NeoCon In & Realist Out: Shuffling the Deck Chairs at the State Department

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krasner.jpg
Stephen Krasner, Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State and one of Condi Rice’s mentors, will be departing his position within a month and returning to his tenured faculty position at Stanford University.
While Krasner the realist plans to depart, however, a neoconservative — Eliot Cohen — is moving into the Secretary’s suite as her Counselor.
Krasner, who is one of the leading realist intellectuals in the United States, was brought in by Rice to try and work some of his ideas through the policy process. Those around him and who admire his thinking and work report that Krasner did serve Secretary Rice well as one of her key “ideas guys” but that he had little stomach for constant combat with bureaucratic rivals over the course of policy.
The sources I spoke to said that Krasner did not know that the most obvious best idea didn’t automatically win the competitive games in and around the President and that any initiative required herculean, tenacious advocacy.
That said, Krasner — despite the “thrill” of the job has been pushed to the point of serious exhaustion — and needs to take both a mental and physical health break. Krasner just returned from Istanbul this week.
This writer also must note that Stephen Krasner’s office has not confirmed his departure; nor did staffers there deny it. I received a non-denial denial in which one of his colleagues said, “Steve is leaving? First I’ve heard of it.” Another person at State to whom I reported that I had heard rumors of his departure refused to comment other than saying “Now the rumor has reached us via your phone call.”
However, multiple close colleagues of Krasner have reported that Stanford will have him back soon.
But in another slot that Condi Rice had open among her close team was the Counselor position, vacated recently by University of Virgnia historian Philip Zelikow.
eliot cohen.jpg
Late last week, Secretary of State Rice shocked many by appointing a leading neoconservative intellectual, Eliot A. Cohen, as her Counselor. Cohen was a leading proponent of the Iraq War — and has only recently begun to critique — along with other leading neocons like Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman, and David Frum — the Bush administration’s effort as one that has not gone as expected.
This article, “The Talented Mr. Cohen,” published by Ximena Ortiz at National Interest Online captures well the often-contradictory positions and statements Cohen has made on the Iraq war.
As reported in this piece by Jim Lobe, I believe that Cohen’s appointment is in part an effort to get someone past the Cheney foreign policy wing. Rice does not like to do direct battle with the Vice President and views personnel appointments as a way to inoculate herself and her efforts against sabotage from the Cheney team.
In other words, Cohen has joined Condi’s team both to create back-channel communications with Cheney’s spear-carriers but also to protect Condi from all-out assault from the Vice President.
When I queried another top-tier political and intellectual personality who works closely with Eliot Cohen, the response I received was that he was surprised Cohen would want the job at this point in the life-span of the Bush administration.
This person also stated that Cohen would probably take over much of the “democratization” and “how to do nation building” portfolios that Krasner was working on as Director of Policy Planning. According to this source, Eliot Cohen has been working on the subject of how to get democratization — the nuts and bolts of the process — right.
The net effect for Condi’s game plan though is that Cohen protecting her rear flank from Cheney’s assaults is probably more important than any thing new he might achieve in another risky R&D effort on nation-building.
On one other front, I have confirmed that Eliot Cohen will resign his position as an Executive Committee member of the journal, The American Interest.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

71 comments on “NeoCon In & Realist Out: Shuffling the Deck Chairs at the State Department

  1. Carroll says:

    “To add to the discussion, have to say the neoconservatives have never impressed me with their intellectual honesty or commitment to debate.”
    Posted by petermazoff at March 6, 2007 02:35 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    That is so true I can’t believe I haven’t said it myself before. I have never seen one of the neos actually discuss or “debate” their theories and ppolicies. One of the first speeches I heard from Wolfowitz at Georgetown I counted 5 times where he declared “Americans MUST learn, Americans MUST this and that. That “instructing” Americans what they must do and talking down to them is the common theme of the neos.
    In the South we used to have a term for these types..”ignorant and proud of it”…used to describe fools and others who held opinions they couldn’t justify or explain or back up..because their opinions were just personal greivences tainted by their view of their own importance and their “feelings”.
    Why these people are called intelligent is beyond me.

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  2. .... says:

    Apologies to …
    Did not realize that was a person’s handle.
    Still want to vote for POA.

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  3. petermazoff says:

    To add to the discussion, have to say the neoconservatives have never impressed me with their intellectual honesty or commitment to debate. Look at how Scowcroft was slimed for suggesting perhaps we shouldn’t invade Iraq. And contrast that with Frank Fukuyama who decided he opposed the war too and didn’t want to speak out on it. I disagree a great deal with Charles Krauthammer but thought his take down of Fukuyama on this point was classic–that waiting a year and being the 20th critic in line was not his definition of intellectual courage.
    And look at how Eliot Cohen dropped the anti-Semite bomb on people whose positions he disagreed with like Mearsheimer and Walt–and kudos to Richard Cohen for calling him out on that.
    Ben D., Professor Cohen is not being nominated to be a department head but to serve in a senior government position–and his views, predictions and how he has dealt with his critics are all quite relevant–for the same reason that Steve kept a careful and close eye on John Bolton.
    And Cohen may now be a critic of the war and the administration but I see no evidence that he has evaluated his own role in all of this nor is there any sign that he is apologizing to those who happened to be critical far earlier than he was and whose views he was sharply critical of. I think this is a major reason you find the reactions you are seeing here, not whether or not he was a good professor in class. (And some of the same is driving the negative reactions to Hilary Clinton too on the war issue, but that’s a separate matter).

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  4. urbino says:

    “The others are entirely consistent with neoconservatism’s deference to “traditional values” and institutions, and deep trust in market forces.”
    Oh, and in the case of the last fault you listed, its inherent elitism.

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  5. urbino says:

    Thanks, David. I don’t think I did attribute all the faults of the Bush admin. to neoconservatism. However, of the faults you listed, only one of them is inconsistent with the principles of neoconservatism: the lack of curiosity/inability to learn. The others are entirely consistent with neoconservatism’s deference to “traditional values” and institutions, and deep trust in market forces.
    That’s not to say Bush actually got his ideas from extensive reading in and deep understanding of neoconservative philosophy.

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  6. David N says:

    urbino:
    Well put.
    We should, however, not ascribe all the faults of the Bush administration to neo-cons. There are too many for that, and surely no one can accuse Bush of any ideological pretensions.
    Some of the evil they have wrought can be attributed to: attempts to bring their religion into government; turning government into the handmaiden of corporate interests; pure, raw greed for both wealth and power; lack of not just intellectual curiosity, but a basic inability to learn from or even recognize facts; and a culture of deference to status and power taken far beyond even the limits of normal Washington standards.
    For everyone in Washington, what we say means nothing compared to who is saying it.
    Which makes the annonymity of the bloggosphere somewhat refreshing.

