Carol Platt Liebau: The Un-Seriousness of the Left

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Un-Seriousness of the Left

A piece like this has no business making the pages of a major metropolitan newspaper.

Robert Kuttner is, admittedly, a well known lefty. But his piece highlights nothing but the left's complete lack of seriousness when it comes to the war on terror generally. It's nothing but a bunch of recriminations -- based not on facts, but on falsehoods masquerading as accusations.

Just a couple of samples: " In Iraq, where Saddam turned out to be telling the truth about nuclear weapons and Bush turned out to be lying, diplomacy was forsaken for war." - So somehow, Bush uniquely was supposed to know the condition of Saddam's WMD programs even though Saddam had ignored 14 UN mandates and refused to open his country for inspections; what's more, Bush was "lying" (intentionally telling untruths) when, like almost all Democrats and every intelligence service across the world, he charged that Saddam had WMD.

"Bush insisted that we go it alone. Now, having rejected diplomacy . . . " - When, exactly, did the Bush Administration 'reject diplomacy'? Does anyone else remember those eternal UN debates? President Bush didn't "insist" on anything except that Saddam not be allowed to defy the UN with impunity; France and Russia were the ones who "insisted" on doing nothing in Iraq (as it turns out, because they were getting bribes and kickbacks).

Kuttner winds it up with this howler:

Had Bush used diplomacy to isolate Saddam and to improve relations with Iran and Syria, had he worked as Bill Clinton did for a reduction of violence and a true peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, radical Islam would have far less appeal, the United States would have more influence in the world, and Israel would be more secure.

All the efforts to "isolate" Saddam were doomed to failure, because Saddam was bribing some of those who were supposed to enforce them. Anyone with the sense God gave a goat understand that, like North Korea, the terrorists and radical Islamofascists in Iran and Syria aren't going to negotiate in good faith -- and all our concessions provide is more time for them to pursue nefarious ends at our expense. As for the Israeli piece process, Bill Clinton worked his whole term in office courting Yasser Arafat, just so that Arafat could reject 99% of what he'd asked for when Ehud Barack offered it. Some "true" peace process. Oh, yes, and eight months after he left office, 9/11 happened.

If only we could return to those good old days. Right.

Sadly, that's all the left has to offer. It's impossible even to have a reasoned debate with people who buttress their arguments with falsehoods -- and are determined to ignore grim but unavoidable facts, even as they do nothing but point fingers and voice recriminations.


Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

There are two words that support the idea that Saddam could've been bribed and/or helped to become a more stable dictator:

Muammar Gaddafi

8:45 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

I'm not sure I follow your point, OSO, but if I'm reading you properly, then I would counter that Gaddafi became "stable", if indeed he has, because Sadam got his ass kicked and doesn't want his kicked as well. So it was fear, not "bribes" or "help" that reigned him in. If fear of loss isn't instilled in a despot, that is, fear of loss of his life, you can't count on any bribes or help having any real coercive effect. As mentioned, Arafat had plenty of help, and he received quite a bit of dough, yet nothing came of it.

11:47 PM  
Blogger The Ayatollah said...

The Left - and remember, the Left essentially controls the Democratic Party - blames America for everything. To do so is the core of their nature.

The Left and their fellow traveling Democrats want America to lose in Iraq and the war and terrorism in gereral.

The Left wants to see Israel defeated.

And the Left's ultimate objective is to diminish America. This is why liberals & Democrats are behind things like abortion, homosexual legitimization, illegal immigration, greater taxes, degrading school standards.

Anything that hurts the traditional family and/or our Judeo-Christian culture, the coalition of the Left will happily support.

5:01 AM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...

Such sectarian political bickering is pointless:

The Right have had the Congress, appointments to the SCOTUS nearing it to a conservative majority, and a sitting president for five years.

What have they done?

An unwinnable war for no purpose in Iraq that has forced a near failure in Afghanistan. Only Kabul shows any sign of recovery in that land the rest of the nation especially in Helmand Province has seen a resurgence of the Taleban.

