Re: I Don't Know How I Got There

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Or McCain's apparent ignorance of the Sunni-Shi'a divide, or his denials of on-the-record statements about his knowledge of economics, or his various straight-forward lies about his interactions with lobbyists throughout his careers. But that doesn't matter when you have this sort of Gore-ian misstatement! Next Obama will tell us that he invented the Internet while still a boy damning America at his sekkkrit madrassa in Communistan.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 5:30 PM
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Leave it to the esteemed professor to lament the fact that there's no dumb n****r narrative running around right now.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 5:35 PM
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Honestly, if this is the best they can do, they're doomed.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 5:40 PM
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Honestly, if this is the best they can do, they're doomed.

Watch that video of McCain and his mom again, B.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 5:42 PM
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He said Fifty-seven ... heh... heh.

And I like how the always vigilant Ann Althouse points out that he pauses and thinks before adding the "seven", because that indicates, well something.

(To be fair, a similar gaffe by Hillary or McCain would be prominently noted by the usual suspects on the Obama side.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 5:45 PM
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4: You can't make me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 5:47 PM
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Ahh. A politics thread. Just kidding.

Those Centripetal tendencies of the Obama umm whatever, as I predicted, accelerate. 16 years.

Hannah Arendt actually uses hurricanes and tornados as metaphors.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 6:02 PM
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Honestly, if this is the best they can do, they're doomed.

Yeah, I think that's right. That's fine; I'm happy for them. They have something to worry.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 6:05 PM
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a dollop of stupidity ketchup


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 6:05 PM
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"League of Nations" was a misspeak, but was funnier.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 6:44 PM
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He obviously misspoke, and people (people for Clinton, is what I mean, more specifically) are just being arseholes, and it's not going to fly, anyway, and some people (some people who are for Clinton, more specifically) are just being petty and stupid and etc.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 7:00 PM
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Related to 2, in typically passive-agressive Instapundit fashion, the only statement at that link which he makes, as opposed to quoting, is, "But there's no Obama-is-stupid narrative for it to reinforce." Well, that plus various forms of "UPDATE."


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 7:47 PM
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if this is the best they can do, they're doomed.

More good omens: the first poll out since the primary has Kay Hagan 48, Elizabeth Dole 47.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 7:55 PM
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13: how awesome would it be if we could send ol' America's-greatest-scold home?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:12 PM
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Liddy makes oudemia want to SMASH.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:15 PM
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Dole's in real trouble. She's pretty widely perceived down here as a do-nothing empty suit who in in way over her head. The key here is that nobody outside of her state senate district has the faintest idea who she is, and despite that she's already dead even with a sitting US senator.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:17 PM
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the faintest idea who she is

Hagan, that is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:17 PM
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16: the pronoun refers to "Hagan", I'm guessing?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:18 PM
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16: the pronoun refers to "Hagan", I'm guessing?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:18 PM
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Guessing's what Sifus do best.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:20 PM
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Why makes yourself crazy with this kind of thing? Partisan goofballs will find satisfaction where they can. This is no surprise.

The real question: if the lakers play the spurs in the finals, can both teams lose and all the fans die? Because that would be a swell outcome...


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:21 PM
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My double-posting ass is pwned: damn you, somebody else's computer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:23 PM
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Conferences finals, to be clear.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:24 PM
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Sure, blame the computer.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:24 PM
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I'll tell you what's a mystery, baa: does the goddamn TD Banknorth Not Garden really provide such a dramatic homefield advantage? Is it the leprechaun or the plate spinner that gets the Celtics all jazzed to turn it up?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:25 PM
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24: I'll blame the browser, I'll blame the government, I'll blame cosmic rays. Shit, I'll blame you! Just watch me!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:25 PM
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can both teams lose and all the fans die?

Maybe if a meteor struck the stadium? It wouldn't get all of them, obviously, but still.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:26 PM
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27 is what I root for when the Yankees play the Red Sox.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:32 PM
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The real question: if the lakers play the spurs in the finals, can both teams lose and all the fans die?