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  7. urbino says:

    And again I agree with Carroll. Leaving aside the perspective of academic political philosophy (which is what I’ve been talking about) and shifting to the perspective of practical governing philosophy, neoconservatism has surely proven itself to be unworkable. Do you not agree, Ben?
    Ironically, given the intellectual biographies of its founders, it has proved to be every bit as unfit for governing as Soviet communism. Actually, now that I think about it, the parallels are rather striking. Both, despite being very idealistic in their original, theoretical instincts, produced the following: oligarchical authoritarianism, state secrecy as the rule rather than the exception, militarism, imperialism, curtailing of civil rights, regular use of fear for political gain, and pervasive bureaucratic incompetence and corruption.
    Neoconservatism as a governing philosophy, like Soviet communism, has been tried and has proved itself a failure. It should be, to borrow a Cold War phrase, relegated to the ash heap of history.

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  8. David N says:

    All:
    The one thing I’m going to keep harping on until someone listens is the failure of the metophor we use to identify people and ideas. As far as I can tell, everyone here is using the terms “left”,
    “right,” and “center” as if they constitute full descriptions of all the options available to us.
    Such “linear” thinking is very nineteenth century. I’m trying to get people to realize that there are, indeed, other alternatives. That there are ways of think about the world that are not valiations of socialism vs. anarchism.
    I can’t list or even describe them in this type of forum. But I do urge you to look at what you are writing and saying and try to see that this is a false choice.
    To the extent that neo-cons — and the NAF — were trying to escape this trap, good on them. To the extent they failed, try again.
    As far neo-cons, they strike me from what I read and what I hear them saying that they have joined with the Republican party because they have the personalities that match, those of bullies, jocks, and frat boys.
    They are not willing to listen, to understand the ideas of others, to ignore interests that don’t result in the enhanced profits to them and their corporate sponsors.
    I keep thinking of the scene from the movie “Reds,” where John Reed is asked to explain the motive behind what was then called the Great War. He stood to the podium, said, “Profits,” and sat down.
    The sad thing is, it is entirely justified to do the same thing today. Not just sad, that’s criminal.
    POA is often over the top, but I agree that we can’t find a single thing the Bush regime has done for the benefit of anyone but corporate powers and the wealthy. And that means that they have not just used fear to gain votes and power, but encouraged threats to enable them to use fear.
    Yes, there should be alternatives to the poiticians we have now. But as long as politicians are punished for telling the truth, that will be hard to do. We can be the minnows pushing the battleships, but then in the booth we have to choose between bad and awful.
    Ain’t that a shame.

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  9. Carroll says:

    As for Cohen, he surely isn’t a M.E. expert, but he is more thoughtful than many here imagine a Neo Con could be. Which, actually, is why he and others formed the American Interest, as they were themselves sick of those such as Cheney, etc., who they felt had hijacked a school of thought otherwise just as intellectually rigorous and honest as any other. (Yes, I’m sure this will be much debated, but I am stating that Neo Cons weren’t always, and aren’t all, narrowminded ideologues… even if I never ascribed to their views. It would be travesty to call Eliot Cohen, Frank Fukayama and others intellectually shallow or dishonest even if you dislike them.)
    Posted by Ben D. at March 5, 2007 07:09 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Ben…I still don’t think you get where most of us are coming from….it matters not whether Cohen or Fukayama are intellectuals or honest or thoughtful or truely beleive what they preach is for the best.
    That is not the arguement and it’s beside the point.
    Even if Cohen was not as moraly disgusting and as far from American principles as the quote above reveals him to be he is still a “loser”.
    The entire neo clan are “losers”, their theories are losers, the policy has been a loser, their judgement is a loser. They are Failures with a capital F.
    We cannot afford to have these losers involved any further in US policy. Period, that is what this is about.
    The neo’s and the intelligentsia groupies should be restricted to complating what came first the chicken or the egg, not running real world policy.

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  10. Pissed Off American says:

    “……..are nothing but vitriolic condemnations of all things Bush.”
    Ok, I’ll bite. Lets hear it. What exactly has the Bush Administration done that has improved this nation?

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  11. rich says:

    Ben D.:
    “For the record, I was Steve’s intern at New America and am very proud to have been associated with it and its aim of reinvigorating the “center” in the public policy debate.”
    You’re not alone; Steve’s work is much appreciated and is need as much by DC as by mere Citizens. Though, you can understand the frustration of Americans who see good men say nothing–because that’s all it takes. And yes, the good reasons for keeping counsel are well understood.
    “among posters that at times are nothing but vitriolic condemnations of all things Bush.”
    I’m not happy w/unending heated rhetoric either–but in the era of Bush, even POA & Carroll aren’t guilty of rigity, relative to George V. You gotta admit, your plaint is a bit surreal–which means your challenge is to list Bush’s gifts to humanity. (& don’t get me wrong, George is very human.)
    As for “the ‘center’ in the public policy debate,”–fine, where there’s substance–but as an abstract label, it’s too conveniently used as a rhetorical ploy. Tell me, has the center managed to apply a moderating influence of late? When ‘left’ [sic] & ‘right’ [sic] defend the Constitution, but the center deviates from it, how can the ‘center’ [sic] (oy) stake a claim to any sort of moderate terrain?
    Of what use is the ‘center’s’ Establishment fulcrum, if it’s not used, or used to ill-effect?Is there any claim to responsiblity?
    Thesee are not bitter accusations, nor knee-jerk assumptions, but frankly, some self-examination is called for. What you see as vitriol on the part of some is simply an insistence on responsiveness. Not from Steve, but from ‘leadership,’ ‘centrists,’ and what’s left of ‘governance’ in this country. Cries out for a more perfect union.
    So, constructive? Yeah, let’s have some of it. What’s it take to get through to DC?

