David Vance goes west!

David Vance is wowing them over in the States. He now has a spot on Tech Central, on what he calls the Blair doctrine on terrorism.

  • peteb

    Guys,

    Don’t turn this thread into another case-study for Mick’s post here

    Play the ball!

  • Alan McDonald

    OK, Pete, here’s a shot at “the ball.”

    David writes: How can a politician who makes a distinction between “good” and “bad” terrorists offer any form of effective leadership in the war against terror?

    I cannot find one politician in the world who does not say “We good, You bad” about terrorists or anything else. Any politician who refuses to take sides is immediately unelected (or worse).

  • looking in

    The Blair doctrine appears to be telling selected terrorists that justice can be set aside and means found to appease them

    Mmmm wonder why David did not widen his thesis to include the selection of “good” loyalist/unioist terrorists run by HMG to do necessary dirty work…? Maybe too subtle a point for the WASP readership in US?

  • Bill

    [Bill, the ball is the linked article – edited Moderator]

  • Comrade Stalin

    Serious editing there. I thought I was on topic, considering the article is about David Vance. I didn’t say “X is an idiot”, I said “X is a hypocrite”.

  • peteb

    Comrade

    The article is by David Vance, not about David Vance. It’s an important distinction in the ball not man rule.

    As you appeared to acknowledge in a previous thread.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Fair enough.

    I know the chuckies are always complaining about pro-unionist blogging (I usually don’t agree) but this article looks like a friendly effort to promote Vance. I doubt he would extend you the same courtesy.

  • David Vance

    Mick,

    Cheers for the link!

    Peteb,

    I appreciate the editing! Sorry few want to engage in the actuality of the article.

    Alan,

    George W Bush- Ground Zero, September 14th 2001. Clear and unambiguous.

  • Comrade Stalin

    David,

    Got any constructive ideas on the way forward in Northern Ireland ?

  • peteb

    Comrade

    The article – i.e. the TechCentralStation article linked in the post – is by David Vance, not about him. Discuss it, agree with it, disagree with it, tear it to shreds, I don’t care.

    But playing the man, or someone associated with the man, rather than the ball is not Slugger Policy.

  • Comrade Stalin

    David, I know you don’t do debate but I’ll try anyway for the sake of anyone unfortunate to read your rather lopsided article who may choose to drop in over here.

    I did notice that your article mentioned only one of the several organizations that have killed people in the UK as part of the conflict in NI. I’m wondering what reason you might have for completely ignoring certain organizations – particularly ones who are actively killing people as we speak – in an article that is supposed to be a treatise on terrorism aimed quite clearly at an audience in the US which might not be so well versed on the nuances of the problem here.

    If the article talked about “republicans” rather than “terrorists”, since you’ve decided to forget about loyalists, then at least you wouldn’t be open to accusations of bias.

  • cladycowboy

    Didn’t Dubya’s boys fight side by side with the Northern Alliance shortly after ‘September 14th 2001’?
    Maybe there are good terrorists or just brass-necked presidents and even harder brass-necked apologists making a living out of defending them

  • esmereldavillalobos

    To get back to the article…

    “How can a politician who makes a distinction between “good” and “bad” terrorists offer any form of effective leadership in the war against terror?”

    I wonder if Mr. Vance would condemn Mr. Blair for meeting Nelson Mandela, a former terrorist; Ariel Sharon, who some would argue has been terrorising Palestinians for many years; George W Bush, I’m sure many Iraqis and Afghanistanis would say they’re a wee bit afraid of him; the Uzbekistan government; Saudi Arabia… the list goes on. The Chechens would say he was meeting with an oppressor today ffs!

    Good and Bad terrorists are as with most things in the eye of the beholder. The UK government shares cordial relations with many unsavoury regimes with whom Britain has ‘interests’. One would suggest Mr Vance should start playing some realpolitik and wake up to the very unidyllic 21st century.

  • looking in

    instead of confronting the terrorists

    As Comrade notes the article is selective and one sided – when discussing terrorists in plural I would have expected discussion of just how hard HMG came down on the Loyalists – e.g. SAS shoot to kill etc etc etc…..

    but that piece just doesn’t fit the jigsaw he constructs….

  • Comrade Stalin

    esmereld, I can never get a straight answer from DV over his opinions on the past history of Israeli militants. But assuredly, he regards Mandela as a terrorist too.

    Apparently if you drop explosives out of a plane onto a crowd below, you’re not a terrorist. But if you strap the explosives to your waist and run into the same crowd, you are. Apparently, I’m too stupid to figure out what the difference is. It’s been dogging me for years.

  • esmereldavillalobos

    CS

    Maybe if you are white or armed by white people, that’s OK (Contras, S. Vietnam) but if you’re brown or black or not a fundamentalist christian or armed by non-whites you’re the bogeyman?

    Given events in some parts of Belfast over the last couple of years, maybe the colour of your skin is having a new (or maybe just previously unsaid) influence? This was for a US website after all…

    Just a theory.

  • Denny Boy

    Excuse me, but who decided to pull my post, the first in the thread? And why?

    I don’t believe it was critical. All I said was that I’d “read worse rants”. Something not PC about that? It was ball, not man, no?

    My second point was wondering if Pat Robertson (ie the American right) were behind the site. Try ducking into some of the alleyways it presents, for instance the attempts to discredit Supersize Me. It all reeks of the same mentality that is busy messing up OUR earth in pursuit of the bigger buck.

    So … care to enlighten me as to why my post was pulled, and that from “Belfast”?

  • peteb

    “I don’t believe it was critical. All I said was that I’d “read worse rants”.”

    I can’t answer, definitely, on the reasons behind the deletion of your earlier post, Denny Boy.. but I’d suggest, given your description, that ‘irrelevance to the actual topic’ would be high on the list.

  • Newton Emerson

    Hilarious. Now I see why David Vance is the only person in the entire world who has ever called me a liberal.

    Here are some awkward facts: Donald Rumsfeld confirmed in June this year that four senior US officials had met leaders of the Iraqi insurgency for exploratory talks. They weren’t successful, obviously, but they did take place.