You know you love the Big Catalan. I am constantly surprised, when he gets the ball in the post, that there isn't a cigarette dangling from his lips. And Lamar--how can you hate Lamar?

Admit it: the Lakers are lovable.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:33 PM
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Admit it: the Lakers are lovable.

Needless to say, objectively false.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:35 PM
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does the goddamn TD Banknorth Not Garden really provide such a dramatic homefield advantage

Against the fricking Atlanta hawks?! I am totally at a loss at the Celtic's inability to perform, much less win on the road, and am consequently freaked out. If Wally Szczerbiak looks good against us, Rip Hamilton and Billups are going to go for like 8 billion points. What the hell happened to this team?

Amazingly, the best hypothesis I've seen was in The Weekly Standard -- essentially, that in the regular season the maniacal Garnett drove the Celtics to a playoff quality effort every night, which sufficed to swamp most teams. In the playoffs, every team puts out that effort, neutralizing the Celtic intensity advantage.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:40 PM
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the Lakers are lovable.

But Kobe, their "dear leader," is a sociopath. That takes the edge off the lovability quotient right there.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:41 PM
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But Kobe, their "dear leader," is a sociopath.

And he lost the game for them today. Focus on the positives: Luke Walton is the man his dad would have been had the Greatful Dead never formed.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:53 PM
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Also, I should note this: I don't know what happened in Colorado, and setting that aside, Kobe seems more human than Jordan. It's not like Jordan never did any of the stuff that Kobe has done; he was just better at it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 8:56 PM
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That's fair. And I have always liked Derek Fisher.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 9:22 PM
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Kobe seems more human than Jordan

And Stalin seemed better than Hitler.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 9:25 PM
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re: the post

I swear sometimes I think *THIS* is why Republicans win. They go apeshit over little things like this. Some little stupid thing, but they make it out to be significant and noteworthy. On the other side, no matter what Republicans do, our side reacts "eh, just them being them again....ho hum..." or "hee, hee, they sure are stupid, the little rascals.."

I know I'm being crazy and grouchy. But isn't there a little truth to this?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 9:48 PM
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I think it would be much more productive amusing for someone to try to convince McCain that there really are 57 states now. No, really. We added 'em. You missed that?!

Sidebar: I heard some NPR caller today referencing McCain having crashed five planes while serving in the military. Is this some reverse-Kerry swift-boat meme? The caller had no real sources.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 9:55 PM
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What the hell happened to this team?
What the hell happened to Rondo? The Cavs "pretend Rajan Rondo doesn't exist" defense worked pretty damn well last night.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 9:59 PM
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the best hypothesis I've seen was in The Weekly Standard

The WS has a sports section?!?

And Stalin seemed better than Hitler.

Neocon.

. But isn't there a little truth to this?

Someone made a good point that there is little value to a pure mirroring of the Republicans. We have different bases, and the things we respond to are different than the ones they respond to. Anyway, it's still the primary, and we'll be going nuts, left and right, in the fall.

I know McCain will be a tough candidate, and it will be closer than I can imagine, but...c'mon, he's one million years old. It would be like voting for Mel Brooks.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:06 PM
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Neocon.

Like a bunch of ex-Trots would have supported Stalin.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:08 PM
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What with global warming and all there's been a hell of a lot of bad weather in the southeast this year. What's the over/under that a tornado will take out the Ol' Professor's split-level ranch house in the next six months?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:13 PM
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38: I suspect "crashed five planes*" came from this group/website (and it does look like an analog to the Kerry thing.) The attack seems to be from the nutball right as it includes things like: "Why has McCain been Communist Vietnam's best friend in the US Congress?" (and searching I find that indeed it was set up by Jerry Kiley the guy who threw wine at the place setting of the Vietnamese premier and was a member of the Swift Boat group).

*There may have been 5, although one of them would hardly have been McCain's fault as it seems that his plane might be the one (among two possibilities) struck by an accidentally fired missile while waiting to take off on the USS Forrestal in 1967 (resulting fires killed 134).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:15 PM
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The caller had no real sources.