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  12. urbino says:

    Oops. Still figuring out what I can and can’t do in a comment on this site.
    That first “less than” corresponds to the following quote from Ben D.’s comment:
    “they were themselves sick of those such as Cheney, etc.,”
    The second corresponds to:
    “I am stating that Neo Cons weren’t always, and aren’t all, narrowminded ideologues”
    And the third to:
    “It would be travesty to call Eliot Cohen, Frank Fukayama and others intellectually shallow or dishonest”

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  13. urbino says:

    >
    On that I agree with them. Cheney is not a real neoconservative. He’s much too cynical to be a real neoconservative. He latched onto it simply as the fastest horse to get him where he wanted to go. But that is true only because neoconservatism was already in full gallop in that direction.
    >
    I didn’t claim they were narrow-minded. In my view, however, they *are*, with rare exceptions, very deeply ideological. And I’ll agree that this was less true of the early group than of the current generation. This is often the case in philosophical movements. (I *think* it was Learned Hand who observed that the doubts of the first generation tend to become the dogmas of the second.)
    >
    Again, I never said neoconservatives were intellectually dishonest. Quite the opposite, the real ones are incredibly earnest. The problem isn’t their intellectual honesty; it’s their intellectual arrogance and political naivete.
    Just for the record, I’ve never read Cohen, so I can’t speak to his thought, specifically. I can only say that insofar as he self-identifies as neoconservative or expresses shared views, he becomes, in this reader’s eyes, more difficult to take seriously.

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  14. rich says:

    Ben D.:
    Welcome. I appreciate your obviously well-intentioned sentiment. You say:
    “the personal spats..on this blog.. make me question the intelligence of those reading that they would engage each other in such a way.”
    One can say the same for John Bolton, Cheney, Rice, Burns–& if these quotes are accurate–Eliot Cohen. If those are his words, they pervert everything this country stands for: “imperial management” is the problem–not the solution.
    I hope you’re right about Cohen–but, no heroes. You forget that nice, warm, intelligent people are capable of horrific acts–and rationalizing them over tea.
    You forget that the “Best” and the “Brightest” are capable of fatally flawed policies–as long as they forget to apply to sovereign nations the principles that gave rise to, and sprang from, the American Revolution. It’s the lesson of Vietnam–and Iraq–
    Ben D., one thing: you’d be advised to withdraw that epithet, “ultra-lefty.” It is false. Many of us are conservative–easily more so than any neocon. And any real conservative knows good and well that liberals deserve every scintilla of respect you have to offer.

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  15. ... says:

    ben- thank for the additional comments, however i have to agree with markys conclusion above on cohen if his speculation on cohen is correct.

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  16. Marky says:

    I don’t care how nice someone is. If Cohen truly has been advocating waging a large-scale war in the ME for several years, then in my opinion, he is a dangerous lunatic. Furthermore, his presence adds no balance whatsoever, as his viewpoint is already thoroughly represented at the White House.

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  17. Ben D. says:

    All,
    I’m sorry if my “ultra-left” remark bothered many of you. What that remark was specifically aimed at were comments above and elsewhere among posters that at times are nothing but vitriolic condemnations of all things Bush. To me that contributes nothing to the debate and instead posters on this blog seem to end up preaching to the choir at times.
    For the record, I was Steve’s intern at New America and am very proud to have been associated with it and its aim of reinvigorating the “center” in the public policy debate.
    As for Cohen, he surely isn’t a M.E. expert, but he is more thoughtful than many here imagine a Neo Con could be. Which, actually, is why he and others formed the American Interest, as they were themselves sick of those such as Cheney, etc., who they felt had hijacked a school of thought otherwise just as intellectually rigorous and honest as any other. (Yes, I’m sure this will be much debated, but I am stating that Neo Cons weren’t always, and aren’t all, narrowminded ideologues… even if I never ascribed to their views. It would be travesty to call Eliot Cohen, Frank Fukayama and others intellectually shallow or dishonest even if you dislike them.)

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  18. Carroll says:

    Someone just passed on to me this past quote from Cohen..
    “Overwhelming dominance has always invited hostility. U.S. leaders thus must learn the arts of imperial management and diplomacy, exercising power with a bland smile rather than boastful words.”
    See, it’s just this kind of “borrowing America’s power to puff himself up, smug, condensending ignorance and arrogance” that makes right thinking Americans want to drop these types down the garbage disposal and flip the switch.
    I don’t care what his students think of him or how charming he may be or how smart…his beliefs and attitude toward the world shown in his statement cancel out anything else about him.
    Five thumbs down on Cohen.

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  19. ... says:

    the democrats aren’t any different… the ones who are trying for power now are doing the same stupid things to encourage a continuation of the same… voting for the republicans or the democrats is a vote for the wrong group… clearly things are screwed up in america.

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  20. David N says:

    Ben:
    Let me see if I can say this without smearing anyone.
    I find nothing objectionable about your post except the limitation implied by the term “ultra left.”
    Here is another term that means nothing. As has been said, there are more than 2.0 sides to a given question, and just because someone objects to the conservative agenda, or, alternately, the damage that has been done to our country over the past six years by the nonconservative Bush Republicans, does not make one a socialist, or whatever you think the term “left” means.
    For myself, I will go with the Democrats not because I agree with their agenda — whatever that is — but merely because they can’t be worse than BushCo.
    In fact, I reserve my greatest outrage for the lazy, greedy, self-serving schmucks in the media, who have promoted the Republican agenda for the past twenty years out of fear of the invented “left-wing media” smear, and who when not simply reading out RNC talking points, have to reduce everything to a sports-metaphor left-v-right, winner-take-all scenario. Anyone who tries to bring some thoughfulness and, yes, nuance, to any policy discussion is dismissed as either a “flip-flopper” or someone without any real convictions.
    Given the rampant hypocracy of the BushCo Republicans, that’s too absurd to be laughable.
    I think that if you read the posts here, you will find some who buy into the socialist scheme, but you will also find a wide range of beliefs, with the only common ground a hatred not for Bush himself, but for what he, Cheney, Rice, and the rest of their enablers are doing to us and our country and our world.
    Not only can you not describe the ideology of this blog and its participants in a single word, but it’s a fair bet that any attempt to find a single word to describe any of the participants alone by a single word will be just as off the mark.
    When the New American Foundation was set up, its founding principle was to find alternatives to both the left and right, something that was at the time called the “Radical Center.” The tragedy is that this goal has been largely abandoned, as the Bush regime has polarized our country and our politics and driven out any consideration of real alternatives, since they don’t fit into a sound bite or match the conventional nonsense.
    Please don’t you fall into the same trap. Criticize us when you don’t agree; that’s not just expected, it’s welcome. I want to use criticisms both to be able to bolster my arguements, and to discover when I’m wrong. Thanks for the correction about Cohen. But when you criticize, carefully look at the labels you use, and think about what — if anything — they mean.
    Sounds like a plan to me.
    And I still say, when Cohen claims to be an expert in ME affairs, he should be held accountable for his words. The idea that there was a link between al-Qa’ida and Hussain was part of the propaganda campaign used to justify the invasion; it was a lie, and the administration knew it was a lie at the time. Bush, of course, knew nothing and cared less. Thus, the bit about tying together Islam into a single, neat package, while leaving out the part where the roots of Wahabi/Salafi ideology being firmly planted in the soil of two countries: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
    Hypocracy is not a policy.