A loss of respect among the community of nations to a level never seen in US history.

A rise in convergence between church and state that would have horrified Deist Founding Fathers who saw the folly and despotism of Christian Empires in Europe.

Imprisonment of those killer at war with America without the due process of a military trial. A crime against the very globe itself, but wait American government cannot be held responsible because it is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court! How is it America is above the law of Terra? What of your morality?

A growing rift between classes, see the disparity in CEO vice worker salaries, that will be the death of the America so many love not some bogeyman of Arab terrorism. Add to this the gift to the mega rich, which yes, all of America would love to be a part, of tax cuts in a time of so-called war.

The scandal of the party in power that touches such "moral" men as ralph reed who fell victim to one of the two dark vices that always befall men who put themselves above the Creator -- sex or money. His greed cost him the stepping stone toward national politics, a state post in Georgia possibly even the White House one day.

A military or honorable men broken and battered fighting an unjust occupation based on flawed data on behalf of corporations who count profits more valuable than the lives of the sons and daughters of American citizens and foreigners who love America so much they would don the uniform of its army proudly. How many of the elite have sent their sons into to meat grinder, how many daughters of privilege are nurses in Iraq?

It is not enough to be right when blood is being spilled and when a great nation cowers so fearful of death it would cast away that noble Constitution a living document loved for its simplicity and desired for its brilliance. The Rights of Men trump all interests in the republic of ideas and that is how many used to see America despite her flaws.

Now all they see is Liberty weeping and the world hopes that in time someone will come to offer her succor, wipe away the tears and elevate the People back to their place of prominence.

"Qu'ul cuda praedex nihil!"

Cavalor Epthith,
The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork

5:50 AM  
Blogger Greg said...


It's like Carol said:

"... It's impossible even to have a reasoned debate with people who buttress their arguments with falsehoods -- and are determined to ignore grim but unavoidable facts, even as they do nothing but point fingers and voice recriminations."

9:18 AM  
Blogger Patrick Goetz said...

"It's impossible even to have a reasoned debate with people who buttress their arguments with falsehoods"

Exactly. She's referring, I assume, to the right wing, the right wing media, and the Republican party, all of whom seem to more interested in spin than the truth.

Greg, can you point to even one thing that Cavalor Epthith said that is not true? If you got just some of your news from reputable sources and not just Fox and Rush, you might not be completely ignorant of what is actually going on the world around you.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Patrick Goetz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Patrick Goetz said...

The folly of your violent American Taliban vision of world domination will soon become apparent even to you. Then again, maybe not. My father told me that even as folks in Germany were rushing to hide in bomb shelters day and night to avoid the relentless waves of Allied bombers there were still a few nut who continued to believe that Hitler was right on. The local villagers tossed them out of the bomb shelter to fend for themselves. Better start thinking now lest the same fate land in your lap, honey, because YOU CAN'T WIN. Your twisted "conservative" ideals are just as repugnant as the those of the Islamic extremists, and consequently repugnant to most people in the world. You think you can beat everyone into submission with military force, but like all wannabe world dominators, you shall fail. Believe it.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...

Pat, do not waste your breath my friend. If it weren't for talking points, the Right in America would have very little to say. I just wish they had fewer action points. At least then there would be 2,500+ young men and women still alive and with their families serving instead of their lives wasted along with a mountain of treasure for a folly that no one can seem to explain.

War on terror does not cut it anymore. National security, nope. WMDs? Please! I would have some respect for the Amerfican leadership of they would just say they blew it tell the truth and move forward and either put 500,000 troops in to eradicate the insurgency or withdraw. Al Qaeda hit America and yes I am sure it scared the crap out of the ruling class who does not do blood and smoke very well. But it passed. Look at America now business as usual and she will survive the next hit too. Technology and the attitudces of people change, sure the 50s were the good old days for many but why go back?

