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"To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war."

I know it's wrong to overgeneralize, but I think I've noticed something odd.

The same people who say that we should "talk with" nations and organizations that are absolutely committed to destroying us and our allies are, often, the same ones who will not talk to those with whom they have less fundamental disagreements.

You want examples? No problem. Find how many commenters who say that we should be talking with Hamas and Iran who also support Democrats blowing off briefings with the US commanders in Iraq and refusing to debate each other on Fox News.

I guess I'm not properly "nuanced" enough to understand the principles and distinctions and theories underlying these seemingly contradictory positions, so I'll simply spell out how I think things ought to be:

We should only enter into talks and negotiations when it is clear that there is something we can gain. When there is some common ground, some mutually beneficial goal to be reached, when there is a distinct possibility that we will gain some benefit.

In the case of Hamas, there really isn't much to discuss. They have laid out their goals and aspirations, and they are utterly unacceptable to us. Further, they have made repeated statements that these are non-negotiable and absolute: Israel MUST be destroyed, and MUST be replaced with a Palestinian, Islamist state. In the achievement of that goal, no tactics are to be eschewed, no sacrifices are too great, no action beyond the pale, no quarter to be given. There simply is no room for compromise or middle ground available there. So there is no real point to be made in holding discussions.

In the case of Iran, their position is roughly similar. They want to dominate their neighboring states (Iraq, through the use of proxy "insurgents;" other Gulf states, through threats of force). They wish to possess nuclear weapons. And they wish for all other powers in the area (in particular the United States) to get the hell out of the area so they can be the big dog.

On the matter of debates on Fox News, the boycotting (much like the destruction of Don Imus) hurts the Democrats in the long run. Like it or not, Fox News is THE big player in cable news channels. (And before Lee sprains himself rushing to make the comparison to ABC, NBC, and CBS, I said CABLE NEWS CHANNELS; Fox's competition isn't those three, but the three blind mice of CNN, CNN Headline News, and MSNBC. Try to keep honest for once, will ya, Lee?) Airing and moderating the debates will help Fox, a little (it's cheap programming), but it'll benefit the candidates far, far more as they gain access to Fox's audience. The only benefit to the candidates is in appealing to the Nutroots faction -- one that has a stunningly consistent record for failing to get candidates elected.

And on the briefings from General Petraeus, the commander of Allied forces in Iraq (as unanimously confirmed by the Senate just a few months ago), it's nothing short of craven cowardice. Senators who hear the General speak will have to either accept or reject his report. If he speaks favorably about matters in Iraq, then they are on the horns of a dilemma: do they attack the man they so thoroughly endorsed just in January, or do they accept his words as accurate -- no matter how they conflict with their own recent statements?

The only logical explanation, as many have noted, is that the Democratic leadership has made a conscious decision to distance themselves as much as they can from the war entirely. Never mind their civil and Constitutional duties to the contrary.

Winston Churchill, that walking Bartlett's, gave me my title here: "To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.." But that great man never thought that talking was always a viable alternative to fighting (see Neville Chamberlain), and never turned away a chance to be heard by those who he wished to persuade.

But then, I've never heard that the leadership of the Democratic party was tremendously afflicted with common sense.


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Comments (34)

"Try to keep honest for ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Try to keep honest for once, will ya, Lee?"

I"ll try Jay.

"Airing and moderating the debates will help Fox, a little (it's cheap programming), but it'll benefit the candidates far, far more as they gain access to Fox's audience.

Honestly Jay, that's bullshit. If the mouth-breathers who comprise the majority of Fox's audience won't change the channel to watch the Democrats debate on CNN or someplace instead, do you think there is a prayer they'll actually vote for a Democratic candidate???

Remember Jay, these are people -- not too much different than you -- who think if they watch that liberal CNN for more than 30 seconds the communistic brainwashing they receive will make them strip naked and fornicate with the nearest redwood tree. The Democrats care about reaching that audience? Why should they?

"The only benefit to the candidates is in appealing to the Nutroots faction -- one that has a stunningly consistent record for failing to get candidates elected."

Not in the least, Jay - what the candidates are showing to the rest of the nation is that they aren't going to pretend that Fox is an actual "fair and balanced" News channel. What Fox does isn't "news" - it's lies propaganda, and smattering of facts served up "red-state style" with lots of airy foam and no brains.

Boy, Lee gets cranky when y... (Below threshold)

Boy, Lee gets cranky when you take away his favorite toys. He used to beat the drum of how Fox News' ratings were against the Big Three at every opportunity. Now that I pre-empted him on that one, he's gotta find some new talking point to blather about.