    The U.S. commander in the Gulf, General John Abizaid, says US diplomats: “have been talking with a broad range of people from the Sunni Arab community, some of whom obviously have some links to the insurgency.”

    Among the groups that the Americans are currently talking to, according to Iraqi government sources, are: Ansar al-Sunna, which killed 22 American service personnel in a single attack in Mosul last Christmas; the Islamic Army in Iraq, which murdered Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni; the Iraqi Liberation Army; Jaish Mohammed and other smaller factions. And that’s before they’ve even called in George Mitchell.

    I realise that the publicity campaign for the ‘War on Terror’ has greatly consoled Christian and Islamic absolutists alike. But it’ll still all turn on a sixpence the instant that expediency dictates. As long as Iran doesn’t over-play its hand then this is going to end just like every other half-baked war ends i.e. with any arrangement the side that wants out can cobble together to cover its retreat.

    When the US finally gets down to business with the insurgents (and I’ll bet you a camel and 72 virgins that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi gets a gilded invitation) then the dirty deals will make our peace process look like a very minor compromise. Which, of course, it is.

    Sorry there.

  • Denny Boy

    Dear Pete, I’m tired and ready for bed. Got to face a sea of unenlightened but keen souls tomorrow.

    But since you’ve gone and pulled my “irrelevant” post for the second time, perhaps you’d do me the courtesy of explaining why.

    What is actually wrong (or irrelevant) about my saying about Mr Vance’s article that I had “read worse rants”?

    Does this mean that I may not comment on the quality of articles you or Mick or anybody else blog here? And since when?

    I do feel I’m entitled to some kind of explanation.

  • esmereldavillalobos

    Maybe if Bush dismantles an observation post in Tikrit, al-Zaquawi will give him a few photos of decommissioned suicide bombers (verifiably beyond use), witnessed by the Pope and Dalai Lama and then the Kurds will say the witnesses have been duped. al-Zaquawi becomes minister of education, Bush and Blair get the Nobel peace prize and they all live hapilly ever after.

  • EWI

    “Dear Pete, I’m tired and ready for bed. Got to face a sea of unenlightened but keen souls tomorrow.

    But since you’ve gone and pulled my “irrelevant” post for the second time, perhaps you’d do me the courtesy of explaining why.

    What is actually wrong (or irrelevant) about my saying about Mr Vance’s article that I had “read worse rants”?”

    I, too, had a comment pulled at the start of this thread. It was on the quackery which passes for commentary at TCS. Given that the original Mick Fealty post was about how Vancie is imagined to be “wowing” them over in the States, I fail to see how it’s judged to be OT.

    Don’t devolve into the FI, guys.

  • Alan

    *Given that the original Mick Fealty post was about how Vancie is imagined to be “wowing” them over in the States*

    You’ve obviously misunderstood Mick’s position on this. It is clearly not wowing, but *bow-wowing*, meaning to roll on your back hoping the good ol’ boys in the US will tickle your tum. Or am I just being . . . cynical.

  • Henry94

    I have little in common with David Vance but he writes very well. I’m delighted that the blogosphere gives us access to a wider range of opinion than we got with newspapers. So congratulations to Mr. Vance.

  • Mick Fealty

    Listen lads. I pulled the first three posts last night.

    There was a great poem on Rattlebag yesterday afternoon read by the actor who played Trig on Only Fools and Horses, called “I’ve got a lovely pair of non sequiturs” It was very good. If I can ever find a copy of the lyrics, I’m going to post it in the Slugger glossary.

    It may be a pain for you. But this ‘bad habit’ has been growing feral for too long, and it loses us focus and credibiliy. There’s nothing for but to use hedge clippers rather than the secateurs

    What is so difficult about taking David on in terms of what he says? Newton’s done it. What about the rest of you??

    Stick with us, it will get better!

  • David Vance

    I thought Newton Emerson had given up on the comedy but obviously not – based on the content of his post of this thread.

    First, as an avowed pro-Agreement pro-Trimble “Irish News” “Daily Mirror” hack, that kinda puts Newt in the – gasp – liberal fold. Sorry for pointing out the obvious but this context does explain the rest of Newton’s odd little commentary.

    Let’s dissect it for the laugh.

    For starters, I am amused that Newton never once uses the word “terrorist” to describe the decapitators of innocent men and wmen, the maniacal homicide bombers and the Jihad scum that travel into Iraq. No – they are “insurgents”. Best to be politically correct at all times?

    Next, his idea that the US will be negotiating with psycho Al Zarqawi may be a left-wing wet dream but it’s as unlikely as the IRA disbanding. Oops – sorry there.

    Newton then alleges the US is speaking to ALL kinds of terror groups in IRAQ – and I see he quotes the Iraqi Government as his source for this claim. I wonder could he elaborate on which individual Minister in the Iraqi Govt has claimed this, based on what exact evidence and has the US Govt accepted such a claim? In the interests of journalistic integrity I’m sure our Newt will want to share his sources with us along with an explanation as to why they must be believed?

    Next – in true moral relativist fashion, Emerson suggests that “I realise that the publicity campaign for the ‘War on Terror’ has greatly consoled Christian and Islamic absolutists alike”

    Sorry – was it Christian absolutists that carried out 9/11, Bali, London, Madrid? No – it’s the Jihad boys – our militant Islamonazis which good Daily Mirror reading boys and girls like to pretend don’t exist. And if they do, why it’s OUR fault. Liberal guilt may be designer chic in Emerson’s backslapping medja circles but as a strategy in the global war on Islam terrorism – nah, I don’t think so.

    Underlining all of this is a fundamental schism between those on the left and those such as myself on the right. Newton cannot fathom that we might actually want to fight militant Islam as a profound expression of our desire to protect liberty and freedom. But he should be pleased that the US has the guts to do the thing that his Daily Mirror employer seeks to stop us doing. It’s Dhimmi thinking from the dim left and I stand by the Blair doctrine.

  • Mick Fealty

    David,

    To be fair to Newt, he’s just punched big empirical hole in your argument, and you seem to have ignored it.

