Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Friday, September 18, 2009

Other Options

I keep hearing that Republicans shouldn't criticize Obamacare proposals unless they have an alternative proposal. Never mind that there are Republican bills that have been proposed with alternatives, there are certainly plenty of other ideas that have been put forth online. The idea that a massive government system is the only viable way to fix our current bad system is patently false.
And besides, back in 2002-2003 during the run-up to the Iraq war there was huge opposition to W's 'war on terror'. Democrats (and liberals) didn't, and still haven't put forth a credible alternative to fighting international terrorism. Note that I'm not saying it is the only way, I'm simply saying that on this crucial issue all they could do was criticize and offer half hearted platitudes. Even now with a Democratic President in the White House and both parties of congress controlled by WOT critics, there has been very little change.
I don't suppose we can expect that alternative anytime soon.


Blogger James Colby said...

Hello Peder, it's been a while and I've missed reading your blog, but I'm also glad you didn't write too much while I was away.

I have to say, in the last several months it's been difficult to find civil discourse from your side of the isle and it's nice to see your discourse still has been.

I have also heard the arguments you have, although we can agree they aren't the mainstream arguments. The arguments are only partly true because republicans do have an alternative plan, various folks have spelled out different versions, but they all seem to focus on the 3 areas of tax credits(I know, shocking), Tort reform, and immigration reform. Most reasonable people can agree these would most likely help(with perhaps the exception of tax credits), but none of them will make an enormous impact on healthcare for most Americans. What I'm saying is that your side does have a plan, just not much of a plan.

That being said, my side has a lot of plans and some of them are no better, hell, the Baucus bill is even worse.

I welcome constructive criticism, and I welcome people pointing out things that are making things worse. The real problem I'm finding is that the majority of the debate is that false, and the people making the arguments aren't even trying to get it right. To me, that's un-American.

I don't like your analogy to the run-up to the war in Iraq. First of all, we overwelmingly supported the invasion of Afghanistan. Second, we wanted to change the patriot act, but still wanted the core of it to go through, that by definition is offering an alternative plan. As far as the war in Iraq is concerned, I always hoped that you understood that it had nothing to do with terrorism. I know a great many of us felt like it did, but we know it didn't. So please, if you do know better, don't blur the line between the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism.

Now whether or not you agree that Iraq was not about terrorism, you can't make the arguement you just made(about us not having an alternative plan) if you were paying attention to the 2004 presidential debates as Kerry laid out the plan repeatedly. Ever since the Iraq war run-up, we have been putting forth a plan that includes the war in afghanistan, broader use of intelligence gathering and a focus on international law enforcement. This plan is the brainchild of many experts in the field, and endorsed by many non-partisan, high ranking folks who do this sort of thing for a living. You really can't say that about the invasion of Iraq.

2:31 AM  
Blogger -Peder said...

James, you're back! And I'm glad that you still find this discourse civil. You should try it over here. If you oppose larger government you're obviously racist. Lots of fun!
A quick response (maybe a longer one in a few days) about what I meant. First of all, yes I do think Iraq was about terrorism and I think the repeated attempts to paint it as some other sinister thing is much more offensive than any perceived 'lies' from those who oppose Obamacare.
But that's not really what I was talking about. Bush offered a strategy to counter global terrorism. In short, knock out states that support terrorists and dry up the well. The left criticized this (and spread outright lies) but never offered any real alternative. Kerry offered platitudes in 04 but as you said about the Republican health care plan, it wasn't much. Kind of a 'we won't make mistakes' deal. Frankly we need better.
To be fair, more law enforcement and intelligence is some kind of plan. It's what Clinton used in the 90's and it proved utterly unable to deter terrorists. If anything, it pushed them to try bigger attacks to get more attention.
Is there another way?

8:43 PM  
Blogger James Colby said...

Yes, I'm back briefly. At some point soon, not sure when, I have another business trip, not sure how long either, but it shouldn't be too long.

I think you are civil, not the current political climate out there. I'd hate to be called racist like when Rush, Glenn and Micheal Savage-Weiner call me that, but it's better than when they call me a socialist, a nazi, un-american, a communist, a liar and so many other well thought out insults. This is worth a chuckle, my own mother, probably not realizing it, called me a "pinko socialist" and she knows I've served in combat in 4 different wars(okay maybe Bosnia doesn't count as a war and I never got shot at there), but own mother!

Ok, let's take a realistic view of history; The Bush administration was given piles of evidence showing Iraq was not a terrorist state. They didn't always let us know that info, but they were thoroughly briefed. Al-Queada wasn't there, that was never in question by people who had clearance. In order to call Iraq a part of the war on terror you have play these wild games of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon connecting Saddam to terrorists in ways that you could connect anyone to them. Or you change the definition of terrorists and such, that works too.

Otherwise, we agreed on many things...Invade Afghanistan, hell yes! The plans were drawn up before dubya was sworn in. Dept of Homeland Security? Our idea. Bulletproof doors on cockpits? Not only our idea, but when Al Gore proposed it to congress in 1998, Republicans dismissed it as too much of a financial burden on the airlines, really wish he would have pushed that one. Even the Patriot Act shares many components of Biden's old terrorism bill from from the mid 90s.