Funny how he chose to attack on new grounds, instead of defending his past positions...

Oh, and Lee: elections are about numbers. Fox News can deliver those numbers. Period.

J.

Interesting that you start ... (Below threshold)
jFO:

Interesting that you start off by saying it's wrong to over-generalize and then go on to do nothing but over generalize.

Who are "the same people" and to whom will they "not talk'? You make a link to your own pots. Very authoritative.

It's easy to generalize and accuse others of "craven cowardice" when they stand by their principles that this is a failed policy, a failed war. I might argue it's "craven cowardice" to pursue a war that kills innocents by the thousands, wastes the lives of our own soldiers and maims thousands more for life. But that would be "over generalizing, wouldn't it?

As for Fox news, who gives a hoot other than right wingers who watch it? We're talking about debates for the primaries. Like the average right winger would watch it to do nothing more than sneer and mock anyway? I say bravo and tell Roger Ailes where he can put it.

If the mouth-breathers w... (Below threshold)
cirby:

If the mouth-breathers who comprise the majority of Fox's audience won't change the channel to watch the Democrats debate on CNN or someplace instead, do you think there is a prayer they'll actually vote for a Democratic candidate???

...and if the non-thinkers who watch the rest of the channels can't manage to find Fox on their cable systems, then they're going to stick with the tried-and-true method of voting for whoever has the best hair or coolest slogan, instead of the best actual plans for what to do...

You want examples?... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
You want examples? No problem. Find how many commenters who say that we should be talking with Hamas and Iran who also support Democrats blowing off briefings with the US commanders in Iraq and refusing to debate each other on Fox News.

Jay --

There's a different between talking WITH and BEING TALKED AT. I always favor the former; the latter is just a waste of time.

There's a different betw... (Below threshold)
cirby:

There's a different between talking WITH and BEING TALKED AT. I always favor the former; the latter is just a waste of time.

...so they're afraid of being "talked at" by... other Democrats?

That's what you're saying, if that's the defense for not debating other Democrats on Fox.

Cirby --I was talk... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Cirby --

I was talking about listening to briefings; that's being talked at...not a discussion. Naturally, if they have information to convey, Congress should get it. But these public shows are not about that; they're about getting support for the war by portraying victory around the corner.

The Fox-sponsored debates is neither; it's not about talking with or being talked at. It's an entirely unrelated subject.

There's a different b... (Below threshold)

There's a different between talking WITH and BEING TALKED AT. I always favor the former; the latter is just a waste of time.

Publicus
That comment should be entered as Exhibit A as to why Reagan won the Cold War. He favored the latter.... and didn't give a damn what the "talking with" mob thought.

Lee :<br... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Lee :


Honestly Jay, that's bullshit. If the mouth-breathers who comprise the majority of Fox's audience won't change the channel to watch the Democrats debate on CNN or someplace instead, do you think there is a prayer they'll actually vote for a Democratic candidate???

Lee produced this prime example of the politics of hate.

In the case of Iran, the... (Below threshold)
Larkin:

In the case of Iran, their position is roughly similar. They want to dominate their neighboring states. They wish to possess nuclear weapons. And they wish for all other powers in the area to get the hell out of the area so they can be the big dog.

Sort of sounds like the Soviet Union in the 1980's. Yet, Ronald Reagan wasn't afraid to sit down with the leader of the Soviet Union and he did just that in October of 1986 in Iceland. Mind you, this was a country that supported terrorist movements worldwide, committed countless acts of espionage against the US, and possessed a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons targeted on our homeland.

Compared to the Soviets, the threat the Iranians present to us is insignificant. They don't possess nuclear weapons, couldn't deliver them to the US if they did, and can only influence events within the Middle East. (The Iranians won't be setting up a proxy regime in Nicaragua anytime soon).

So what is Bush afraid of? Reagan met with Gorbachev in Reyjavik and walked away empty-handed because he didn't get the deal he wanted. Surely, Bush could do the same thing with Ahmadinejad if he had to. Diplomacy is just another tool that countries can use to influence events in the direction they would like. It's mind-numbingly stupid to cast aside that tool with the Iranians, Syrians, Hamas and Hezbollah for no apparent gain.

Speaking of Fox, O'Reilly i... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Speaking of Fox, O'Reilly is really doing a great job of examining George Soros and his power and money influence in leftwing politics and where he's funneling money. He has a chart drawn up to where the money is going and it is DAMN SCARY. And it all leads down to the debunked lying Media Matters outfit.