  • joemomma

    Usually it’s safe to stop reading at the first outrageous misrepresentation:

    “In fact, the IRA has clearly stated it will not disband its terror infrastructure and instead will continue to expand its lucrative criminal empire.”

    I happen to agree that the IRA will not disband and on balance I feel it’s likely that they will continue to be involved in criminality to some extent, but to claim that this has been “stated clearly” by the organisation itself is a lie.

    Here on Slugger we could take this as poetic license but remember that this is written for an American audience.

  • Denny Boy

    Mick, I’ll give it one more try before I ride off into the sunset and you’ll never hear from me again. If you pull THIS post then it’s between you, me and your conscience, but I won’t be caring too much, having a full diary these days.

    1. If you wish to make up the rules as you go along then OK. It’s your blog, not mine. Only tell the folks first, will you?

    2. In my very brief initial post I played the ball, not the man. I called Mr Vance’s article a “rant”. A one-sided and skewed piece of journalism that seems to have misinformation as its objective is in my book a rant. Perhaps you don’t agree, and again that’s OK.

    3. I actually praised Mr Vance’s article, remarking that, as rants go, it was not the worst I’d read. It’s actually well written, as Henry94 also points out. So how does praising a blog break your rules? (See “1.” above.)

    4. Part two of my two-line post asked if the site (TechCentral) were hosted by Pat Robertson. This was of course a tongue-in-cheek question, knowing as I did that it’s hosted by James K Glassman. Who he? Well, his politics are not a million miles away from those of Mr Robertson. According to Wikipedia, Glassman is among other things a “Resident Fellow” of the American Enterprise Institute:

    “The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a think tank founded in 1943 whose stated mission is to support the “foundations of freedom – limited government, private enterprise, vital cultural and political institutions, and a strong foreign policy and national defense.”

    “It has emerged as one of the leading architects of the Bush administration’s public policy. While AEI is sometimes seen as a conservative counterpart to the Brookings Institution, The Heritage Foundation is generally seen as having the most influence of any Washington, D.C.-based conservative-leaning think tank. In recent years, AEI has become more associated with neoconservative thinking.”

    A look at AEI’s list of “Personnel” is enlightening. They are not the most salubrious of fellow travellers. This is the neocon, the most right-wing bunch of self-centred nasties you could hope to meet. They are, and I quote Wikipedia again:

    “Lynne Cheney, the wife of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, and an AEI senior fellow.

    “Newt Gingrich, member of the Republican Party and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives between 1995 and 1999, is a senior fellow at AEI focusing on health care (he has founded the Center for Health Transformation), information technology, the military, and politics.

    “Michael Ledeen was previously involved in the transfer of arms to Iran during the Iran-Contra affair — an adventure that he documented in his book, Perilous Statecraft: An Insider’s Account of the Iran-Contra Affair.

    “John Lott, Jr. is an opponent of gun control and the author of a book titled “More Guns, Less Crime.”

    “Joshua Muravchik, is a Resident Scholar. He researches Middle East politics, democracy, neoconservatism and the history of socialism.

    “Michael Fumento works at AEI.

    “Michael Novak is the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy and Public Policy and Director of Social and Political Studies at the institute. He has written extensively about the role of faith in government.

    “Richard Perle serves on the United States Defense Policy Board and the former deputy Secretary of Defense.

    “Lee Raymond, CEO of ExxonMobil, is the vice chair of AEI’s board of trustees.
    Christina Hoff Sommers is a critic of the feminist movement. She is the author of Who Stole Feminism and The War Against Boys.

    “Fred Thompson, the current D.A. on Law & Order and former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, researches “National Security & Intelligence (China, North Korea, and Russia)” for the AEI.”

    Is the above relevant to David Vance’s article? I believe so, in the sense that it sheds light on the Umwelt in which the article appeared.

  • looking in

    David,

    To be fair to Newt, he’s just punched big empirical hole in your argument, and you seem to have ignored it.

    Mick that was the point, clear and simple, that my post made immediately after Mr Vance’s post yet it was seen fit by a moderator to delete it….

    Seems that the clippers are being operated somewhat wildly…?

  • Mick Fealty

    DB and li:

    I’m afraid I’m in no humour for delicacies. I’ve explained why in the post above. The onus is on you to prove relevance, not me to disprove it.

    DB:

    You may not think that David’s piece is worth commenting on. Fair enough. I can perfectly understand why you might think that. As for tech central, well that’s fair enough for background info DB, but what the f*** has it got to do with what David has actually said?

    Sorry for the short temper, but the rule is fairly basic, simple and easy to understand. I’ve had it being asked to explain my actions when it’s me who pays for other people’s right to put their views in front of thousands of readers every day.

    Mick

  • David Vance

    Mick,

    Have to disagree. Newt has punched nothing in anything. He trots out the cliched moral relativism that has been circulating amongst liberals since the day and hour the US/UK liberated Iraq and uses this as a substitute for argument. At a time when apologists for the Belfast Agreement dream of seating terrorists in Government, US troops are killing (sic) terrorists in western Iraq. That is the point here. Bush doctrine = dead terrorists. Blair doctrine = terrorists in Govt.

    Joemama,

    Sorry, but you too are wrong.

    I refer you John O’Sullivan, an excellent US commentator who Mick sometimes links to.

    “Above all, the IRA has not promised to disband. It will maintain its paramilitary structure (justifying its continued existence as necessary to protect the Catholics)”

    Is John also lying? If so, why?

    Denny Boy,

    Got to admit – some great guys on AIE’d board! I do like Richard Perle in particular. The problem is you conflate this board with that of TCS. Naturally I would be delighted if all these people from AIE were on TCS – and trust they read it!!

  • Joemomma

    I refer you John O’Sullivan, an excellent US commentator who Mick sometimes links to.

    “Above all, the IRA has not promised to disband. It will maintain its paramilitary structure (justifying its continued existence as necessary to protect the Catholics)”

    Is John also lying? If so, why?

    No, he’s not lying, but neither is he saying what you said in your article. Thanks all the same for the non sequitur.