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  21. urbino says:

    Yes. That.

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  22. Carroll says:

    Posted by Ben D. at March 5, 2007 02:24 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    Have to disagree slightly with you. I don’t think what you are seeing here is actually a sinking into the far left camp..it’s really more of a manifestation of general disgust at the fact that nothing is changing in our foreign policy for the better….and the same people who brought us our disasterous new empire theory are still being listened to and put into this adm.
    Given the utter failure of their policies and theories they would be slam out of a job and unhireable in the real world.
    I saw Cohen in an interview this past week. He showed his knowledge of our situtation with some intelligent criticism of our policy. But the fact remains that no matter how “smart” someone is, the question on those like Cohen is do they still hold to “their” ideology, or are they just adjusting their hemlines or changing suits according to current trends?
    I think nine times out of ten people like Cohen hold onto their ideologies even harder when they fail, seeking one do over after another to make it come out right. Cohen may be the exception to that but I will have to see it to believe it.
    And I hate to use trite sayings but a new broom sweeps clean. That is what we need right now.
    The country is not in a position to give any of the neo or ideologue crowd the benefit of a doubt on their judgement or motives any longer.

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  23. ... says:

    why does the admin always have to find someone who is a strong advocate of war, in this case his support for the war in iraq? i read he is also interested in regime change in iran…. are their no people to choose from that are free of the dogma associated with the far right? it seems not. and, he is an advocate for israel…it would be shocking to read someone is an advocate for palestine and is getting a position on this admin. geez, one would think that israel ran the us gov’t and his appointment does nothing to ease these concerns… too bad, as america sinks further down the tube, while engaging in real and imagined wars around the globe with its particular brand of ideology.

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  24. urbino says:

    “to without background knowledge and without effort to acquire knowledge brazenly smear all who agree to serve it ”
    It’s hard to know who this is and isn’t aimed at, but for my own part, I’ve made the effort and have the background knowledge regarding neoconservatism as a political philosophy, and stand by my statements regarding it and any adult who can subscribe to it. It simply isn’t a credible, intellectually respectable system.

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  25. Marky says:

    Ben D.
    Name-calling aside, Cohen has been calling for an aggressive, large-scale ME war, including Iran, since at least as far back as 2001. If that doesn’t make him a neocon, it puts him in their camp.

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  26. Ben D. says:

    David N,
    Cohen did serve in the military in Naval Intelligence, and truly is an expert when it comes to defense policy/ strategic studies. I can not speak for his knowledge of the Middle East except to say he is bright and always up to date on what is going on and I think you take his comments out of context if you assume he does not grasp the differences among the main players in the region.
    Having read this blog since its inception, I am amazed how far its readership has sunk into the ultra-left camp. To be disappointed with our current foriegn policy and its architects is one thing. But, to without background knowledge and without effort to acquire knowledge brazenly smear all who agree to serve it (but thus also our country) is unfair and reaks of the same willful ignorance I (like most of you) detest in Bush, Cheney, Rummy and Co.
    That was not meant as an attack on David, sorry. It was just frustration with the tone of much of the postings on this topic.
    see the Wash Post article here – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/01/AR2007030101643.html

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  27. David N says:

    Random notes:
    Of course Condi is a non-entity. From day zero minus, her job was to ignore competent advice from career bureaucrats, and keep it away from her boss. I remember listening to poor souls in the Department who met with her during the 2000-2001 transition, and came back hopeful, saying that she had nodded her head during their presentations, and thanked them for their work.
    After which she simply ignored everything they had said.
    Korea: We are now implimenting what Clinton had advocated eight years ago, because bullying — surprise! — didn’t work.
    Global warming: Guess who was right!!??
    Isreal: Look up 1987. Look up 1999. Every eight-year administration gets fed up with Israel at the end, as they realize they’re not going to have to worry about getting re-elected, and starts getting “tough” with Israel. After which the new administration comes in and says “never mind.” Don’t think the Israelis don’t remember history, just because we don’t.
    And so forth.
    Then:
    Cohen: I note that no one has mentioned whether this “expert in military policy” ever served in the military. I looked it up in Wikipedia: guess what? The answer is no.
    One would also suspect the judgement of anyone who calls Cohen an expert in Middle East affairs, given that Cohen lumped together a fundamentalist Sunni Wahabi movement (al-Qa’ida), a secular socialist authoritarian regime (the Ba’athist Saddam Hussain), and a radical fundi Shi’a regime with a strong technocratic resistance (Iran) as the same thing. Has he ever even traveled in the region?
    Everything that I read convinces me that Cohen does not have a clue about anything that he writes so confidently about. Which makes him a perfect lacky for this administration — he’ll fit right in — and another danger to our safety.
    Finally, I repeat me two cents worth on my favorite theme. The words we are using to describe people have no meaning.
    Realists pay no attention to reality.
    Conservatives are trying to radically remake the world into their ideal image.
    Even if the standard words we use about politics and policy once had a meaning, those meanings have — like everything else about this administration — been corrupted beyond recognition.
    So the deck chairs are moved. Someone who was out front on the invasion is described as a critic. And nothing changes, and we’re all gonna die.
    And no one is really doing anything real against the threat of Islamic terrorism, anywhere, because the problem will not be solved with bullets, and bullets are the only solution anyone in Washington has.
    And we spend all our time typing meaningless drivel into a web site that only we read.
    Very depressing.

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  28. Zathras says:

    I hope posters here will take seriously Steve’s 4:45 AM(!) post upthread. I understand how subjects relating to foreign policy can excite the passions, but profane exchanges of invective — not very imaginative invective at that — between people who have never met personally and may not even know one another’s real names are neither edifying nor considerate of our host. Steve isn’t really asking for very much here.