It's mentioned in this 2000 article. It looks like the fourth was an accident where a rocket hit his plane while he was sitting in the cockpit waiting for takeoff and the fifth one when he was shot down and captured, so not really his fault.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:18 PM
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and it does look like an analog to the Kerry thing

This came out wrong - this website, at least, is not a connection-hidden-in-plain-sight attempt by the Dems to attack McCain on this. (It may be picked up by some Dem supporters though.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:19 PM
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Like a bunch of ex-Trots would have supported Stalin.

Fair point. Comrade.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:19 PM
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i agree i don't think we want to mirror everything, and i do love thoughtful centrism, but I still don't think there's enough outrage. A little more would be perfectly reasonable and justified. (And a pony.)

As for McCain's winning chances...i dunno. I bet y'all have probably discussed this ad nauseum in many a thread i have not read. The more I see of McCain, the more he reminds me of Bush...but an awful lot of people loved Bush's schtick. Hard, cold reality has hurt Bush a bit, but that doesn't mean voters won't fall for the same song and dance one more time.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:20 PM
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43-45: But of course, if McCain had really wanted to avoid those missiles he could have, according to some.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:21 PM
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43: They go back a long way.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:24 PM
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Stormcrow's right. If you people were serious about winning, you'd figure out some way to play up the personal responsibility angle.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:26 PM
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Not a Swift Boat type thing. Though apparently every bit as scurrilously inclined, these people seem to dislike McCain personally rather than as the Republican nominee. If the SBVfT actually didn't like Kerry, they would have started their shit in the early primary process, rather than once he was nominated. These McCain nuts seem to have been going after him early and often. So, IMO, they're honest freaks, if nothing else.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:27 PM
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In a lighter vein, the dearth of sociopath rapists among elite players is one of the many reasons to prefer tennis.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:28 PM
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, the dearth of sociopath rapists among elite players is one of the many reasons to prefer tennis.

Aren't there a bunch of Russians at the top now?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:30 PM
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I highly recommend the article in 49. (So much that I'm commenting again.) Some of the people in the group Stormcrow linked to first met McCain in the 80s.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:33 PM
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c'mon, he's one million years old. It would be like voting for Mel Brooks.

One of my Republican relative's-by-marriage father is an ancient nutball sweet old man who gets lots of happy pills before he attends any family dinner. I'm looking forward to saying "You know, I'd really like to vote for your Dad, but since he's not running I guess I'll vote for McCain."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:39 PM
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44:

Even granting that Crash 1 may have been a rather unlikely engine failure, Crash 2 was completely irresponsible - flying low and taking out power lines. He could have killed civilians, like in that Italian gondola disaster a few years back. Crash 3 sounds dubious, but whatever. Crash 4, not his fault. And Crash 5 - getting shot down - wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been dropping bombs on people.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:42 PM
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53. Serbs are the newcomers. There's still a few Russians, but no one new, I don't think.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:54 PM
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57 was me, or course


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05-11-08 10:54 PM
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McCain's reference to "100 years" was not a "gaffe" about how long he wants to keep fighting a war. What he actually said was that US troops could be in Iraq for "maybe 100" years . . . as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed"

McCain's statement clearly referenced not the waging of war, but the maintenance of a military presence in a postwar situation, much as the US does to this day in Korea, Japan, and other nations.

I wonder why McCain's opponents have portrayed, and continue to portray, his statement any differently. Frankly, I'm baffled, because we know they're entirely above advancing the cause of stupidity, or taking cheap shots.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 1:54 AM
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His answer was his way of refusing to answer the question of how long he was willing to fight. The war projected by Cheney and Bush goes beyond Iraq to Iran, Syria, and elsewhere and really had no designated objective or enemy, so that victory is not even describable. After five years the Iraq part of the war doesn't even seem to be half over. A two-decade hot war seems more likely than not, even with good luck, and people were trying to pin McCain down on that. Every indication is that he's completely up for that, but he won't say so. Instead he comes back with snark and then whines because people are being mean to him.