I encourage everyone to watch.

Larkin said... (Below threshold)


Larkin said

Reagan met with Gorbachev in Reykjavik and walked away empty-handed

Read your history son... Gorby was the one who walked away empty handed. Pershing missiles remained in Germany and the Wall fell a few years later. Read today's obits for just one example of Gorbachev's demise. To characterize Reagan's performance at Reykjavik as a defeat is a) a very accurate recital of MSM dogma and b) to completely ignore history subsequent.

Still rewriting Reagan's le... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Still rewriting Reagan's legacy I see.

How sad. He was one of the best presidents in our history and everyone admits it now.

Get use to it.

mouth-breathers? Lee.... (Below threshold)
marc:

mouth-breathers? Lee.

Ya know, at one time you had reasonable responses in debates here. That time is long past and this comment is a prime example. It was uncalled for and worst of all unprovoked.

Grow up Lee.

Larkin:

the threat the Iranians present to us is insignificant. They don't possess nuclear weapons, couldn't deliver them to the US if they did, and can only influence events within the Middle East.

And that influence would include what?

Continue to threaten/influence Iraq?

Continue to threaten Saudia Arabia?

Continue to support terrorist supporting regimes in Lebanon and Syria?

How is any of the above not a threat to the U.S.? How is any of the above not a threat to any nation that relies on the continued flow of oil via the Hormuz Straits?

You need to get out of your "no threat to America bubble."

Pulicus:I was ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Pulicus:

I was talking about listening to briefings; that's being talked at...not a discussion. Naturally, if they have information to convey, Congress should get it. But these public shows are not about that; they're about getting support for the war by portraying victory around the corner.

Why do you assume there will be no question and answer period during the briefings?

Do you honestly believe a politician is capable of zipping his/her lip when the cameras are rolling?

Help me out with my memory, I don't recall you complaining about hearings called by the dems that paraded 5 Generals (out of hundreds with the opposite view) before a committee because they were against the Bush war policy.

I was talking about list... (Below threshold)
cirby:

I was talking about listening to briefings; that's being talked at...not a discussion.

No, it really isn't, especially at the national government level.

When a General is up in front of one or more Congresscritters, it's more of a Q&A session with the General as the target than the sort of one-dimensional lecture you seem to be imagining.

Larkin:Compared to Iran, th... (Below threshold)
Xennady:

Larkin:Compared to Iran, the threat Al-Qaeda presents to us is insignificant.Iran, after all, has about 60 million people, large oil reserves, an ambitious nuclear weapons program, and a government run by goal-oriented people who frequently promise to destroy us.All Al-Qaeda has is a bunch of lunatics armed mainly with insanity.No reason to worry about those guys! I find it touchingly naive that you believe Iran could not deliver nukes to our soil if they had them.Are you willing to bet your life that they will never figure it out? Finally, you want Bush to talk to the government of Iran and others.Fine.Just what do you want him to say to them? That little detail would be really helpful in evaluating your prospective policy-if you have one.

NEWSFLASH - BREAKING NEWS -... (Below threshold)
jfO:

NEWSFLASH - BREAKING NEWS - this just in from Bill O'Reilly:

"Quick, hurry gather up your children and run. George Soros is taking over the country!!! OH MY GOD, there's a liberal under my bed and he's a CLONE of GEORGE SOROS. OH MY GOD.......People of America unite, look at my chart, it tells you everything you need to know about a woman's sexual organs (really, it really looks like that)!! And John Edward's is now speaking from a script prepared by GEORGE SOROS!!! What's next?"

Really Jo, you ought to consider getting together some of your friends and hospitalizing O'Reilly. That was the funniest 'Talking Points" I have ever heard. The man has lost it, gone totally paranoid and wacko. And you folks wonder why the dems want nothing to do with FOX Funnies?

The same people who say ... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

The same people who say that we should "talk with" nations and organizations that are absolutely committed to destroying us and our allies are, often, the same ones who will not talk to those with whom they have less fundamental disagreements.

Ah, this is the heart of your misunderstanding. The Democrats don't believe that Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, etc. are "absolutely committed to destroying us." But they do believe that Bush is committed to destroying them. Thus, to them the conflict with Bush is the more fundamental and important one.

This is, of course, conclusive proof that they are insane. Or idiots. Or both. So is anyone who votes for them.

I find it touchingly nai... (Below threshold)
Larkin:

I find it touchingly naive that you believe Iran could not deliver nukes to our soil if they had them.Are you willing to bet your life that they will never figure it out?