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  29. ... says:

    not sure who is resorting to using my handle here, but i suppose it is pretty easy to mimic another poster at twn or it wouldn’t have happened.. i am refering to the 1:06 am post today.. it’s not mine –

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  30. Ben D. says:

    All,
    Two comments. One, as Steve said, the personal spats that sometimes arise on this blog between readers really turns me off as well… and to be honest, makes me question the intelligence of those reading that they would engage each other in such a way.
    AS FOR ELIOT COHEN, being a graduate of Johns Hopkins SAIS and having had a few classes with him and knowing students in his program well, I can tell you without equivocation that HE IS ONE OF THE BEST MEN I HAVE EVER MET. Not only is he brilliant (though you may disagree with his perspective), but more importantly he is a thoughtful, caring man who despite being very busy and in demand, makes time for his students like no other professor I have ever known of his stature. I wish the head of my program at SAIS were half the educator, mentor or friend Prof. Cohen is to his students.
    Knowing Prof. Cohen I can tell you to rejoice at his appointment. I believe what he said in Friday’s Wash Post article, that as for the reason he would join this sinking ship now, he did so because we are at war and as others are valiantly serving and as we need to right this ship, he could not turn down the opportunity to serve when called upon. He believes in democracy, he believes, like Steve, in rational, calculated and artfully composed foreign policy. If the details of his counsel to Rice ever become public after his service I would bet the farm that even the strident NeoCon haters (I’m not one, but am a prould Realist) will be impressed with him.
    Don’t just assume he’s an evil NeoCon. From my experience, any of you would be proud to have a man of his character teaching your children and serving your country.

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  31. clem says:

    I cannot tell you how dispiriting it is to read this: “In other words, Cohen has joined Condi’s team both to create back-channel communications with Cheney’s spear-carriers but also to protect Condi from all-out assault from the Vice President.”
    This is how our nation will grapple with the problems it faces in the world? Mr. Cohen is clearly rabid and should not be invited indoors. Mr. Cheney must be a very scary man.

    Reply

  32. Linda says:

    Both Rice and Powell, even if they are/were losing internal battles, have/had the ability, if they really disagree/disagreed or care/cared, to win against Cheney/neocons/whomever in this administration. It would be easy enough to just resign in protest and go public. Wilkerson didn’t do that but has gone public. I doubt that Rice or Powell ever will.

    Reply

  33. bakho says:

    Rice is at State to keep the Bush critics in line. She is not at State to develop policy alternatives to be brought to the attention of the President. Rice is an enabler in a top down administration. If you use this frame of reference, then her decisions and the inner workings of State become more clear.
    As Secretary of State what has Rice achieved diplomatically? Name 3 diplomatic achievements comparable to any 3 under Clinton, Bush 1 or even Reagan. Is this competent? How does Rice rate in comparison to past SecStates? I vote for the bottom of the pack.
    It is very clear that Rice was the weakest and worst NSA ever. At least Kissenger for all his Machievellian tendencies and war crimes was competent. Rice has gone along with torture and other war crimes and was weak and incompetent to boot. Yes Rice is charming, but so was Lucrezia Borgia it is reported.

    Reply

  34. Steve Clemons says:

    I like the diversity of posts here. I seriously dislike the ad hominem attacks and back and forth personal slams that some of you engage in. In some cases, it deters others who would like to offer quality commentary from doing so. I try not to censor people — but there are some on here who push me to the limit on occasion.
    Everyone needs to understand that if I am finally compelled to seriously censor, then I will do so. I will cut off a good number of people who have engaged in reckless or destructive behavior — rather than focusing on policy discussions and debating those.
    I focus on the blog — not the comments section. I leave the comments open — and not blocked — because this often is a learning room for other material, or even quality criticism of my own work — to which I’m open.
    But I have to ask people to be careful and not to go over lines which are clear — lines which mature people engaged in serious debates would not cross. I have no patience for accusations against a single individual in these sometimes heated exchanges. It takes multiple people to escalate.
    There is always the option just to ignore — though I know how hard that can be.
    Carroll – Thanks for the endorsement about the general tenor of TWN. I appreciate that my posts can be maddening on occasion — but you get my point. I write what I want to write….and some like what I elect to focus on — like in your case Hagel. POA, on the other hand, despises my admiration of Hagel.
    POA, I don’t have time to make the comments section my focus — I respond to what I have time to and what I feel compelled to. I don’t like the negative tone that some of the posters have and tend not to engage those who promulgate that tone with me….
    If you and others can lighten up a bit — and engage in some quality back and forth, I will make more of an effort to engage. But snarky back and forths have no interest for me at all. I have a blog already — and much other writing — and a job engaged in constant negotiating with others over policy and politics in Washington. I don’t need something else unless it is a constructive and useful process.
    Best regards to all,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  35. Carroll says:

    Posted by urbino at March 5, 2007 12:30 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Ditto.

    Reply

  36. ... says:

    1 vote for the carpenter.

    Reply

  37. urbino says:

    The incompetence I referred to and described was *mental* incompetence, as reflected in their schoolboy philosophy, not the practical kind of incompetence referenced by the TPM reader. IOW, I was referring to policy; policy, after all, is the product of governing philosophy. Schoolboy philosophy produces schoolboy policy.
    All of it — from philosophy, through policy, to implementation — was and is sophomoric. That doesn’t excuse anything. Grownups aren’t excused from responsibility by the fact that they’re behaving childishly. They’re only the more guilty.

    Reply

  38. easy e says:

    A. Keep Posting at TWN……..POA
    B. Go Away or Go to Rehab…..WINNIE
    Kapeesh?
    P.S. Do we have TWN assurance that Amdocs won’t be used to tally voting data?

    Reply

  39. rich says:

    urbino–
    funny you should weigh that question: TPM questions whether the “incompetence” isn’t just an excuse not to examine the intentional nature of current policy.
    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/012794.php
    Guess what? It’s policy. Policy at Walter Reed, policy for Katrina, policy for Iraq.
    Which by no means precludes the possibility that many “in our foreign policy apparatus [are] either mentally incompetent, corrupt, or cowardly.” Those that aren’t, may be worse.
    Thing is the lesson of WWII Germany–and anyone who lived through it–is that there’s plenty of humanity to go around.
    Of course the Democrats are letting Cheney go, and the US is letting the Shiites run rampant–because then they won’t have to do the dirty work. Thankless job, you know.