During the early part of the war, a century-long occupation of Iraq was mentioned only by war opponents. We really have no idea what the objective of the war is, and when we try to guess based on the signs we see, we're accused of paranoia.

"maybe 100 years . . . as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed"

What's he going to do, send out a memo asking people to quit wounding and killing Americans?

You're not baffled at all, GB, just pumping out the same old GB bullshit. You're very clever.

People who want an open-ended iddle East war, more of the same, Bush V and VI, should vote for McCain.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:13 AM
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I guess in your world bullshit means quoting someone accurately, whereas the truth means reading your own meaning into whatever he said. Noted.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:25 AM
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Man, if only McCain had a website that outlined what he has in mind for Iraq.

Bolster Troops on the Ground

A greater military commitment now is necessary if we are to achieve long-term success in Iraq. John McCain agrees with retired Army General Jack Keane that there are simply not enough American forces in Iraq....

Implement New Counterinsurgency Strategy

For most of the occupation, military strategy has focused on securing all of Iraq by establishing bases and conducting short operations from them. Ultimately, this secured only small areas of the country. John McCain believes the current force structure and power vacuum persisting in many areas of the country demands a more robust counterinsurgency strategy. Iraqi and American forces must not only use force to clear areas occupied by insurgents but to stay and hold these areas to deny them as a base for insurgent forces...

Win the Homefront

...John McCain believes it is far better to describe the situation just as it is - difficult right now, but not without hope. The stakes for America could not be higher.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:29 AM
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59

"I wonder why McCain's opponents have portrayed, and continue to portray, his statement any differently. ..."

McCain may not want 100 years of war but that is what his policy will produce so saying McCain supports war without end seems fair enough to me.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:32 AM
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His answer was his way of refusing to answer the question of how long he was willing to fight.

What was he supposed to do, set a guaranteed deadline? McCain almost certainly realizes that committing to withdrawing from Iraq on a certain date guarantees that we will withdraw in defeat on that date. After all, nothing boosts morale like knowing that your boss is canceling the project you're working on.

McCain properly declined the invitation to jump into this interviewer's trap. I imagine he would like the war to be over as soon as possible, but when its objectives are met and not before.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:35 AM
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I imagine he would like the war to be over as soon as possible

That's some powerful imagination you're wielding.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:39 AM
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#62: Yeah, so? McCain is describing an approach that actually has the potential to win the war. Show me where McCain says this approach will take 100 years, and I'll give you a shiny new silver dollar.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:42 AM
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After all, nothing boosts morale like knowing that your boss is canceling the project you're working on.

As opposed to a project with no deadline that kills and maims you and your friends.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:44 AM
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when its objectives are met

Really, given that nobody can quite say what the objectives are (aside from introducing magical freedom ponies to Iraq), much less show any progress being made toward achieving them, it's perfectly fair to say that either McCain intends to fight a century-long war or he's just spouting a bunch of meaningless bullshit. As he has his entire career.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:45 AM
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Yeah, so?

So, let's stop wondering why McCain's opponents interpret his statements like they came out of a crazy old warmonger.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:48 AM
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64

"... I imagine he would like the war to be over as soon as possible, but when its objectives are met and not before."

And since its objectives were and remain impossible this means he supports war without end.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:49 AM
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McCain is describing an approach that actually has the potential to win the war.

What is he proposing different from the brilliant approach we've taken for the last five years? Getting the Sunni and Shi'a together in a room and telling them to stop the bullshit?

C'mon GB. McCain is just GWB without the piercing intellect and silver tongue. You should expect the same results.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:49 AM
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#69: Asking "What are our goals?" would be a much better question than "When do we leave?"

Personally, I think it's obvious that the answer (or at least a big part of it) is something like "To bring Iraq under the control of its own government by reducing 'insurgent' attacks to the point where they are no longer a factor in the daily life of the Iraqi people."