If you've got some news about their ballistic missile technology that I don't by all means let me know. The North Koreans (who are geographically much closer to the US) recently took a potshot directed toward Hawaii that ended up taking a nosedive into the Sea of Japan. This sort of thing is non-trivial and it's currently way beyond Iran's means.

Fine.Just what do you want him to say to them?

Abandon your nuclear weapons programs, stop supporting terrorism and rejoin the family of nations. In return, we would normalize relations and promise not to wipe them off the face of the Earth.

And before you say this kind of negotiation is impossible I encourage you to study the history of US relations with Libya over the past decade. With Libya, we negotiated with a state sponsor of terror, that was pursuing nuclear weapons and was committed to the destruction of Israel. Yet Bush negotiated a deal with them and we now have one less country in the world pursuing WMD (the crowning but little noticed achievement of Bush's foreign policy by the way).

If it worked with Libya, it can work with Iran. We'll never find out if we never sit down with them. The Iranians have given repeated indications that they want to talk. They see their oil production falling year over year and realize that we could cripple their economy with a salvo of tomahawks. Like Nixon with China and Reagan with the Soviets, we need a leader who isn't afraid to sit down at the table and see if he can redraw the geopolitical landscape eye-to-eye with a sworn enemy.

If you've got some news ... (Below threshold)
cirby:

If you've got some news about their ballistic missile technology that I don't by all means let me know.

They're called "ships."

Big metal boxes that float on water.

Most people have heard of them.

Ballistic missiles are only necessary if you don't particularly care whether someone knows you attacked them, or if there's a really significant time requirement.

You can also use plain old aircraft, since there's almost as little air defense around he US now as there was around the time of 9/11. A long-range airliner worth $50 million would have more than enough capacity and range to make it here from many places.

You need to get out of y... (Below threshold)
Larkin:

You need to get out of your "no threat to America bubble.

Marc,

Do you understand that Iran is a net importer of gasoline? Do you understand that they have a single (count 'em...one) gasoline refinery within the country? How hard do you think it would be for the US Navy and Air Force to destroy that refinery? How hard would it be for us to destroy any port facilities that they use for importing gasoline (or exporting oil) and bring their economy to a standstill?

Are they Iranians a threat? Yes, of course. Can they create difficulties for us in Iraq and Lebanon? They've proven that. But are they indeed a serious strategic threat to our homeland security? Not by a long shot. There's a lot of countries way ahead of them on the list. Countries that have real nuclear arsenals, not fictitious ones.

You can also use p... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
You can also use plain old aircraft, since there's almost as little air defense around he US now as there was around the time of 9/11.

cirby --

I certainly hope you're wrong about that. You mean to say that the President didn't increase our air security after 9/11? In 6 years, no improvement? Even I, no admirer of the President, wouldn't accuse him of that. At least, not without evidence...and I have none.

Oh, and I almost forgot. B... (Below threshold)
Larkin:

Oh, and I almost forgot. Bush negotiated with North Korea an Axis of Evil, terrorist supporting country in possession of nuclear weapons.

If he can talk to Libya and North Korea, why not Iran and Syria? Are they really any worse?

Publicus, you are certainly... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Publicus, you are certainly a liar. You have accused the President of all manner of malfeasance, none of which is he guilty of. What I see here is a bunch of appeasers on the left, who somehow think, as if they were actually capable of rational thought, they can negotiate with people who are willing to strap bombs on children to kill innocent civilians. How do you negotiate with people who blame the victim for getting raped before they stome her to death. How does that shit fit your liberal agenda?

Larkin:Do you ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Larkin:

Do you understand that Iran is a net importer of gasoline? Do you understand that they have a single (count 'em...one) gasoline refinery within the country? How hard do you think it would be for the US Navy and Air Force to destroy that refinery? How hard would it be for us to destroy any port facilities that they use for importing gasoline (or exporting oil) and bring their economy to a standstill?

I suspect I know far more than you do about Iran's capabilities both strategically and tactically from 20 years of both patrolling the area and from a position that gave me access to all the targeting data for every potential target from the coast to the far reaches of the northern mountains.

So sorry, you don't no jack in comparison.

I suspect I know f... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
I suspect I know far more than you do about Iran's capabilities both strategically and tactically from 20 years of both patrolling the area and from a position that gave me access to all the targeting data for every potential target from the coast to the far reaches of the northern mountains.

Marc --

This IS interesting. What special knowledge do you have about Iran? I'd love to know. Seriously.