    Reply

  40. rich says:

    Of course, I’m not the only one to notice that no one stands up to Cheney
    From FDL, via McClatchy & Riverbend
    http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/03/04/no-woman-no-cry/#more-7604
    we get:
    “The other kid that i can not forget was in Fallujah, he is laying down suffering bullets injuries and his father, mother and aunt were killed in the car behind him and he can not see them… he refused to let the ambulance take him to the hospital only if I swear to him that his family are alive… he pulled my shirt and said “don’t lie to me”.. I was looking at them all killed in front of me and he is laying down, an American sobbing soldier beside him was treating him till the ambulance arrived, and I had to swear to him that they were alive and he will find them in the hospital if he allowed the ambulance to take him, he and his one year old sister who were covered with here mother’s blood all over her body.”
    OR
    “And Iraqi voices, remembering the rape and murder of the young girl Abeer by american troops, MAKE THE CONNECTION between the crimes of american soldiers AND THE LICENSE given to the Maliki government BY THE OCCUPATION.”
    As Saba Ali Ihsaan notes:
    “Do you think it is an accident that we call your army “the rapist army?” Do you think that rape of Abeer was the only such committed by your troops? Do you think that the rapes being committed by the puppet army of your puppet government are the only such?”

    Reply

  41. urbino says:

    Occasionally, I let myself believe something sort of along those lines, rich. I tell myself this has all been intentional — that the real, strategic goal of the Bush foreign policy has been to create chaos in the Middle East, to get the Muslims fighting each other so they cannot focus on the West, to cause such upheaval that regime change happens from within in several Middle Eastern countries, to completely scramble the board on the bet that things could hardly turn out worse for U.S. interests than they were before, and that even if they did, the rest of the industrialized world would be only too happy at that point for a U.S. or NATO force to seize control of the oil fields in order to ensure the world’s supply. In short, that everything’s going according to plan, and we’ve only been misled about what the plan is.
    Frankly, I find that a good deal more comforting than what I believe the other 98% of the time, which is that just about everyone in our foreign policy apparatus is either mentally incompetent, corrupt, or cowardly (or some combination thereof). That somehow we really have managed to let ourselves come to be led by people who adhere to a philosophy that sounds like something a gaggle of schoolboys would cook up for their secret club. Neoconservatism is so patently silly, and has been ever since Strauss first started formulating its principles, I *still* have a hard time making myself believe there are grown men (and some women) who take it seriously — much less that those people somehow managed to get other people to take *them* seriously enough to let them have positions of responsibility.
    I find that set of realities much more demoralizing than the notion that we’re intentionally scrambling the board and hoping for the best. The latter is much more intellectually respectable.

    Reply

  42. Carroll says:

    However POA..think about it..why would Steve want to or need to accept money for steering anyone to any sites? I could see him doing it as a favor to a friend if they have an informative site but not for plain old money. I am as cynical as you about a lot and if I saw any indication of that I would have recongized it long ago…nope, I think TWN passes the smell test.
    Unfortunately a lot of the other well known blogs don’t pass the smell test. That’s why we read this one. Maddening as it often is.

    Reply

  43. Carroll says:

    I vote for POA to stay and winnie and all his various other personalities to go to rehab.

    Reply

  44. mat mil says:

    First presupposition is that we know that there are Foundations and Institutions as the “Condi Rice Foundation” and second presupposition is that they have celebrations or “jubilees” to such Institutions from times to times as it was the case on the 31st december 2006. Anyway. In the Central European Time evening (CET) – it may be afternoon alsewhere as in the U.S. – during a radio transmitted “Condi Rice Foundation celebration” I was listening Condi Rice saying that the Iraqi war is illegal[ date 31st december 2006( an easy sylvestermarker and last day of that
    year )). To minimize the internal damage of such a conflicting statement of[f]\to the Foreign Affairs
    Secretary Condi Rice with the overall bigPolitical directive and official position of the co-current administration it fits perfectly that Condi could
    have taken as a “NASA-shuttle teflon heat shield”
    shelter against external and internal critics the direct insinuations from Dick Cheney with a clear accoustic zionistic and visually jewish name like “Cohen” as a consultant.In the same sense compare
    please the following article ” Senator Rumsfeld Lieberman…”( Posted now on Sunday 4th March 2007 _1boringoldman_com). Concerning the Jew Lieberman I hasten to add that I was in Connecticut on the net_wires deeply involved to throw out Lieberman.
    But Ned Lamont didn’t made it against the zionist
    Joshua Joseph Jew Lieberman. See the old snow: “Ned Lamont for Senate Official campaign website for Ned Lamont. www_nedlamont_com”. Lamont=French.

    Reply

  45. ET says:

    POA,
    So where do we vote for you?
    BTW, it’s commitment, one t.
    Slushhhhhh. 😀

    Reply

  46. Pissed Off American says:

    “If Israel goes into Lebanon, America can sit back and let em go to town.”
    Who “sat back”? Gads, we rushed ordinance to the Isrealis so they could kill as many of them nasty brown people as possible before world sentiment forced them to back off. Thats hardly “sitting back”. Every little cluster bomblet over there is stamped “delivered courtesy of the US of A”. We are as culpable as Israel is.

    Reply

  47. Winnipeger says:

    you’ve got to be kidding, poa, right?
    the only opinion that matters here about the conduct and behavior of contributors is steve’s. after all it’s HIS BLOG.
    …and i do believe that he’s made his opinion of your style and rhetoric completely clear.
    although, based upon your profane, insulting and anything-but-constructive attitude around here, if this were my blog, i would take matters a step further and dress you down in no uncertain terms. and if this proved ineffective, as it has in the past, i would block your IP address.
    just my .02

    Reply

  48. rich says:

    Valid question, urbino. It’s the elephant in the room. So let’s think . . . hmm..
    If the Repubs do it, then the Dems don’t have to. (If Clinton refused to do Iraq, whaddya spose anyone would do?) If Cheney does it, then Rice can feign plausible deniability–no matter how at odds with the facts. If the US goes into Iraq, then the Saudis dont’ have to. And if the Saudis funnel oooodles of cash and bombs to Sunni insurgents, who eventually bomb the mosque at Samarrah then the US doesn’t have to provoke the Shiites (or, hell, vice versa). If Israel goes into Lebanon, America can sit back and let em go to town. And if Shiite death squads clear Sunni civilians that support Sunni nationalists, why would the US intervene?
    Granted, some of this is seen from afar, so the specifics might be off. But isn’t the point to preside over a civil war? One that shatters any remnant of national unity and common ground? Plenty of people will claim it’s an opportunity to have all the extremists kill each other off–wrongly. Because there’s nothing extremist about nationalism. The word is just a way to paint the victims as unworthy of living under a good, solid imperial occupation. After all, who isn’t extreme in the middle of a bloody war costing 655,000 Iraqi civilians? Those asserting the right or the ‘interests’ to project power halfway around the world into a sovereign nation–they’re the definition of American extremists. But then, so was Rumsfeld, in eagerly propping up Hussein with arms, intel, and illegal ‘agri loans’ via the Banco Lavoro.

