment in Iraq will rob them of the type of environment they need to flourish. In this way, our exit strategy is not a military loss but a military maneuver in the only war that we should be engaged in - the war against Al-Qa'ida. That is a war that will eventually find it's way back to our shores if we continue to waste lives, money, and resources in the trap that Zarqawi and bin Laden set for us in Iraq.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 5:45 PM

RE: Jeffrey Carr (March 26, 2007 03:58 PM)

OK. So it's redeploy to Okinawa with subsequent 1) denial of "bleed[ing]" in the Iraq theater, and 2) changing the Iraqi environment.

"'The existing danger... On the ideological and political level, the radical trends in the Muslim societies can be defeated only by the moderate Muslims.'"

There are some reasonable, high-level observations that seem valid enough up until the last sentence. I would quibble a bit on the notion that moderate Muslims will step in to the breach in the face of extremists. I'm not convinced of such an inevitability considering so proportionally few are currently being proactive. The weeds are growing in an untended garden. But let's move on.

We've lost sight of the fact that the war on Iraq is only a subset of the war on terror, and that the war on terror is actually a war on Al-Qa'ida. So rather than focusing on a completely unrealistic and increasingly improbable military victory in Iraq, we should be focusing on what strategy in Iraq will best help us win our war on Al-Qa'ida.

The war is no longer on Iraq. It is in it. If a typo, then forget my spellchecking. If not, this is not an insignificant point. We have allies (and more than just the Kurds who adore America) in Iraq and are working with then to isolate, castrate, and/or kill those who would usurp the moderate Muslims who struggle against extremists.

Recognizing your previous caveat, the war is on terrorism of which Al-Qaeda is part but not parcel. The first part of that second sentence is an assertion that belies the current circumstance on the ground. With the change in ROE and focus, that observation no longer holds. Besides, I never subscribed to the idea that military victory in Iraq was unrealistic/improbable. As to the second part, that goes without saying but, even as subset, is inadequate to addressing Islamic Fundamentalism's dangerous tenets.

The best informed advice and intelligence assessments on the war all agree...

An assertion. Nothing more. "Best"? "All"? Hogwash.

...that we must begin an orderly withdrawal and seek a multi-national dipolomatic initiative to bring stability to Iraq.

Seems a few people think withdrawal is a bad idea. In fact, when put to vote, some of our own Congresspersons had to be bribed into adopting the popular position that it is universally accepted that the wise course of action is to leave Iraq on some manufactured, politically determined schedule. As far as diplomatic initiatives go, the hypothetical sounds fine and some form is inevitable... the questions are when, and which delegations are really interested in Iraqi stability as opposed to their own regional power grab. I'm not sure Syria and Iran are the players we want at the table early on despite their proximity.

As to the rest, it's just a leap of faith to come to that conclusion. Stabilizing coalition forces step back prematurely and the assumed result is "moderates" will stand tall on their own in spite of evidence that they yet cannot (though they are improving), neighbor states will diligently respect Iraqi autonomy (though Iran is financing/leading its own insurgency), Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda (among others) will spontaneously attrit, will not find other havens, and will not try destabilization elsewhere? That may sound nice at the U.N. but we've found such exercises to really be, in retrospect, just the pulling of our leg. This reads to me to be yet another version of kicking the can for some undefined expediency.

Right now we have a flytrap in Iraq. None of the flies have been able to penetrate our domestic screen door since 9/11and these flytraps serve as the first layer of defense. It seems more rational to me that our defense strategy is working and that we should be sending out more traps and helping any allies assemble their own screen doors... if they want it. Iraqis, while not terribly fond of flytraps, recognize their usefulness. They also recognize that until they have their own screen doors, the flytraps need to stay. Also, why anyone, particularly Iraqis, would trust that a U.N.-sanctioned parchment peace against destabilizers of whatever sort would protect their life and liberty in view of a decade of inaction against Saddam and OFF is beyond me.

This is a war for at least a generation and there's just no way around it. Isolationism hasn't worked and the penalty for passivity is more of the same. More moderates slain. More assets for extremists. More signals that the West will not persevere. More indications that we are a paper tiger. More confirmation that our political system will not permit any plan that lasts more than 8-yrs. More evidence that stamina is not the Western ideal we pronounce it to be. More evidence that propaganda will always trump whatever else is thrown against it.

These are trends that have to be stopped. Violently if necessary. Perpetually if need be. Even if "all" agree that retreat semantically redefined as "a military maneuver" is the appropriate course of action.