  • Mick Fealty

    Empirical meaning “Guided by practical experience and not theory”. In this case, Newt’s evidence that Bush is cutting deals with ‘former’ terrorists in Iraq.

  • Newton Emerson

    I’m mystified as to why David Vance has responded in the manner he has. Did he actually read my post?
    I’ve made no comment on what I think of the American negotiations. For all DV knows, I think they’re disgraceful. But they are still undeniably taking place.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Play the ball not the man but its ok to describe Newton as “an avowed pro-Agreement pro-Trimble “Irish News” “Daily Mirror” hack”?

    That “hack” Vance never debates the points made by any commentators or in any way ever engages the arguments he begins. His usual technique is a self satisfied, badly thought out argument along the lines of Bush = good, Blair = weak and then any replies or empirical questions raised are answered by the the usual ‘oh yes that what’s all the woolly liberals would think in their haste to surrender to the evil terrorists blah blah blah…’.

  • Biffo

    “It’s hard to imagine that the British government..could actually be conspiring with Europe’s largest terrorist organization to subvert democracy in a part of the United Kingdom”.

    The IRA isn’t even Northern Ireland’s largest terrorist group. That gong belongs to the UDA.

    The whole article is just propaganda, and clumsy propaganda at that.

  • micktvd

    David Vance’s final paragraph sums up his argument:

    “The Bush doctrine has been about putting terrorists on notice that we will hunt them down and bring them to justice, wherever they may be found. The Blair doctrine appears to be telling selected terrorists that justice can be set aside and means found to appease them.”

    With all due respect David’s distinction I would like to point out that Tony Blair and GW Bush are both war criminals as defined under international law and the UN charter.The Nuremberg judgment states that international agression is the “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole,”

    A study in the Lancet puts a probable figure of dead in Iraq at 100,000 and growing. Most deaths are as a result of ‘Coalition’ actions.

    Just a reminder to everyone that the invasion of Iraq occured without UN mandate, in the teeth of the opposition of world opinion and as it turns out, with no justification whatsoever in relation to the initial claims of self defence.

    I would try them both. No moral relativism there.

  • looking in

    ROFLMAO

    Though I’m might take the huff and walk off like Mr Vance did last month. Though he couldn’t stay away that long..

    Mick seems to think that I didn’t prove my relevence. FFS we’re verging on DUPesque bona-fides here. The man just behaved exaclty as DSD stated above but somehow as a serious commentator he’s given wide bearth or immunity…

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Damn it at least admit to editing my earlier post! Besides what was wrong with my question anyway? You should have seen my first draft!

    The ‘play the ball’ policy is really ill defined at this point. I never liked censorship for the very reason that seems to now be playing out in the application of the policy. It appears superficially reasonable to censor something to promote the abstract policy goal of substance based discussion but instead it becomes a cover for the application of political or cultural preferences of the editor. I don’t for one minute think that is the conscious intent but it certainly seems to have developed as a consequence. So in the interests of debate what is the rationale for the play the ball policy? And what criteria are applied to a decision to edit?

  • Denny Boy

    LOL

    I think we should all calm down, stop behaving like primadonnas/little children (delete where applicable) and respect the fact that this is indeed Mick’s blog, paid for by his good self, whereon we are his guests.

    Now that I BELIEVE I know the rules, I guess I’ll swallow my Celtic pride and agree to abide by them :0)

  • Mick Fealty

    Duncan, I’m relying on people to do that defining for themselves. Just back off the personal stuff and you can’t go wrong.

    It may come as a surprise to some, but I actually have to earn a living whilst running this site. With what’s left in the kitty, we can clear the hosting bills, but it seems to me people want me to act as a sub to their work.

    Any offers of fees will be considered on a case by case basis. Otherwise, if you sail close to the wind you’ll have to run the risk that you’ll lose the lot, or it’ll be cut to nonsense.

    If I you don’t like it, don’t post!

  • Niall

    Wow, hasn’t everyone got their knickers in a twist.

    Mick, you need a few days away from this site; not for the benefit of the site or it’s moderating policy but because you seems to be raising your blood pressure and taking stupid postings to heart. Sincerely!

    It looks to me like DV’s article could easily be taken apart based on the ‘facts’ presented without displaying ones distaste for the author or his ilk’s opinions (right wing US neo-cons) – this should have been an easy one to comment about without breaking the VITAL ‘ball not man’ rule. I often don’t like the rule when I’m accused of indiscretions but in the calm light of rationale I think it’s a fair rule if applid in an even-handed manner.

    This site brings us closer to discussing things that often can’t be said one to one and therefore is very necessary. We should respect the rules and our fellow commentator even when they are blatantly wrong – don’t forget the more obviously wrong a commentator is the more valid your argument.

  • Mick Fealty

    Niall, thanks for that. Could not have put it better myself.

    The one who, most cleanly, has taken David on on the basis of his argument is Newton. And, (unless David comes back with something unexpected) it’s looking like game and set, if not match.

    That’s the effect of civility. It sharpens your case, and makes it more combative/competitive. And it’s this rather than good manners for good manners sake I’ve been striving for.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    “The Bush doctrine has been about putting terrorists on notice that we will hunt them down and bring them to justice, wherever they may be found.”

    Terms and conditions apply. Not valid in Latin America.

  • Davy Crockett

    “..it’s looking like game and set, if not match.”

    What the hell is wrong with all you Liberal Surrender Monkeys? You sound like a bunch of bleeding heart Sinn Fein Lefties!

    As David says, if Blair puts Sinn Fein into a devolved assembly in Northern Ireland, it’s only a matter of time before he starts allocating seats to the Jihadis in the House of Lords.

    The only people that can save the world now are the US Adminstration and the Ulster Loyalists.

    Tehran, here we come!

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’ve always been impressed by Newton’s contributions but I think this one has impressed me the most – two paragraphs which completely destroyed the article, and caused the author to resort to several pointless ad-hominems before running away with his tail between his legs. I’m humbled.