But that's just me. Maybe the freedom ponies factor in there somewhere.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:52 AM
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I was thinking we could "bring Iraq under the control of its own government" by, you know, leaving.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 2:57 AM
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#73: It's perfectly possible that a US withdrawal would trigger decades -- maybe even 100 years! -- of tribal fighting, with no one government-like entity bringing peace and stability to the country. We're aiming higher than that, I guess.

Meanwhile, I remember when the Democrats were wringing their hands about how if only we'd listened to General Shinseki and sent in more troops, we could have stabilized Iraq post-Saddam. Now they tell us that more troops won't even make a difference! It's not nice to toy with people's expectations like this.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 3:08 AM
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72

"Personally, I think it's obvious that the answer (or at least a big part of it) is something like "To bring Iraq under the control of its own government by reducing 'insurgent' attacks to the point where they are no longer a factor in the daily life of the Iraqi people.""

So our goal is to return to the situation immediately before we invaded. A real smart war.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 3:09 AM
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"It's perfectly possible that a US withdrawal would trigger decades -- maybe even 100 years! -- of tribal fighting, with no one government-like entity bringing peace and stability to the country. ..."

Who cares?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 3:12 AM
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if only we'd listened to General Shinseki and sent in more troops, we could have stabilized Iraq

You remember incorrectly. What was being said was that if the Bush administration had bothered to listen to General Shinseki, they'd have admitted that the US didn't have anywhere close to the manpower required to stabilize a country of 26 million people and not gone off to spend multiple trillions of dollars on a fool's errand.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 3:15 AM
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What Apo said. Any remotely feasible plan to stabilize a country the size of Iraq required more troops than we can sustainably field.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 3:16 AM
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It's perfectly possible that a US withdrawal would trigger decades -- maybe even 100 years! -- of tribal fighting

It's even more possible that removing the US military presence would result in Iraq reverting to social form that dominates the region: an authoritarian strongman. But James is right to ask "Who cares?"

Would that more people had bothered to ask themselves that question honestly when we started down this road to ensure the al-Sabah family could continue to run Kuwait, Inc.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 3:30 AM
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McCain is describing an approach

McCain is describing an approach that would require doubling to tripling the size of the force we already can't sustain. In an environment where practically nobody is willing to enlist. And where we're running nearly half-trillion dollar annual deficits already.

In other words, he's not describing anything. He's just babbling.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 3:50 AM
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Who cares?

Halliburton. Exxon. The Sauds.
No other votes count.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 5:29 AM
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I naively would have thought it possible to a) believe that McCain's proposed policy for Iraq would be a disaster, and b) also recognize that the "100 years" quote is being warped out of all recognition. Now y'all may think that this disastrous policy will lead to 100 years of war, or is nonsensical freedom ponies, but that's another matter.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 5:31 AM
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The funny thing, though, is that it's mostly being warped out of all recognition by, you know, quoting him straight. I absolutely accept that the question he intended to answer was "Once fighting has stopped and there is no war in Iraq, how long are you comfortable with leaving troops there?" But no one had asked him that question, because it's completely pointless and no one's interested in the answer. Mr. Straight Talk dishonestly dodged a question about the war by answering a different question about managing the postwar peace -- that he's taking some political damage from people who listen to the words he actually said and can't follow the bobbing and weaving he did to get there doesn't seem like a problem to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 5:39 AM
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84: Indeed. In terms of interpretive unfairness, this isn't even in the same ballpark as the Al Gore "invented the internet" meme, which routinely was (mis-)quoted in the mainstream press as evidence of Gore's alleged penchant for telling whoppers. In a just world, "100 years" would appear in the context graf of every news story about McCain and the war.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 6:03 AM
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I think I'm with baa on this. But who cares. McCain looks suspiciously like Gorbachev with the birthmark wiped off. Until he can allay reasonable fears that he's a deep cover mole, I don't think we can afford to elect the man President.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:01 AM
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GB, the BS aspect of what you said was your claim to be puzzled. You're not puzzled, and your fake irony is crap. You just are more willing than we are to buy the McCain line, except that you don't know what it is any more than we do, because he's not forthcoming.