    Reply

  49. Pissed Off American says:

    I will make you a deal, winnipeger. Lets just put it to a vote among the regular posters here. Lets include Steve of course, as we should, for it is his blog. If the regular posters, as a majority, (and Steve, of course), vote for me to leave, and you to stay, I will honor the majority opinion. Are you willing to make the same committment?

    Reply

  50. Pissed Off American says:

    POA — I understand that you are deeply cynical — and we often agree, but you ask me pointedly if I take a fee or get a kickback from publications for mentioning them?
    The answer is a bellowing, loud “No.” So, your question is answered — but have to admit that I am miffed that you asked me to answer you on this.
    Very insulting.
    Steve Clemons
    Question asked, and answered. Done deal. As I stated on another thread, my roommate has always maintained you are simply a PR man, and I have often argued against her theory. I apologize if the question pissed you off, but I have to admit I am sometimes completely baffled by some of your endorsements.
    But thanks for answering my query. Perhaps if you answered some of the more pressing queries that are often posed here, (about the rationales behind some of your endorsements), some of us wouldn’t be pondering your motivations.
    Besides Steve, wouldn’t you rather be asked pointedly, than be besieged by insinuations and innuendo? Have you ever known me to mince words here? I asked, you answered. So, in spite of the fact that we now have to suffer the weasel droppings of some pathetic troll that thinks he sees an opening, I will take you at your word, and hope you will consider the matter closed.

    Reply

  51. Mullah Cimoc says:

    Mullah Cimoc say: click on link for great anti war rap song by an iraki amerikan
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mprsqx2VT8M&mode=related&search=

    Reply

  52. urbino says:

    Rice does not like to do direct battle with the Vice President
    My feelings about that remind me of that moment from “All the President’s Men” when Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee bellows, “Jesus Christ! When is somebody gonna go on the record in this fucking story?”
    When is somebody — anybody — gonna stand up to Dick Cheney?!
    One usually thinks of the people who rise to power in D.C. as having large egos, not liking to lose, and being fiercely protective of their turf and their views. When did that stop being the case? When did it become possible for one man — a vice president, for god’s sake, with popularity in the low 20s, a track-record of failure, and no political future beyond the end of his current term — to cow every countervailing power center in a city full of power centers?
    The [now inexplicably] highly regarded Colin Powell wouldn’t really take him on. Congressional Republicans won’t assert their prerogatives if it would bring them into conflict with him. Neither, thus far, will congressional Democrats in any coordinated, meaningful way. Neither will the top leadership at the CIA or the Pentagon. Neither will Sec. Rice, which I have to say is something less than surprising, even though she’s the adviser with the closest personal relationship with the president.
    I’ve never seen so much abject, unvarnished cowardice. Even J. Edgar Hoover wasn’t this successful. It’s a complete collapse of leadership on all sides and in every corner of government.

    Reply

  53. Winnipeger says:

    you think that’s insulting, steve? read the rest of this thread.
    poa seems to be incapable of moderating his tone or rhetoric.

    Reply

  54. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — I understand that you are deeply cynical — and we often agree, but you ask me pointedly if I take a fee or get a kickback from publications for mentioning them?
    The answer is a bellowing, loud “No.” So, your question is answered — but have to admit that I am miffed that you asked me to answer you on this.
    Very insulting.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  55. JohnH says:

    I wish Steve would stop taking at face value statements like, “Eliot Cohen has been working on the subject of how to get democratization — the nuts and bolts of the process — right.” It’s such a crock! Neocons know nothing about democracy. What they are working on is how to firmly establish American control under a facade of democracy. An American veto over a sovereign nation’s policies is antithetical to democracy. It’s time for realists to talk honestly instead of adopting Orwellian perversions of our vocabulary.

    Reply

  56. Winnipeger says:

    classic. spoken like a true ignoramus. thanks, poa.
    btw, why don’t you leave den out of this? i’m sure he doesn’t appreciate you speaking for him. he’s a grown-up and he’s more than capable of voicing his own opinion. he and i did what you are obviously incapable of: we each took a step back and reconsidered our rhetoric and intentions. we found a way to disagree without being nasty or destructive. i happen to respect den, which is MUCH more than i can say for you.
    you should be ashamed of yourself. you’re 53 years old, huh? wow.
    if i were steve, i’d politely (or not so politely) ask you to leave.
    again, i beg you to answer the following question:
    if you criticize ann coulter above for being “hateful,” just what exactly are you??

    Reply

  57. rich says:

    winnie:
    >i still maintain that this country HAS on a >number of occasions come very “close to the >breaking point.”
    The nation’s had dark days and been in tough situations, but at no point has it so actively self-inflicted such serious wounds.
    At no point has it visited such an across-the-board abuse of power, violated not only the rule of the law and the Constitution wholesale but flouted the whole set of core values that is every Citizen’s birthright. (Illegally, I might add.) It’s never broken its own structures of governance in this manner. It has never before openly and intentionally broken the military; bankrupted the treasury; and thrown every shred of political & moral standing into the gutter. It’s never driven the French & Germans into each others’ arms b/c of the lies & idiocy of our policy (Iraq)–and then proceeded to add China & Russia, and alienated damn near everybody but Palau & Micronesia. Destroying its stature in the process–domestically and internationally.
    The nation would always outlast the Civil War, WWII–nothing else comes close. But the current perversions–and the egregious breach of trust–goes beyond anything we’ve faced.
    We’ll survive–but at what cost? And as what?
    And it’s all self-inflicted.

    Reply

  58. Pissed Off American says:

    Winnepeger, in the very apropos manner that Den suggested we deal with you……..
    Go fuck yourself.

    Reply

  59. Winnipeger says:

    a little defensive, poa? 😉
    i still maintain that this country HAS on a number of occasions come very “close to the breaking point.”
    instead of making an ass of yourself and insulting me personally, perhaps you might try taking a step back and conducting yourself in a manner different from those very politicians you claim to despise.
    i don’t believe i’ve said ANYTHING in this thread which warrants your personal attack.
    so tell us, poa, just what DO you believe in? politics and rhetoric of destruction? a lack of civil debate? demonization of those whose opinions are different from yours? unbridled anger? never-ending, personal insults?
    i find it quite ironic that you criticize ann coulter above for being “hateful.” if that’s the case, poa, tell me, just what are you??
    i’ll repeat myself again and quote thomas fuller:
    “He does not believe who does not live according to his belief.”
    and as moliere said, “One should examine oneself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.”
    you might want to give that one a try, poa.