  • ch in dallas

    I’ve read Mr. Vance’s piece and for the life of me, I don’t disagree. Mr. Emerson points out supposed hypocracy of U.S. officials talking to jihadis in Iraq as the same as Mr. Blair. Talking is one thing, but power-sharing with the unrepentent is quite another. As Maggie would say, Tony has gone wobbely. In the U.S. Mr. Vance’s opinions are a breath of fresh air. It seems that it has gone from “we shall fight them on the beaches” to the PM’s wife suing to keep girls in the veil.

  • Alan McDonald

    The only people that can save the world now are the US Adminstration and the Ulster Loyalists.

    We’re Doomed!!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Talking is one thing, but power-sharing with the unrepentent is quite another

    ch, David used the term “moral equivocation”. You may want to reflect on whether it applies to your comment above.

    In any case, this is not the argument that Vance made. He said that US policy is that terrorists will be hunted down. As Newton aptly demonstrated, the US policy is not that terrorists will be hunted down. US policy is to seek the best possible exit strategy and save face, and if that means talking to insurgents far more deadly and evil than any seen in Northern Ireland at any time, then so be it. Why would you talk directly to terrorist organizations if you had no intention of cutting some sort of deal with them ?

    I’m afraid I’m about to recite another “liberal” cliche here, but I could never take seriously US claims that they were hunting down terrorists while the Al Quaida leadership remain on the run, four years after their deadliest attack to date.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think the best way to get to the bottom of this thread is a question.

    Does David Vance support talks with the insurgents ?

  • David Vance

    Well….I just don’t know where to begin!

    Let’s sort you out one by one.

    1. The Emerson empirical exocet. Mmm…you really don’t get this at all. Our Newt asserts that Bush is cutting deals without an ounce of factual evidence. Would you like to read quotes from Don Rumsfeld and John Abazaid making it clear they see their role to hunt down and kill terrorists? I’m afraid Newt has thrown the usual moral relativist dirge and for some odd reason, this is regarded as game and set, if not match. When he says they are “undeniably” taking place I ask, prove it.

    2. The Lancet article with the outrageous claim that 100,000 have died directly as a result of Coalition actions has no basis whatsoever in reality and has been utterly exposed as clear propaganda. Thi has been covered extensively elsewhere, if not on Slugger. The “Blair and Bush are war criminals” line is unadulterated moonbattery – and highly entertaining.

    3. I am selective with whom I will debate and alas Mr Shipley Dalton does not fall into the category of worthwhile engagement. I’m sure he knows why.

    4. Niall makes some very good points regarding the structure of debate – however I’m mystified at the “right wing neocon” line. I’m no neo-con.

    5. I must admit I thought Davy Crockett had met his end at the Alamo but here he is on Slugger alive and kicking. I assume the lengthy slumber since 1836 explains the obvious political confusion in his comments, but it’s always great to hear from an Ulster-Scot!

    6. John O’Sullivan states the IRA has said it will not disband. I say the same. Yet somehow we are saying different things????

    The bottom line is that Bush at least tries to kill terrorists. Blair wants to appease terrorists. Whether Slugger accepts it or not, and regardless of whatever left of centre spin is varnished on this, the central tenet remains true. Living in Northern Ireland, understanding the Blair Doctrine is easy – unless you are pro-Agreement.

  • Denny Boy

    “Niall makes some very good points regarding the structure of debate – however I’m mystified at the “right wing neocon” line. I’m no neo-con.”

    I suppose we’re judged by the company we keep, and who’s hosting our blogs. May I refer to my post of 11.05? I know I’ll be accused once more of being OT but here goes. I quote again from Wikipedia’s rundown on the personnel of AEI:

    “Michael Ledeen was previously involved in the transfer of arms to Iran during the Iran-Contra affair — an adventure that he documented in his book, Perilous Statecraft: An Insider’s Account of the Iran-Contra Affair.”

    An adventure? Selling arms to a rogue state and using the proceeds to arm terrorists? Yet Mr Ledeen is an esteemed member of Bush’s think tank, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. So the Iran-Contra scandal is not as far away and long ago as we’re led to believe.

    I for one have grave difficulties with this sort of American ambiguity towards terrorists.

  • foreign correspondent

    I have some more questions:

    Did the invasion of Iraq increase or decrease the amount of acts of terrorism in that country?

    Is it ok for civilians to be killed in counter-terrorism operations? If so, what amount of civilian casualties is acceptable? A handful? A few hundred? An unlimited amount? How many civilians have been killed since 2003?

    Should the counter-terrorism operations be allowed to be carried out without the media being able to report exactly what is going on? If so, why?

  • David Vance

    I have some answers.

    1. Since the Saddamites were swept from power thanks to US/UK military prowess, I’ve noticed a decline in the gassing of Kurds and the genocide against Marsh Arabs. The rape chambers are gone, the human shredding machines are destroyed, there is a free press…and millions voted, a novel experience for many Arabs. Is this welcome news or not? If it is, why does that free fearless media not report it?

    2. Should any counter-terrorism activities be undertaken if there is a chance of innocents being killed. If not, what is the alternative?

  • Newton Emerson

    DV is changing the terms of his argument.
    He claims I have asserted that the Americans are “cutting deals” with the insurgents and asks me to prove it.
    In fact I said that the Americans are talking to the insurgents, and my proof is the statements of Donald Rumsfeld and General John Abizaid, backed up by a an Iraqi government source interviewed by The Times in July.
    I stated that these talks had not resulted in a deal.

    My question to David Vance is: why do you think the Americans are talking to the insurgents, if not to cut a deal?

    Do you simply deny that talks have taken place at all? If so, why do you believe that Donald Rumsfeld, General John Abizaid and the Iraqi government source would lie about talks taking place?