McCain couldn't be forthcoming because he's a National Greatness conservative who wants the U.S. to enter on a decades long world military mission which only begins with Iraq. He also apparently has less understanding of Iraq than I do. His answer for how long he expects the hot Iraq war to last is "as long as it takes", which looks like a god five more years by now. His answer to whether he expects another war after we've won the Iraq war, or during the Iraq War, is "yes". His answer to whether he expects a permanent presence in Iraq is "Yes". His answer to the purposes of the war is "National greatness", which is basically world domination (the monopolar world). But he can't answer those questions, so he lets GB and others concoct fake answers for him to get him through the election. In 2012 the the situation will be changed, the cover story will be changed, but the aims will be the same.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:04 AM
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Baa and everybody, when was a hundred-year occupation ever formally stated as a possible outcome, before McCain did it? And is it really reasonable simply to assume that the hundred-year occupation of Iraq will be as peaceful as the occupation of Korea has been?

McCain's answer was a pretty clear indication that he puts no limits on our goals or the scope of the war. It was snarky and it's snarky to pretend that it was a serious answer, but if he had wanted to assure us that his National Greatness military plans aren't pretty much openended, that would have been a good place to do it.

I guess that the way the Republicans are going to renounce their past lies about Kerry and Gore is by whining about supposed Democratic lies about McCain. In the same way, once there's a Democratic President and a solidly Democratic Congress, we're going to see the Republicans piously committed to fair treatment of the minority party.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:13 AM
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I think the 100 years of war thing is a little silly, because if I remember the context it was something like 'we'll be there as long as it takes -- 100 years, 10,000 years, however long.' It's about the level of 'invented the internet.' That might not mean it won't be an effective political nickname, but it's still silly.


Meanwhile, I remember when the Democrats were wringing their hands about how if only we'd listened to General Shinseki and sent in more troops, we could have stabilized Iraq post-Saddam. Now they tell us that more troops won't even make a difference! It's not nice to toy with people's expectations like this.

Shinseki said we'd need 500,000 troops to get the job done. Even if we could afford McCain's proposal, we're about 300,000 troops short.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:17 AM
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Why is it silly? McCain refused to give much detail, but pretty clearly stated that his commitment was open-ended and included the possibility of a lengthy occupation?

As I said above, up until now the permanent occupation of Iraq has been spoken of mostly by opponents of the war (with a few trial balloons by Bolton and the like), but now it's on the table as a candidate's proposal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:26 AM
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Follow the money.

McCain wins with his chest-thumping statement of "as long as it takes!" until it starts clearly impacting people financially or their son's face the prospect of going over there.

We need lots of charts and graphs comparing the war's daily cost to certain services costs.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:34 AM
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Regarding 100 years, the defense of McCain has always read to me as, "He dodged that question fair and square."

Interestingly, though, a few minutes Googling suggests that he directly answered the question on its own terms. The questioner invoked Bush's 50 years in order to get McCain's response. Here's Bush's 50 years.

So baa is right, it's freedom ponies for all !

I think baa's sympathy for McCain should perhaps be tempered by the fact that McCain can clear this up any time he wants to by telling us how long he is willing to fight in Iraq to find his ponies.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:35 AM
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Mostly because I think it doesn't play as 'crazy McCain, wanting 100 years of war' but 'noble McCain, recognizing unlike the naive Obama that wars cannot be scheduled on one's Palm Pilot, is committed to doing whatever it takes, because we have a duty to the Iraqi people.'

Maybe it'll become the former, but it sounds to me like most of what 100-Years-McCain does is reinforce the idea that he's a straight shooter who's serious, non-ideological, willing to say what he believes... i.e., silly for his political opponents to reinforce.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:36 AM
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92: On some level, this is certainly true - but then again, it brings us back to saying that McCain's quote really wasn't taken out of context at all - at most, according to this reading, it's hyperbole.