Does same sex marriage really tear down marriage between man and woman? It seems that men and women are getting divorced at a high enough rate that nothing can make this any worse.

And what about Abramoff, the NSA can the People have some hearings about this insular government? I thought Nixon was isolated this is almost Stalinesque! Reagan had an open door policy comapred to Bush.

But I'm rambling and you know what folks? The only response I will get will be more talking points.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

But your talking points bore us to tears Cav. To answer Goetz's question, here's a point or two that is debatable:

An unwinnable war---you'd love to believe this, as it would give your idea-free lib leaders a chance at power. Tell our troops this war is unwinnable. I'm sure they'll love you for it. A "resurgence" of the Taliban is only a surprise to the likes of you. Do you really think that a group with the extreme attitudes like their's would lay down without a fight?

a rise in the convergance of Church and state? Provide examples please. People of faith are only trying to stop the eradication of their input and expressions. We have every right to voice our opinions and should there be more of us than there are of you, our ideas will prevail based on voting results. All you have to do is convince enough of us that your laughable ideas have merit. Good luck with that.

Deist Founders? That's a crock. Most of the founders were Christians and that's easily researchable.

The paragraph that follows seems to have a number of typos, but the gist may be that we are to try every prisoner taken in battle. Which war was it that that ever tool place? Did we try every Nazi prisoner while the war was still raging? Did we try any? Or did they just cool their heels until the war was over? The SCOTUS certainly got THAT wrong.

Unjust "occupation" based on flawed data---give it up, there were many reasons to go aside from the WMD issue which has more substance based on documents now in our possession. I believe it's the blog at Captain's Quarters that is exhaustively reviewing these. And which corps are profiting by sacrificing our troops? Why not be specific in a very public way and deal with the libel and slander suits. You can make your case in court and benefit mankind.

It is not enough to be right when blood is being spilled---what the hell does THIS mean? We should be wrong rather than risk harm? Is this an admission of your status as national wussies?

A great nation cowers so fearful of death, yada yada... Talk to any New Yorkers lately? You don't think there are at least a few who still have reservations since 9/11? Are they unjustified? I hear far too many interviews with members of our military to believe everyone is "cowering". would cast away that noble Constitution... what rights of yours have been suspended? Where have you suffered in this regard?

...a living document...which "Deist" founder ever said it was a living document?

Howzat grab ya?

8:52 PM  
Blogger Greg said...


"...Greg, can you point to even one thing that Cavalor Epthith said that is not true?..."

Sure. I'll start very near the beginning of his first post on this thread:

"...An unwinnable war for no purpose in Iraq ..."

In fact, that's two things.

1) It's untrue that the war in Iraq is unwinnable. Let Cavalor prove me wrong.

2) It's untrue that there is no purpose pursued in the Iraq War. In fact, there are several purposes.

A) Getting rid of an evil tyrant who remained in power by murdering his own people in nearly (isn't it sad that I have to use that qualifier) unprecidented numbers as well as by bribing other governments (with aid money that was supposed to help the helpless in Iraq).

B) Enforcing multiple United Nations Resolutions

C) Enforcing the cease fire terms from the first Gulf War.

D) Removing a government that supported terrorism.

E) Establishing a foothold for freedom and democracy in the Middle East in hopes that it would benefit the people of the Middle East thereby encouraging more peaceful behavior.

F) Shame on you if you need more!

9:01 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

Right-wing clowns are clueless thanks to being spoon-fed fake news from Fox and GOP pundits.

Congressman Gil Gutknecht(R) found the situation in Iraq more bleak than he anticipated during a weekend visit to the war zone, and said a partial withdrawal of some American troops might be wise.

Gutknecht, a strong supporter of the war since it began in March of 2003, told reporters in a telephone conference call Tuesday that American forces appear to have no operational control of much of Baghdad.

β€œThe condition there is worse than I expected,” he said. β€œ... I have to be perfectly candid: Baghdad is a serious problem.”...

9:42 PM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...


