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I would find it easier to follow the blogger lead and blame the tyrants and the madmen, and the toadying Fourth Estate, if the populace whose secret wisdom bloggers endorse didn't keep electing and re-electing such people. I don't feel comfortable blaming W. and Cheney on Joe Klein when several dozen million Americans failed to do with politicians what they do with NFL players and laundry detergents -- i.e., look through the lying promises.

Mike Schilling

It was also right-wing Republicans who encouraged both generals and common soldiers to disrespect and disobey the president, and to complain that nation building misued them. One might find this odd in a group which now defines patriotism as unthinking obedience to the leader.

Middle Browser

Not trying to start an argument here, and our politics are probably more similar than my comment may reflect, but just to be clear, I'm curious -- was FDR a madman or tyrant?


Middle Browser, FDR was "willing" to go to war after we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. I'd say that's a valid reason. Unlike hypothetical weapons unleashing hypothetical mushroom clouds at some point in the not too distant future, hypothetically.

Middle Browser

Sweetloaf - Perhaps I read the original language too literally. Then again, that doesn't explain FDR's willingness to pile up bodies in Europe.

My real point is that the language was hyperbolic, inflammatory and imprecise, etc., etc. You can disagree with Bush and his administration without comparing him to a madman or a tyrant. He is neither. Describing him as incompetent, however, is something about which reasonable people can disagree.


See, it's as if we were looking at the blackened and smoking ruins of the White House and were saying, "Oh my God, George Bush burned down the White House!" and Joe Klein snapped back, "You just want the fire to win. You are pro-fire."

Classic. I'll be using that one, thank you very much.


Willingness to pile up bodies in pursuit of a noble and acheivable goal - defeat and surrender of the Axis powers - is one thing. By contrast, willingness to pile up more bodies so this president can avoid the responsibility of pulling troops out of Iraq, leaving the burden (and blame) to the next administration, comes damn close to madness in my book. This is beyond incompetence.


Comparing Klein to Cliff Claven. Nice. Though Cliff took being deflated more gracefully. While numerous correspondents are taking down Klein for good reasons, I also try to keep in mind the source of Klein's so-called prestige: his perch at Time magazine, "then as always the cutting-edge of lumpen-American mediocrity," to quote Nick Tosches. He's perfect for them. Like the magazine he purports to know everything, yet is expert at nothing.

MIddle Browser


Ok, you have lost me. Subjective assesments of noble goals is not the way to decide TO GO to war, though it might come into play when deciding to leave a country worse than one found it. Also keep in mind that much of the worst offenses of the Nazi weren't really known at the time we went to war. We were supporting allies and protecting our own interests. Period. (This is not to say that neither FDR nor Bush thought of the nobility of their actions. It just one of many feelings that should be discounted by the thinker (whether he/she be the president or a voter) when making such decisions.)

As I said before, we can question whether Bush competently assessed the risk and competently executed the war. (And we might reasonably disagree.) We would likely agree on the nobility of some of Bush's goals, but we should ignore those.

With respect to latter comment: "By contrast, willingness to pile up more bodies so this president can avoid the responsibility of pulling troops out of Iraq, leaving the burden (and blame) to the next administration, comes damn close to madness in my book." [I gather you are assuming that the administration will be Democrat - or do you have the same concern for the next Republican administration.]

Anyhow, that is a pretty cynical assessment of what Bush is doing. Pretty stupid plan if that is his goal. If the deaths continue a pace well into the next administration, I doubt there are any who will decide that it's not time to leave, nothwithstanding future risks and nobility of wanting to leave the place better than we found it. No one could legitimately hold this decision against the next administration.

M.A. Peel

Text from a Walt Handelsman political cartoon in Newsday.
It's entitled "phased withdrawal from realty..."

A sketch of Bush saying " sending more troops into Iraq...
...we can bring them home sooner...because the longer we're there
...the faster we can get out...,0,

Kevin Hayden

My ex-mother-in-law's last name is Klein. She also made me want to gouge my eyes out and surrender to the French.

Maybe it's a genetic thing Joe can't control.


Ah - Cliff Clavin - yes, that does take a lot of the sting out of insanity of his arguments and the fact he pretends to be speaking for liberals. It also puts his general buffonery in context. I don't know why Time gives him the "liberal" platform but it is a contributing factor to my losing interest in the publication.

BTW, I also could not believe the link to "the Sideshow" coverage of Michael Ledeen's quote about some of our troops sitting out the fight. That was shocking (but a relief to find it so well rebutted by Carol Avedon/The Sideshow.)

As far as tyrants and madmen....judging by some of the comments, I think there needs to be clarification of "willingness" but I think the argument for tyrant could be made in Bush's case. For example - if the president of a country says he will continue to send troops to die even if no one agrees with his decision besides his wife and his dog --- I would say there is something of the tyrant there - and maybe the madman.


Jill, MB, sweetloaf,

I tried to do some clarifying of what I meant by "willingness" in today's post, but I went off on a long tangent.

M.A. Peel, thanks for the link!

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