Posted by Jeffrey Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 8:13 PM

Your flytrap analogy doesn't hold up under the facts. Terrorism worldwide is up 700% since 2003 according to a recent NYU study of the RAND terrorism database. That means our war in Iraq has had the exact opposite effect, which should be no great surprise to anyone. And to say that we haven't had a terrorist attack on American soil means little when we're being bleed to death in money, lives, and resources under published Al-Qa'ida strategy in Iraq. They've already surpassed the 9/11 death toll in American lives.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 10:17 PM

RE: Jeffrey Carr (March 26, 2007 08:13 PM)

I think I'll take your reference with a few grains of salt. An exclusive from Mother Jones with Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank from BYU in their non-peer reviewed study, The Iraq Effect, doesn't inspire much confidence.

In fact to illustrate bias of that alarming headline of 700% "worldwide" (review the summary tables on attacks and casualties), the authors had to include Iraq and Afghanistan - the flytraps remember - in the totals. Once the terror attacks in those places during their selected timeframe are removed from the total, the actual number of worldwide attacks plummets to rather trivial numbers. This would contradict the conclusion that Iraq/Afghanistan where we are most active are not certain flytraps.

Yes, there was an increase worldwide assuming they used valid metrics. I don't accept that at face value unless there is further review by persons more expert than me to review their methodology and database (RAND's numbers and definitions). Consider, for example, the exclusion of Palestinian/Israeli terrorism in their calculus, a major and primary nexus of conflict. I'd concede that terrorism is up a bit in a few places which is probably related to Islamists creating chaos wherever possible while seeking the world's weakest links. Conversely, it could be coincidental and an extension of plots designed during the peace and enacted during the war. Not surprisingly, they aren't having much success against those who choose to vigorously fight back. They can create chaos, or at least try, but we are controlling it to a greater degree. We seem to be controlling the battlefield despite the ease in which terrorists remain mobile and combustible.

And even when attacks in both Afghanistan and Iraq (the two countries that together account for 80 percent of attacks and 67 percent of deaths since the invasion of Iraq) are excluded, there has still been a significant rise in jihadist terrorism elsewhere--a 35 percent increase in the number of jihadist terrorist attacks outside of Afghanistan and Iraq, from 27.6 to 37 a year, with a 12 percent rise in fatalities from 496 to 554 per year.

Of course, just because jihadist terrorism has risen in the period after the invasion of Iraq, it does not follow that events in Iraq itself caused the change. For example, a rise in attacks in the Kashmir conflict and the Chechen separatist war against Russian forces may have nothing to do with the war in Iraq. But the most direct test of The Iraq Effect--whether the United States and its allies have suffered more jihadist terrorism after the invasion than before--shows that the rate of jihadist attacks on Western interests and citizens around the world (outside of Afghanistan and Iraq) has risen by a quarter, from 7.2 to 9 a year, while the yearly fatality rate in these attacks has increased by 4 percent from 191 to 198.

"The Iraq Effect" on America and allies increased from 7.2 to 9 attacks and fatality rate to 4%?! This are statistically insignificant and hardly the 700% increase implied by the title of their work. Technically, they can use that number, but c'mon. To get that "worldwide" percentage, they had to include Iraq and Afghanistan where the overwhelming number of attacks/deaths occurred.

Like I said, I don't trust this study without extensive review. Perhaps some conclusions can be drawn. I have to tell you though that my cursory review actually validates the flypaper theory considering the relative numbers of where coalition forces are active versus where they are not.

As to your final point, you opt to let Al-Qaeda/jihadis dictate the war. I'll opt for the coalition to dictate it. There will be war whether we remain passive or active. It will cost whether we want it too or not. It may seem expensive now, but consider the expense and the change in American rights should one of these rogue actors detonate/disseminate WMD in a Western city... or an American one. You haven't seen expensive yet.

Alas, I think this path has just about run its course. In a year we'll see more tangible results from the new plan in Iraq and, hopefully (and I use the term reservedly), Mother Jones will get Bergen and Cruickshank to analyze trends from 2/07 through 2/08.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 26, 2007 10:23 PM

NYU, not BYU.

Posted by TyCaptains [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 28, 2007 1:36 AM

The flytrap argument has a particularly nasty side to it.

Essentially the whole, "fight over there so we don't fight them over here" is saying that their civilians aren't important as our own.