We opposed the Iraq invasion because even though we agreed Saddam was a bad man, he was not a terrorist, not a threat to us and nowhere near a clear and present danger. In short, liberals were the clearer heads, unfortunately, not all Democrats were.

To be fair, the plan Kerry talked about was bigger than the Clinton plan. He had the patriot act, DHS, Afghanistan and a heavier hand at interpol involved along with a heavier focus from the intelligence community than Clinton did. Really, Iraq was our primary difference, you think it's a part of the war on terrorism, and we don't.

If I don't get back to you right away, it won't be long.

2:33 AM  
Blogger -Peder said...

James, we can probably go back and forth on Iraq without convincing each other. Let me drill down to the basic question. What alternative is there to the Bush doctrine? I certainly think there can be alternatives but all I'm hearing is the Clinton approach from the 90's. Did that fail because we didn't buy into it enough? (As a side question, have the actions of the UN and the EU convinced you that they would really buy into it enough to actually solve things? I'm certainly not convinced.)

4:48 AM  
Blogger James Colby said...

The difference between how we view Iraq makes the question of the Bush doctrine irrelavent.

It didn't apply to Afghanistan because we were attacked by a group based there. We didn't start it, we are trying to finish it.

Iraq is merely evidence that the Bush doctrine doesn't work, but people could still argue that if they invaded an actual threat, it would be different.

As far as looking to alternatives, do a little more hard thinking about why Clinton's approach didn't work and how the Kerry plan really is different.

When Clinton took office terrorism was looked at differently, and the WTC bombing was handled well considering what they knew, but they had no idea how big the organization was and very little clue who Bin Laden was. During the "blackhawk down" incident, we truely did not know Bin Laden had a hand in that for more than a year after it happened.

After the embassy bombings and Khobar towers, security measures changed in the US millitary. I distinctly remember the changes in excercises, the language used in the scenarios and the tactics employed. I even remember in 1996 a big change in where I was allowed to park my car on base.

Some could say the emphasis wasn't enough considering the attack on the USS Cole. My personal view is that it was horribly incompetent of the captain of that ship in the year 2000, in a port with known terrorist activities to have such lax security, but I honestly don't know if there were diplomatic issues getting in the way.

1998 was the year Gore(on the advice of bipartisan Hart-Rudmann commision) reccomended increased baggage screenings and bulletproof cockpit doors, and Jan 2001 is when their final report from that commission recomended the dept of homeland security amongst other recomendation.

What I'm saying is the Clinton plan was evolving, and the Kerry plan added to it. That plan is clearly an alternative to the Bush doctrine. It's not perfect, no plan is, but it is a plan, and it's easy to argue that it's a better plan than invading Iraq.

I think the EU has made improvements, but the UN has not done well. I don't think the UN is much help at all when it comes to fighting terrorism.

11:24 AM  
Blogger -Peder said...

James, the difference I see is that the law enforcement/intelligence angle will never go deep enough. That's especially true if there are haven states for the bad guys to retreat to. It will always be easy enough for terrorists to use the openness of our societies to quickly get in and cause damage. You mention the Cole and while you may be right on that specific incident, large terrorist organizations can afford to wait until they catch that lucky break and then make a big splash. I don't see any part of the Clinton/Kerry plan that changes that.

4:56 AM  
Blogger Hans said...


From someone who has a clearance - Iraq was had plenty of strong ties to terror, including strong ties to Al Qaeda through his intelligence organizations. From passing intel to training facilities to managing operatives and assisting in planning operations. All of the above is open source, by the way.

The Iraq war WAS about terrorism, but it was also about the other 20-some reasons that Bush put out - sanctions collapsing, gross breaches of sanctions (with complicit neighbors), conventional weapons procurement, firing on our troops on a regular basis, etc... While the war after the initial invasion was mismanaged, that doesn't take away from the fact that going after Iraq was justified and prudent.

That Iraq had no ties to terror is a pretty big canard that keeps getting repeated often enough that it's become accepted fact now in some circles. Stephen Hayes has done some pretty good open source research if you're interested and want to google it. If you can find sources that disagree with him, I'd love to hear about them.

As for a plan that includes more intelligence and greater international law enforcement with respect to Afghanistan - we're already doing that. An alternative plan should be far more robust than that suggestion.

10:01 PM  
Blogger James Colby said...

True progress. Sorry I was away so long, but it's nice to see we are in agreement.

Not about Iraq war intell, but about whether or not we both had alternatives regarding the war on terror and health care reform.

I have stated that we did have an alternative plan to invading Iraq, we now agree on that. You and Hans(do you two know each other?) have graciously conceeded that with the caveat that it didn't go deep enough or wasn't robust enough. That is fair criticism, and I actually agree. It seems, you and I agree the Bush doctrine is open to criticism too. Hans even conceeded some mismanagement. We both seem to agree that your side has alternatives to healthcare reform(I would argue my side has alternatives too). Like you, I find your alternatives also don't go deep enough and certainly are not the robust plans we need(I feel the same way about my own party's current plan, unfortunately) This is a big step, we all agree if just a little bit.

I'd love to get into the Iraq war debate more, it is something we can go on about forever I imagine. But probably better suited for another thread, perhaps one you already have.

For health care, what areas do you disagree?(I probably won't call you racist)

8:26 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home