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    To play some balls:
    1. Since the Saddamites were swept from power thanks to US/UK military prowess, I’ve noticed a decline in the gassing of Kurds and the genocide against Marsh Arabs. Arguably this had already happened prior to the date of the invasion. No evidence that these were ongoing events that were prevented by the invasion. Admittedly the opportunity to do it again has been removed (at least by Saddam who knows what a new Iraqi regime will do) but to equate the absence solely with regime change is a bit generous. The rape chambers are gone. Under new management more likely as a number of rapes seem to have continued in those very same prison facilities. Although the incidence may have been reduced but as we dont have empirical data we can’t draw an accurate conclusion. the human shredding machines are destroyed never any evidence it existed and no machine of this type was ever found. The story came from one source who subsequently recanted his eye witness account. The fact of this was detailed in the Spectator. there is a free press…and millions voted, a novel experience for many Arabs. Is this welcome news or not? If it is, why does that free fearless media not report it? Then how did you know about it? Personally I read it on the BBC and Al Jazeera so it seems to have garnered some reporting.

  • ch in dallas

    My question to David Vance is: why do you think the Americans are talking to the insurgents, if not to cut a deal?

    Mr. Emerson, if I may be so bold,sir. I have no doubt that the U.S. government is in some form of contact with the enemy under a flag of truce. No honor is lost there. To surmise some sort of cut deal, however, is a stretch.

    Question: Does any one believe The people of Iraq would be safer if US/UK forces withdrew? I can not imagine that they would.

    Your writing though, Mr. Emersom is superb, and it was your story on New Orleans that brought me to Slugger. So Sluggeristas, it’s Emerson’s fault you have a Texan amounst ye!

  • esmerelda villa lobos

    Can open, worms everywhere! What appeared last night to be a commentary on an article designed to play to middle America (ie easy target) has moved into “leave of absence for Mick!” and all the big knobs have come out with their two penneth! Deep breath, Calm down, Dears! It’s just a rabble rousing article!

    Everyone knows all governments talk to terrorists whether they like it, admit it or actually know about it. Some actually fund them (see prev post)! What seems to be getting everyone so het up is that we know about it now. If Rumsfeld et al want to send out some feelers to try an avoid a few thousand more dead sand dwellers and GIs so be it. If Oatley had not talked to the PIRA in the 80’s, we would not have PIRA decommissioning today. Rabin taked to Arafat, Clinton talked to Arafat, never forget we did do a good job of arming Saddam before blowing the shit out of him twice.

    If we engage our Islamic friends and isolate the decapitators they will not wither on the vine, they will go back to the poor and the hopeless and preach a gospel of hate to a new generation. The entire world of Islam must be engaged to show that America is not really the great Satan (Though I’m concerned about Dubya) and Britain is not an accomplice, the enemy is poverty and ignorance. Invading a soverign nation that did not attack us was not the way to do it and we are now more at risk from Islamic hotheads than before the war. The best thiing to happen now is to keep talking and get the quickest possible withdrawl and leave the Iraqi’s to sort it out themselves. Democracies do not tend to work in Muslim countries and I suspect that after a with drawl, the puppet state will fall and instead of Saddam you will have an Ayatollah calling the shots(sic).

    Whatever happens this will not end quickly or neatly.

    Sometimes you look at NI and thank your lucky stars.

  • looking in

    esmerelda villa lobos – that sort of talk would get you hanged as a collaborator or appeaser in the world view underpinning the extreme views expressed/supported by the gadfly in the subject of this thread.

  • David Vance

    From George W. Bush’s speech this evening;

    “Our coalition, along with our Iraqi allies, is moving forward with a comprehensive, specific military plan. Area by area, city by city, we’re conducting offensive operations to clear out enemy forces, and leaving behind Iraqi units to prevent the enemy from returning. Within these areas, we’re working for tangible improvements in the lives of Iraqi citizens. And we’re aiding the rise of an elected government that unites the Iraqi people against extremism and violence. This work involves great risk for Iraqis, and for Americans and coalition forces. Wars are not won without sacrifice — and this war will require more sacrifice, more time, and more resolve.”

    No talk of talks with “terrorists” (or insurgents in Newton speak) As for the misrepresentation of Don Rumsfeld’s comment – print the full quote Newt if you seek accuracy – and as for the Times veracity..mmmm…well, obviously it’s single sources are beyond ANY reproach.

  • esmereldavillalobos

    DV & GWB

    To paraphrase the late, great Bill Hicks: this isn’t really a war, a war is when TWO armies are fighting.

    Also how can you clear out the enemy and prevent his return, when he is within?

  • David Vance

    Bill Hicks – military historian? Nah. I like Hicks but he was best on flying saucers.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    DV,

    I’m genuinely puzzled. I see nothing in your argument to indicate that GWB has any more interest than TB in pursuing non-Arab terrorists. Is there any evidence to support this proposition?

  • David Vance

    Jimmy,

    Excellent question.

    TB has an instinctive desire to appease ALL terrorists. GWB, as you point out, seeks to pursue and destroy the Islamonazi fraternity. Is there any evidence to support the contention that GWB has had an impact of NON-Islamo terrorists? Yes – IRA decommissioning. A clever ruse by the Provos but one that can be tracked to 9/11 and the emergence of the Bush doctrine.

  • Joemomma

    “6. John O’Sullivan states the IRA has said it will not disband. I say the same. Yet somehow we are saying different things????”

    Did you know that the same words put in a different order can have different meanings? Don’t worry, it’s not that tricky a concept, just follow this next bit closely:

    John O’Sullivan said that the IRA had not promised to disband. We’ll call this “Statement A”.

    You said that the IRA had promised not to disband (“the IRA has clearly stated it will not disband its terror infrastructure”). We’ll call this “Statement B”.

    Attentive readers will already have spotted that statements A and B are not the same. I believe you will be able to work this out with a little mental effort, so we’ll leave that point for now.

    You further said that the IRA has clearly stated that it will “continue to expand its lucrative criminal empire”. We’ll call this Statement C. Now let U be the set of “things John O’Sullivan said (as quoted by David Vance)”. Is Statement C contained within this set? Further, let V be the set of “things which have happened in the real world”. Is statement C contained in this set?

    I think this elementary instruction should suffice, but I’m willing to draw a few Venn diagrams if you think it would help.

  • esmereldavillalobos

    DV

    Touche 😉

  • Newton Emerson

    I agree it would be irresponsible in the extreme for the Americans not to be talking to everyone who will talk to them in this situation – but that is where facts on the ground diverge substantially from rhetoric in the air.
    DV’s article was a commentary based on a fantasy. Bush has more sense than own cheerleaders are now giving him credit for.