1 )The victory the Bush administration, one where a democratically elected government in Baghdad could control the population, even with 130,000 US troops in country is unattainable. For the stabilization of the region, no one would more like to see Iraq as a stable democracy and an ally of the US. Unfortunately, the pre Ba'athist history of the nation does not offer very much hope. I do not know if more troops are a solution at this point, maybe two years ago a doubling of the forces might have made a difference.

Now you have a full blown sectarian civil war. Such a thing would never been the case under Saddam despite him being a ruthless dictator. Many Americans, to keep what they possess, would accept any form of government, such is human nature, my friend.


a)Please. "Getting rid of a tyrant . . " Then the government in Myanmar holding a Nobel Prize winner hostage was not worth fighting for, nor was the corrupt regime in Khartoum. America, since 1958 has fought war for the benefit of large corporations Vietnam, another pointless war, was fought for the enrichment of Bell Helicopter, this war is about Halliburton and oil company profits. And before you mention Haiti the only reason Haiti was ever graced with the boot of an American soldier, or marine was to keep Haitian refugees which are somehow deemed scum by the US State Dept off American soil.

Saddam was a tyrant but the Iraqi people had lights and toilets that flush and relative peace. They would accept a tyrant to keep things level just as America seems to have done so, and would do so to maintain their level of privilege.

b) The same UN that the conservatives in America disdain so? Right only when it suits the colonial ambitions of a wayward foreign policy do UN resolutions mean anything. This sounds more and more like the Soviet Union.

c)Where were Saddam's violations of the cease fire? the man could not fire off a model rocket without a Tomahawk landing on his nation. The Iraqi government was in a box and looking to find a way out, but not via WMDs.

d) Terrorism? Saddam had no control of the Kurdish north which was where Zarqawi and his bunch settled to see what sort of mischief they could make after US troops landed. The lie of Iraqi al Qaeda meetings is just that a fabrication another revision of a history fogged by the need to present facts in support of action when no action was needed.

"Establishing a foothold for freedom and democracy in the Middle East in hopes that it would benefit the people of the Middle East thereby encouraging more peaceful behavior."

No no. Listen, get this through your head. You have America a rich and beautiful country full of all manner of wonders but it is not the goal of America to spread its version of government throughout the world any more than it necessary for the communists of old to do so.

If you believe so much in this ideal then anyone seeking to come to America to find freedom and democracy like millions in central America or even Haiti would be welcomed with open arms. But neocons fearing the "browning" of America seek to cut their own economic throats screaming for restrictions and fines on people willing to do your crap work so they can see the very table from which you sup.

Peaceful behaviour in the Middle East will never take place because of the issue of the Palestinians. Until they have astable government there will be no peace. And btw what about that democratically elected Hamas, government in Gaza and the democratically elected government in Lebanon that includes baby killer like Hezbollah?

f) Well, I am to be ashamed them because I do need more than this. i need more than a government that cannot just say, "Hey Saddam is a bad guy and we wish to bring democracy to Iraq so we choose to invade." Why not try that first or allow the UN, which you support, inspectors to do their job. They could move freely through the nation looking where they would generally without restriction. But Blix and his team were not moving fast enough for Bush and the corporate machine that controls him.

Go get informed. Forget me do not lsiten to me. Buy a copy of "Cobra 2" and go cover to cover and then read Kevin Phillips "American Theocracy" and see the deadly road your nation travels upon.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Cavalor Epthith said...

Sorry about the typos Marshall but often time the words flow from this old brain faster than the fingers can type.

No I do not wish ill on America I wish ill on those that would corrupt the great ideals of America and hijack freedom for themselves to be doled out in tiny doeses for those they would keep in wage and credit slavery. I reiterate if corporate special (MBNA and Capitol One to start) interests and religious zealots drunk on the dream of political power, Doug Coe and James Dobson come to mind, would allow some laws to be passed for the People America could move forward. America has nothing to gain if left in the hands of a democratic party that cannot govern freely. The war is unwinnable as Iraq cannot hold through a civil war as a single democratic nation on its own.