Larkin:If he c... (Below threshold)
marc:

Larkin:

If he can talk to Libya and North Korea, why not Iran and Syria? Are they really any worse?


Why do you believe the U.S. hasn't talked to Syria? Is it because you buy into the moonbat tripe that because there is no embassy there are no contacts and no talks.

To believe that you have to ignore the presence of a U.S. consulate located in Damascus and also believe all diplomatic talks are broadcast to every humanoid, appeasement monkey and space alien between D.C. and Van Ryans Belt.

Sorry it don't work that way.

On the subject of Libya, not much talking was required after the CIA busted the AQ Kahn network and secondly they "folded their nuclear tent" because of 150,000 U.S. troops were camped next door with the very real threat they were next inline after Saddam.

It's really too bad Saddam didn't follow the Libyan model, or for that matter the S. African model who disarmed willingly.

Publicus:This ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Publicus:

This IS interesting. What special knowledge do you have about Iran? I'd love to know. Seriously.

Sorry, it's "special knowledge", as you call it, that given it's classification can only be discussed in general terms.

Believe it or not some actually believe statements signed when one leaves the service of either the military, or other Gov service, (and requiring security clearances) promising not to disclose classified material maintain that promise. (Berger the Burgler should take note)

However, I can say my job specialty in the navy was as a Fire Control Technician.

That job entails receiving targeting data thru various sources, inputting that data to the Tomahawk missile system. As such there is a constantly updated database on everything of tactical/strategic significance for nearly every country on the planet that may pose a threat.

Larkin:Yes, touchingly naiv... (Below threshold)
Xennady:

Larkin:Yes, touchingly naive fits well (sorry).I know Iran's ballistic missile isn't very good, but why do you think this is only way there is to move a warhead? For example Iran could ship it (or them) to a Central American and literally drive it (or them) across the US Southern border.I heartily endorse your message to Iran-but do you really think they don't know we want that? Libya and Iran are two different cases.First Khadafi appears to be rational.Remember the terrorism he sponsored resulted in an airstrike that killed one of his children.Remember also that the Libya deal was negotiated just after the Iraq invasion when threats of military action by the US were much more credible than today with Syria-visiting Democrats in control.Iran is not Libya.It has been arming the terrorists in Iraq and helping to kill American troops-and we've done nothing.It has been developing nukes with the expressed promise to use them against us-and again nothing.They kidnapped those British sailors-nada.All the while-as you point out-their economy has been standing by to be crippled by actions easily within reach of the United States.I suggest to you that the leadership of Iran has learned and believes that they need not fear the US (or Europe) and can complete whatever murderous plans they have at their leisure.I further suggest that the health of their economy is not the primary goal of that regime or they would take whatever actions needed to get sanctions lifted-like Libya.Hence direct negotiation is pointless and will be taken as nothing more than further evidence of weakness.Believe me I wish I could think your course of action would work-but unfortunately I can't.

Here's a thought experiment... (Below threshold)

Here's a thought experiment:

Al Gore is elected President, and takes office on Jan 20 2001. Later that year, Islamic terrorists fly hijacked passenger planes into buildings, killing 3000 Americans.

Do Democrats and liberals then see Islamic terrorism as a threat to America?

The demographics of FNC vie... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

The demographics of FNC viewers are very much different than critics think.

Many viewers of cable news are news and politics junkies... voters in other words. About 50% of the viewers of ABC, CBS and NBC don't vote.

Any campaign manager worth his salt would not pass up TV except if opposed by Soros, who spent at least 150 million in the last Presidential cycle.

Just because he is spending these huge sums does not guarantee that he is spending it wisely.

Barry:I don't know... (Below threshold)
epador:

Barry:

I don't know about all Democrats, but AG would be so worried about the effect of burning Taliban and Al Qeda targets that he'd nix a GWOT based upon its effects on GW.

I certainly hope you're ... (Below threshold)
cirby:

I certainly hope you're wrong about that. You mean to say that the President didn't increase our air security after 9/11?

We did, get somewhat better security across our borders, but in order to make things "secure" in even moderate doses, we'd have to lock down things so much nobody would tolerate it. There's no rational way to make the borders of the free countries really secure while leaving the countries of our enemies with the same governments they have right now.

It's funny - we keep hearing about how Bush and Co. are all evil and dictator-like, and how they've destroyed civil liberties, but when it comes right down to it, they haven't - and the folks calling for things that require immense reductions in civil liberty are, well, people like you...




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