    Reply

  60. Zathras says:

    “…Constant combat with bureaucratic rivals” is not stressful as long as one doesn’t mind losing. Dr. Krasner appears to have had a harder time dealing with this than Sec. Rice has.
    One of Steve’s sources may be able to recall any previous instance in the whole of American history in which a Secretary of State deferred to the Vice President as to the staffing of the Secretary’s own department. If his account here is correct this surely says something about the Vice President’s dominance of the administration. It also says something about what a weak Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is. She isn’t some routine political appointee; her ties to Bush are probably strong enough that if she told the President she would staff her own department or resign she could probably get away with it. But that would mean quarreling with the Vice President, and Sec. Rice just doesn’t have the belly for that.

    Reply

  61. Dennis says:

    This is the most sorry damned congress this country has ever had. They have all kinds of check and balance powers to steer a straight path for this country, but they’re too busy jocking for “position” and playing “politics” to be effective.
    And the courts are becoming not a damned bit better about bowing to politics either. “Liberty and justice for all” hell!
    You don’t have to be a blind conservative not to see it, just an ignorant one to deny it.

    Reply

  62. Pissed Off American says:

    Never before has Habeas Corpus been suspended. Never before have the checks and balances of of congressional and senatorial oversight been discarded to this degree. Never before has this nation advocated pre-emptive warfare and nuclear targeting. Never before has this nation advocated and openly engaged in torture. Never before has this nation faced a highly competitive global market possessing equal or superior technologies and labor force potentials.
    And never before has an Executive branch been granted such unopposed power and executive privilege. To compare the crisis this nation now faces with any past crisis is totally assinine.
    Your “civil war” comparison is so off base it doesn’t even deserve comment.
    Viet Nam became a model for a kind of dissent and opposition that has been rendered impossible by Bush’s fascist and unchecked institution of laws and policies designed to still the voice of the masses. The kind of public dissent that brought an end to the Viet Nam war is no longer possible under the thumb of this administration and a compliant corporate media.
    The great depression occured when the United States still had a technological and industrial edge on ther rest of the world community. Should we experience the same kind of widespread financial ruin today, we do not have the same mechanisms in place to pull ourselves out of it. We will simply fall into anarchy or martial law.
    Had Bush or Cheney been in place during the Cuban missile crisis, this globe would be nothing more than a glowing inhabitable wasteland. This is probably the most ridiculous of your comparisons, because you are too young to have experienced how close we came, how truly terrifying it was, and how strong Kennedy’s leadership was in extricating ourselves from impending nuclear holocaust. To compare the leadership of that day to our current crop of inept and evil criminals is just another indication of how ignorant you can be when you attempt to pretend you know what you are talking about.
    Watergate? ROFLMAO!!! You gotta be kidding! A President resigned in disgrace, because the very checks and balances that ARE NO LONGER IN PLACE were employed to hold him accountable. Although this Administration has committed crimes that are FAR MORE heinous than anything Nixon ever did, they are still firmly in power, with virtually no attempts being made to hold them accountable.
    Winnipeger, have you considered just shutting up? I would strongly suggest it. I mean, how often do you need to make an ass of yourself? I would have thought Den had sufficiently underscored what little substance is contained beyond youyr pretensions and admitted multiple personas. Why don’t you invent a new knick-name for yourself, and come back as someone with a brain and a bit of character?
    Try it, you might like it.

    Reply

  63. Winnipeger says:

    poa wrote:
    “Never before has this nation found itself so close to the breaking point”
    aside from the civil war, vietnam, watergate, the great depression, the cuban missle crisis,etc.
    of course, we ARE in a perilous position, but surely this isn’t the first time.

    Reply

  64. Pissed Off American says:

    ‘…….the latest spectacle of the Attorney General saying he is “too busy” to respond to congressional subpoenas.”
    Perhaps he is worried that after getting away with perjury before Congress during his confirmation hearings, where he apparently lied about his role in getting Bush recused from jury duty, he better not press his luck. But hey, Congress DESERVES to be ignored by Gonzales. After all, they chose to confirm an apparent perjurer.

    Reply

  65. Pissed Off American says:

    Steve, “The American Interest” is a fee driven subscriber website. I have no problem with those kinds of websites. But I am curious. Do you recieve a stipend, or some sort of compensation, for providing us with a link to their site? And, secondly, do these sorts of sites contact you with requests that you help them gain exposure?

    Reply

  66. Carroll says:

    And I hate to be pissy yet again but I have said for three years that talking and politics and realist diplomats won’t solve the problem.
    Just think about every single thing domestic and foreign this adm and it’s minions have done from the begining to the latest spectacle of the Attorney General saying he is “too busy” to respond to congressional subpoenas.
    Doesn’t anyone get it? You can’t outmaneuver or checkmate these freaks with democratic tools or diplomatic policy or the rule of law…they just plain will not recognize any authority or power or force except themselves.

    Reply

  67. Pissed Off American says:

    This is an off topic aside. But for those of you that would like to actually DO SOMETHING to shut Ann Coulter’s ignorant and hateful maw…..
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/4/105236/4618

    Reply

  68. Ajaz Haque says:

    I guess sensible people do not have a place in this Administration. Perhaps some people are beginning to wonder if Condi is becoming a realist (by announcing talks with Iran & Syria on Iraq) and want have Neocons around her to keep her in check. Just as Cheney had that bulldong Blunt posted under Colin Powell.

    Reply

  69. Carroll says:

    Shuffling the deck chairs is an appropiate description.

    Reply

  70. Pissed Off American says:

    “As reported in this piece by Jim Lobe, I believe that Cohen’s appointment is in part an effort to get someone past the Cheney foreign policy wing. Rice does not like to do direct battle with the Vice President and views personnel appointments as a way to inoculate herself and her efforts against sabotage from the Cheney team.”
    On both sides of the political spectrum we see serious infighting and disagreement. The Dems cannot seem to reach a concensus on Iraq, nor can the Republicans. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration seems to be jerked and pulled from within, at a time when our nation needs strong focused leadership. Never before has this nation found itself so close to the breaking point, and there seems to be no cohesive body of leadership in place in either party, or in the current administration. It is my belief that this country is in far more serious trouble than any of us care to admit, and there is no telling what lengths this administration will go to to hide the seriousness of our predicament. I am certainly glad I moved out of the urban environment, because this is going to get very nasty, sooner than later. We are truly in deep shit.

    Reply

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