I do think this is why he's made no genuine effort at clarification - Bush's remaining support comes from the 100 years crowd, and McCain can't alienate the nuts.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:40 AM
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92: On some level, this is certainly true - but then again, it brings us back to saying that McCain's quote really wasn't taken out of context at all - at most, according to this reading, it's hyperbole.

I do think this is why he's made no genuine effort at clarification - Bush's remaining support comes from the 100 years crowd, and McCain can't alienate the nuts.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:40 AM
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Not committing to withdrawing from Iraq on a certain date guarantees that we will withdraw in defeat on that some unspecified date.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:44 AM
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McCain is among the nuttiest of the nuts.

The only thing wrong with Bush is that he was too nice to the Iraqis, and not committed enough to America's world mission. A weeny liberal, not a true conservative.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:45 AM
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(a) Not going to be trolled by GB; you people are weak.

(b) Shearer is making sense!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 7:52 AM
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Just chiming in to support Shearer et al. McCain's meaning was very clear: we'll be in Iraq for the foreseeable future, 100 years if necessary. He doesn't get to magically stipulate no violence during that period. Obama could do him one better and magically stipulate no violence, no Al Qaeda presence, *and* no U.S. troop presence needed. Then Belle Waring could one-up everybody and stipulate a pony.

If McCain was saying that if the violence continues, U.S. troops would be withdrawn, then the outraged sqwaks about misrepresentation would have some meaning. But he's been very clear that so long as the violence continues, we'll stay till it ends, then apparently if it ends, we should also stay 100 years, so all together you get a clear policy of at least 100 years presence, violence or no violence. About as extreme a position as you can get (although apparently even he is unwilling to actually call for as many troops as it would take to fully occupy the country and restore civil order).

It will really piss me off if the press get pious about this quote being somehow "unfair".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 8:25 AM
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Sifu is right, I/we really got trolled.

I'll agree with this:

In the playoffs, every team puts out that effort, neutralizing the Celtic intensity advantage.

Plus add that on the road the Celtics "intense, physical" defense doesn't always get the ref favoritism it needs.

Seriously though, decent teams down 2-0 almost always win game 3 at home. Tonight will be the test.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 8:29 AM
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I believe it's someone at LGM who describes McCain's position as essentially, "We'll stay as long and sacrifice as many troops as necessary to achieve our goal of not having any more soldiers die so we can stay for 100 years."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 8:32 AM
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I think it was Kobe, SP.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 8:40 AM
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(b) Shearer is making sense!
except who cares remark


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 8:42 AM
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b) also recognize that the "100 years" quote is being warped out of all recognition.

I don't think this is the problem, baa and GB. I've been basically a low information voter for the last month, just got tired of following everything. And even with my scant news following I know full well the context of McCain's quote. I think it's more likely that people in general know the context. It's simply that even with knowledge of the context, it's not plan a lot of people like.

The truth that can't be denied is that we're over 5 years into a war that most people expected to last a few months. People started getting sick and tired of it a while. Even the thought of more or less peacefully occupying Iraq for the next 100 years makes your stomach turn.

Sadly, I think our discussion of "winning" Iraq focuses far too much on military matters. The military can only aid success, it can't achieve it, of course. And as far as fixing the infrastructure and bureaucracy of Iraq, the Republicans have been running that. The Dems have been shut out completely, to my knowledge. And they have proven horribly, jaw-droppingly incompetent. I don't think McCain would do any better there. Every indication I see suggests he's not interested in that sort of thing - just like Bush. McCain does chest-thumping and intimidation, and think that will win the day. Would Dems do better? I think the door of opportunity is most likely closed, honestly, but in general I trust Dems to be more reality-based and less ideologically-driven in running domestic policy. Of course they wouldn't be perfect, don't think I'm saying that. Just better.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 8:42 AM
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I think the door of opportunity is remains most likely closed welded tightly shut, as it has been all along.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 8:45 AM
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100: I believe it's someone at LGM who describes McCain's position as essentially, "We'll stay as long and sacrifice as many troops as necessary to achieve our goal of not having any more soldiers die so we can stay for 100 years."