  • ch in dallas

    And much more sense than his enemies ever thought possible. Misunderestimated again.

  • Jimmy Sands

    DV,

    I simply don’t follow the logic there. I accept that 9/11 sealed off the terrorist option for the provos, but to give credit to GWB for this would imply that you believe him in some way responsible for the attack. The fact that the option is closed off for them would also seem to me a very obvious ground for distinguishing the two groups. The fact that Bush makes this distinction is perhaps best illustrated by his support for the elevation of the odious Pete King (SF-NY) to chair the House Homeland Security C’tte.

    Still not convinced? Three words: Luis Posada Carilles.

  • David Vance

    Some fascinating comments from the liberal left that deserve more detailed response – I’ve written a supplementary commentary on ATW and will post later. Thanks to Mick and the various Slugger posters – to borrow a line spoken by the Psychiatrist from Fawlty Towers … “There’s enough material here for a conference..”

  • Denny Boy

    Ch

    “And much more sense than his enemies ever thought possible. Misunderestimated again.”

    Trouble is that so few of us on this side of the Atlantic know him personally, so we can’t really tell. All we have to go on are TV appearances and newsbites. We can’t differentiate between GWB’s own words and those scripted for him – a bit like Hollywood really – and don’t know for sure who’s pulling his strings, how tautly, and how often.

    All I know is that he looks (and sounds) like a right dork when pinned down for accuracy by a media interrogator. Our impressionists love him.

  • foreign correspondent

    From the Guardian today:

    ´George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month.

    Mr Bush revealed the extent of his religious fervour when he met a Palestinian delegation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egpytian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: “President Bush said to all of us: ‘I am driven with a mission from God’. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.”

    Mr Bush went on: “And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, ‘Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East’. And, by God, I’m gonna do it.”

    And from Bob Dylan, circa 1963:

    Oh my name it is nothin’
    My age it means less
    The country I come from
    Is called the Midwest
    I’s taught and brought up there
    The laws to abide
    And that land that I live in
    Has God on its side.

    Oh the history books tell it
    They tell it so well
    The cavalries charged
    The Indians fell
    The cavalries charged
    The Indians died
    Oh the country was young
    With God on its side.

    Oh the Spanish-American
    War had its day
    And the Civil War too
    Was soon laid away
    And the names of the heroes
    I’s made to memorize
    With guns in their hands
    And God on their side.

    Oh the First World War, boys
    It closed out its fate
    The reason for fighting
    I never got straight
    But I learned to accept it
    Accept it with pride
    For you don’t count the dead
    When God’s on your side.

    When the Second World War
    Came to an end
    We forgave the Germans
    And we were friends
    Though they murdered six million
    In the ovens they fried
    The Germans now too
    Have God on their side.

    I’ve learned to hate Russians
    All through my whole life
    If another war starts
    It’s them we must fight
    To hate them and fear them
    To run and to hide
    And accept it all bravely
    With God on my side.

    But now we got weapons
    Of the chemical dust
    If fire them we’re forced to
    Then fire them we must
    One push of the button
    And a shot the world wide
    And you never ask questions
    When God’s on your side.

    In a many dark hour
    I’ve been thinkin’ about this
    That Jesus Christ
    Was betrayed by a kiss
    But I can’t think for you
    You’ll have to decide
    Whether Judas Iscariot
    Had God on his side.

    So now as I’m leavin’
    I’m weary as Hell
    The confusion I’m feelin’
    Ain’t no tongue can tell
    The words fill my head
    And fall to the floor
    If God’s on our side
    He’ll stop the next war.

  • David Vance

    Yes,

    Pallies would NEVER lie, would they? I mean, that’s just not even thinkable is it? Poor Liberals – they do swallow any old guff in their demented Bish hatred. Did you hear that Bush blew up the levy’s in New Orleans AND caused the tsunami…and yet he;s a chimp..right? Hilarious.

  • Arkan

    Dumbass Liberals. We should round them all up and do what we did with the islamofascists at Srebrenica

  • Dandyman

    Damn!! I was scrolling down through the posts and was about to refer to some of Bill Hicks’ wise quotes on the subject of USA V Iraq, only to find someone got in before me.

    Was watching B.H. Live in London on DVD only the other day…His analogy in comparing USA to Jack Palance’s character in the movie ‘Shane’ – which I have to admit I’ve never actually seen -(throwing a gun to a timid sheepherder, commanding him to pick it up and defend himself, and then blowing his head off when he reaches for the gun) is chillingly accurate..not to mention brilliantly performed!

  • ch in dallas

    Denny Boy, I think you are seeing Mr. Bush through a media filter, and a hostile one at that. That being said, Mr. Bush is no Tony Blair when it comes to fielding questions from reporters. Tony’s skill is honed in the House every Wednesday. Mr. Bush is our Head of State and treated with more deference. I noticed this at a joint news conference. Both men walked into the room, the Americans stood to attention, and the Brits remained seated. Also on your news face to face interview shows, Mr Blair is spoken to rather appallingly.

    Also, talking about the media filter, the ones pulling the strings are the liberal editors. Even lighting and camera angle makes a difference. and again, make up. I doubt Mr Bush does it, but wasn’t there something about M. Blair looking a bit too “tanned” one time?

    I, of course, don’t know Mr. Bush personally, but I do have a friend that does. One on one, GWB has a 6th sense about people, very personable, always gives someone a personal nick-name, someone you’d want to have a beer with on the porch and talk about the damned lack a rain in these parts. Qualities that can make a good leader sometimes don’t come through the T.V. Now, before someone writes that sittin’ on the porch doesn’t make a good leader, that’s where he hammers out a lot of problems with world leaders one on one, in that coveted “invite to the ranch.”

    Foriegn Correspondant, An interview with a Palestinian on the BBC through the Guardian???????