In a nation of 100 million plus Christians and as many as 60 million evangelicals I think you are being heard just fine. I mentioned Coe and Dobson. You know Coe the Fellowship or the Family a group of Dominionists the Jesus plus Zero guys who want no political parties just a nation that conquers the world following the will of Jesus. That is what I mean and that is fascism wrapped in religious rhetoric. People like these would have ovens burning bodies in such great numbers Auschwitz would pale in comparison.

I can stand on the opinion the Founding Fathers of America were Deists. Foremost fundamentalism is a creation that grew out of the depression of the late 1870s in America and gained full acceptance in America's Dark Age the Great Depression. None of the Rapture belief was around then people acutally went to church to worship and all of the Founders fears what government married to religion would give forth as offspring.

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." James Madison

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot.... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose." Thos. Jefferson

"church and state are separate, the effects are happy, and they do not at all interfere with each other: but where they have been confounded together, no tongue nor pen can fully describe the mischiefs that have ensued."
Rev. Isaac Backus

As for the detainees in Gitmo, just set up a court and try them. Do it in secret if you must in the name of national security but allow monitors from the ICC as oversight if they are secret. Pass them on to the ICC after signing the charter how about that become responsible to the justice of the world.

If there were so many reasons other than WMD to invade Iraq why not just say so? Are you saying Bush lied to invade because he needed a good public opinion to do so and "Saddam is a bad guy" was not enough?

When I say it is not enough to be right I mean that being seen as being right has become so important to this administration it cannot admit even the smallest failure. These types of people in power are dangerous. Patriotic speeches at ground Zero do not make up for the liberties that have been trampled in the name of fighting terror. Not all Americans are in the military Marshall many of them faced with a combat situation would have no idea what to do. American military people are the best of you the American civilian is the one who needs a stronger spine, but considering their coddled lives of excess and unearned privilege what can one expect, eh?

The fact that a man can come up from slavery and as a free man to speak thses words tells me the Constitution is a truly living document:

"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."

Frederick Douglass, 1866

5:49 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

It is pure agaon to read such as Kuttner. It is not reasonable to present as fact the following statement:

" In Iraq, where Saddam turned out to be telling the truth about nuclear weapons and Bush turned out to be lying, diplomacy was forsaken for war."

First it evidences ignorance of the definition of a lie:

A statement known to be false deliberately presented as being true.

Iraq was a terrorist nation believed to be intent on developing nuclear weapons for the purpose of using them against the U.S., albeit through surrogates.

That's enough for me. To ignore this threat would have been folly. Amounting to gambling otherwise. Gambling with my life, my family, my country.

I say to you on the left, gamble with your own lives, not mine.

8:16 AM  
Blogger dodger said...

"... It's impossible even to have a reasoned debate with people who buttress their arguments with falsehoods -- and are determined to ignore grim but unavoidable facts, even as they do nothing but point fingers and voice recriminations."

I agree with Carol. It is pure agony to read the likes of Kuttner. Its as if he were writing a sketch for Monty Python. As is the case with others posting here.

Reasonable people know the definition of the word lie:

A statement known to be false deliberately presented as being true.

To continually assert that WMDs were known to be non-existent, that WMDs were the sole reason for removing Saddam, is to continually assert well, yes, lies.

Since the left will not move from those assertions debate is not possible.

It is possible, however, to condemn those who would gamble that Saddam posed no threat. Reason: they would gamble with my life, my family's, my country's.

Those soldiers over in Iraq, I am proud to say, are not willing to gamble. Thanks be.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

Carol is conveniently loose with the facts. The food-for oil scandal netted Saddam $ 2 billion over the life of the program, ten plus years. That would not be enough to purchase and field four fighter jets. At the same time our Military can not account for $ 8 billion it lost during the first year of occupation and it costs $ 2 billion per week in providing security to Iraq.

6:44 PM  

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