That was Hendrik Hertzberg at the New Yorker. (Last full paragraph).


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 8:52 AM
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the


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 8:57 AM
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But of course, if McCain had really wanted to avoid those missiles he could have, according to some.

he could've stayed home, as many other fine Republican warmongers did.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 9:04 AM
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You have to give McCain props for being a sincere and courageous warmonger, as opposed to the repulsive hypocrites who have been ruling us for the past eight years.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 9:11 AM
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I thought the stupid thing about McCain's 100 years remark was that Iraq is a really bad choice for long term basing, because of the wide variety of groups that view the very presence of foreign troops on their soil as a dishonor. Didn't we have a discussion of this already?

Sure Iraq looks like a great place for a base if you look at a map that displays only national boundaries and oil, but if you thought for a second about cultural context, all would be different.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 9:16 AM
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but if you thought for a second about cultural context,

...you'd be a Democrat.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 9:21 AM
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It is perfectly standard not to stipulate ponies for opposing candidates when interpreting their remarks. The McCain campaign is more devoted to working the refs than any I've seen. Long letters about how ads that accurately show their quotations are shameful. Long letters waxing indignant about how very wrong it is for Obama to call McCain a dirty campaigner just because McCain calls Obama Hamas's candidate. The Clinton campaign got pretty annoying sending out press releases accusing Obama of "abandoning the politics of hope" for every criticism, but McCain seems to have a guy who writes a deeply emotional 1000 word letter about every slight. Latest example here. Whine, whine, whine--from the candidate who gets by far the most kid gloved press treatment.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 9:24 AM
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After all, nothing boosts morale like knowing that your boss is canceling the project you're working on.

You know what boosts moral more? Telling the country you are occupying that you don't plan to leave for 100 years.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 9:24 AM
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Telling the country you are occupying that you don't plan to leave for 100 years.

I hear as long as Americans aren't getting killed, we'd be happy to stay a thousand years, maybe ten thousand years. The obvious implications of this to an Iraqi people who don't want us there for a thousand years are obviously not percolating through McCain's head yet. But hey, Obama thinks there are 57 states! Hyuk hyuk, it's like Heinz!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 9:29 AM
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After all, nothing boosts morale in Unfogged comments like knowing that your boss is canceling the project you're working on recognizing the rightness of the analogy ban.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 9:29 AM
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59
McCain's statement clearly referenced not the waging of war, but the maintenance of a military presence in a postwar situation, much as the US does to this day in Korea, Japan, and other nations.

In Korea, Japan and other nations such as Germany, American forces were left in place as a buffer against regional threats like the USSR or North Korea. In addition to those, American was also the lesser evil compared to the previous regimes in Germany and Japan. Our histories and reputations in those areas were maybe not glowing, but were far better than in the Middle East today. We are very closely related to Germany culturally. In Germany and Japan, the war had been devastating; there was neither political will nor even practical ability for organized resistance.

Not one of those factors, with the possible exception of the last, is true of Iraq. Forget about whether it's a good idea or not; McCain apparently thinks it's even possible to have the same peaceful presence in Iraq as in Germany or Japan when the circumstances are completely different? Is he a moron? Has he read a newspaper since 2003? Someone with this understanding of history and politics is a credible authority? OK, so there's a chance that "100 years in Iraq" is not a fair example of McCain's otherwise well-documented nature as a warmonger. It's just an example of him being insane. I don't see how this makes him look any better.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 9:34 AM
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115 says what I wanted to say in 109 more completely.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 9:38 AM
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Hertzberg is the only guy I can think of who came out of TNR undamaged. (Except for the ones who were already shits when they were hired).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 10:33 AM
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117: If I were him I'd blame TNR for my math skills.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05-12-08 12:09 PM
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