  • Alan McDonald

    CH,

    DandyMan was talking about the movie “Shane” (which he didn’t see, but I did). Jack Palance plays a character named Wilson; the character he shoots is named Frank “Stonewall” Torrey. Here’s the dialog (from IMDB):

    Wilson: I guess they named a lot of that Southern trash after old Stonewall.
    Frank ‘Stonewall’ Torrey: Who’d they name you after? Or do you know?
    Wilson: I’m saying that Stonewall Jackson was trash himself. Him and Lee and the rest of them rebs. You, too.
    Frank ‘Stonewall’ Torrey: You’re a low-down lyin’ Yankee!
    Wilson: Prove it. [then BANG]

    Then you started talking about having a beer on the porch, which is right out of the movie “A Face in the Crowd” starring Andy Griffith (which I also saw and recommend). In the movie, Andy plays a singing hobo named Lonesome Rhodes, who gets his own TV show then starts wheeling and dealing political power around the ol’ cracker barrel. Again from IMDB:

    Lonesome Rhodes: This whole country’s just like my flock of sheep! Hillbillies, hausfraus – everybody that’s got to jump when someone else blows a whistle! They’re mine!

    My point is that the “awshucks” guy is always misunderestimated.

  • ch in dallas

    Hey Alan, That could be me and you in Shane!!!! I think I remember that Andy Griffith movie, because he was so out of character vis a vis the T.V. Show. I know you’re no fan of the President, but I don’t think you misunderestimate him like our European friends. It kills me sometimes, Yale Grad, Harvard MBA, Gov. of Tx, President of the United States, and he’s supposed to be a dimwit. You may not agree with him politically, but why think of him as Ernest T. Bass (I bet you get that one, let the rest google!) Now i wish my nom de blog was Frank “Stonewall” Torrey or Lonesome Rhodes!!!!!

  • Alan McDonald

    CH,

    Part of it is the southern stereotype. Years ago I worked (in the northeast) with a very smart guy from Alabama. I think the topic was “Why do southerners talk like that?” He answered that southerners only put on that accent when they hear Yankees coming.

    “Don’t throw me in that briar patch, Br’er Bear!”

  • Robert Keogh

    Those that are misunderestimated shall be victorian!

  • esmereldavillalobos

    Dandyman (from “Love All The People – Letters, Lyrics, Routines: Constable 2004)

    We keep arming these little countries, then we go and blow the shit out of ’em. We’re like the bullies of the world, you know. We’re like Jack Palance in the movie Shane… throwing the pistol at the sheep herders feet:

    ‘Pick it up.’
    ‘I don’t wanna pick it up, mister; you’ll shoot me.’
    ‘Pick up the gun.’
    ‘Mister, I don’t want no trouble, huh. I just came down town here to get some hard rock candy for my kids and some gingham for my wife. I don’t even know what gingham is, but she goes through about ten rolls a week of that stuff. I ain’t looking for no trouble, mister.’
    ‘Pick up the gun.’ (3 gunshots)

    ‘You all saw him. He had a gun.’

    Sorry I got in first, Dman.

    There should be more Hicks in the Iraq debate even if DV disapproves. Military historian, maybe not but his thoughts on Gulf War 1 are still relevant (and more importantly, funny) over 10 years after his death.

  • Comrade Stalin

    ch:

    I noticed this at a joint news conference. Both men walked into the room, the Americans stood to attention, and the Brits remained seated.

    (vomiting sound)

    Sure, support the guy. But countries which show this kind of deference to their political leaders tend to be quite scary. You seem to be suggesting that the leader never be cross-examined by the media. Are we talking about the USA, or North Korea ?

    Also on your news face to face interview shows, Mr Blair is spoken to rather appallingly.

    Which is excellent – I love it when our political leadership are called to account for their failures. When Blair f***s up, I want an independent journalist asking him why. If anything, it reminds me that I’m in an actual democracy. You guys should try it some time.

    Bush doesn’t like having to explain his policies to the public, without a scriptwriter being present. That’s the fundamental matter we are dealing with here. Has Bush ever got up in front of a balanced audience to take questions from the floor ?

    Yale Grad, Harvard MBA, Gov. of Tx, President of the United States, and he’s supposed to be a dimwit.

    It’s not like he didn’t have a little help on the way, now is it ?

    At least with Tony Blair, John Major, Margaret Thatcher etc you can see quite easily that they had to put their own back into it to get to the top. Bush’s life story is a long history of family string-pulling. Something which is clearly not the case for his father.

  • ch in dallas

    ch:

    I noticed this at a joint news conference. Both men walked into the room, the Americans stood to attention, and the Brits remained seated.

    (vomiting sound)

    Sure, support the guy. But countries which show this kind of deference to their political leaders tend to be quite scary. You seem to be suggesting that the leader never be cross-examined by the media. Are we talking about the USA, or North Korea ?

    Shaw was correct in saying that we’re two peoples seperated by a common language. I never said leaders shouldn’t be cross-examined. I did say however, that out of repect for the office, people should rise when the First Minister of the Crown enters the room, and preface the question with a “sir” or Mr. Prime Minister. It’s common courtesy. Here we address each other as sir or ma’am, even when ordering at mcdonalds. So it grates on my ear when I hear Jeremy what’s his face address your P.M. as “tony.” Pres. Nixon here felt the power of the press. It’s a cultural thing I guess.

    “Has Bush ever got up in front of a balanced audience to take questions from the floor ? “

    I wanted to skip this one Comrade, because of course he hasn’t! I think it has to do with the fact that he is also our head of state. The Founders did not envision an “Imperial Presidency”
    but 100 years of involvement in European wars has put his role as Commander in Chief pre-eminent. You’re welcome. 🙂

    Yale Grad, Harvard MBA, Gov. of Tx, President of the United States, and he’s supposed to be a dimwit.

    It’s not like he didn’t have a little help on the way, now is it ?

    At least with Tony Blair, John Major, Margaret Thatcher etc you can see quite easily that they had to put their own back into it to get to the top. Bush’s life story is a long history of family string-pulling. Something which is clearly not the case for his father.

    Rubbish!! Anyone who’se seen the rough and tumble of American politics knows better. 51% voted for him. Case closed. (However, the fact that you said something nice about Lady Thatcher shows there’s hope!)