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Want to hold the new president accountable?  Want to complete the unfinished work of Dr. King?  Let's start calling the Pentagon what it is:  the War Department.  And let's call Barack Obama's re-appointee Robert Gates what he is --- the Secretary of War --- and a lying bloodstained Reaganite hack.  Is this the "change" many worked for, and tens of millions voted for?

Until 1947, the United States habitually told the truth about at least one thing. The job title of the Pentagon's highest ranking civilian was the Secretary of War. But the recent slaughter of tens of millions in the Second World War had given the Pentagon's real function a bad name. So Democrat Harry Truman rebranded the Department of War, naming it the Department of Defense.  From that day, the Secretary of War became the Secretary of Defense. War plants, war expenditures and bloodthirsty war industries became more benign-sounding defense plants, the defense expenditures and the patriotic defense industry.

Today, with less than 5% of the world's population, the US outspends the other 95% of the planet combined on things military, including a network of more than 725 bases in a hundred foreign countries. The bucks that pay for US Marines in Somalia, for B-52s in the Indian Ocean, nuclear-armed fleets in the Persian Gulf and much more don't come out of any imperial war budget. They're part of the national defense budget.

In that spirit, the president-elect has named what the media are calling his "national defense team". The new Secretary of War is the same as the old one. He'll be Robert Gates, a Reaganite and Bush family operative who has headed the Department of War since 2006.

If this were a just society, rather than looking at another year or two in the president's cabinet, Robert Gates would be well into serving a long stretch for war crimes and lying to Congress. It's really that serious. When officials in the CIA and other intelligence agencies, or high ranking military and civilian suits at the Pentagon lie to us, it's not in the same league as a big city mayor fibbing about text messages on his cell phone or how some contract was awarded. When War Department and intelligence officials in and out of uniform lie, it's about who and how many are, have been, or will be killed. They lie about why they died or will die, and at whose hands. They aren't above lying about contracts either.

Robert Gates has been lying about matters of life, death and empire for a long time. A National Security Administration staffer in the Carter administration, Gates appears to have been involved in the October Surprise, helping delay the release of US hostages by Iran in order to damage the re-election chances of Jimmy Carter in 1980. When Reagan's campaign manager William Casey was tapped to head the CIA, Robert Gates was part of the new team. Casey promoted Gates to head of CIA's analytical division and later to deputy CIA director because of his willingness to embellish and fabricate intelligence saying what policymakers wanted to hear. In a recent Baltimore Sun article worth reading in its entirety, Robert Parry quotes former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman as saying

"Gates consistently told his analysts to make sure never to ‘stick your finger in the eye of the policymaker.

"It didn’t take long for the winds of politicization to blow through the halls of CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia.

"Bill Casey and Bob Gates guided the first institutionalized ‘cooking of the books’ at the CIA in the 1980s, with a particular emphasis on tailoring intelligence dealing with the Soviet Union, Central America, and Southwest Asia,' Goodman wrote.

"Casey’s first NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] as CIA director, dealing with the Soviet Union and international terrorism, became an exercise in politicization. Casey and Gates pushed this line in order to justify more U.S. covert action in the Third World.

"In 1985, they ordered an intelligence assessment of a supposed Soviet plot against the Pope, hoping to produce a document that would undermine Secretary of State [George] Shultz’s efforts to improve relations with Moscow. The CIA also produced an NIE in 1985 that was designed to produce an intelligence rationale for arms sales to Iran."

It's pretty certain that Robert Gates has lied each and every time he has been sworn in before Congress. His lies have cost the lives of many tens of thousands, and obscured the reasons for their deaths. When Ronald Reagan declared that Nicaragua, a country with the population of Philadelphia (minus the suburbs) and fewer than two functioning elevators constituted a military threat to the US, this was the work of Robert Gates. The US intervention in Central America cost at least 30,000 lives in Nicaragua alone. Gates was also at the center of US provision of arms and intelligence to both Iraq and Iran as they fought a seven year war that killed two million people. He orchestrated intelligence reports that deliberately exaggerated Soviet military expenditures and threat posture to justify Reagan's rant about meeting the menace of the "Evil Empire" and his unheard of increase in US War Department spending. After serving as CIA director under the first president Bush in 1991 where he remained well into the Clinton administration.

When congressional Democrats in 1993 refused to pursue investigations of Iran-contra and other off-the-books intelligence operations Gates must have breathed a sigh of relief. He remained at CIA until well into Clinton's first year, and eventually sought the help of the Bush family in getting named president of Texas A&M.

The second Bush administration asked Gates to serve on its Iraq Study Commission, which advocated permanent bases, the privatization of Iraqi oil, and the maintenance of tens of thousands of US troops in-country for the foreseeable future. From there, Gates was named deputy, and eventually successor to Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of War. As late as last year, when Alan Greenspan admitted what everybody has always known, that the Iraq war was about the oil, stupid, Gates ran to the press to say:

"I know the same allegation was made about the Gulf War in 1991, and I just don't believe it's true."

"I think that it's really about stability in the Gulf. It's about rogue regimes trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. It's about aggressive dictators," Gates said.

"After all, Saddam Hussein launched wars against several of his neighbors," Gates said. "He was trying to develop weapons of mass destruction."

Sure he's lying. But it's supposed to be OK. Robert Gates is, after all, a lifetime member of the nation's bipartisan foreign policy elite. He could have been just following orders, and his orders at the time were to protect his boss George Bush. Although he took sides against his boss Jimmy Carter back in the day, maybe Gates has learned his lesson. Maybe now the Secretary of War will lie to us with his old Reagan-era enthusiasm on behalf of his new boss Barack Obama. Or maybe not. The question is, whether Robert Gates is lying for his current, his past or his future bosses, as long as his lips are moving in public, who's the winner? Not peace, not democracy. Not change, and certainly not the legacy of Dr. King, whose mantle Barack Obama dons at every opportune moment.

Not a few Obama supporters are wringing their hands at the selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. The Secretary of State, according to its own web site, has fewer than 5,000 employees. But the Department of War employs more than two million uniformed personnel, hundreds of thousands of civilians, an undisclosed six figure number of armed mercenaries, and thousands of contractors with millions more employees. The Pentagon disposes of tens or hundreds of billions in secret budgets which are accountable to nobody, not even Congress, and it fields at least half a dozen intelligence agencies, along with a far-flung network of secret prisons and torturers to staff them. It's not hard to see where the real power is, and where it will remain despite the new administration's promise of "change". The only question remaining is how this vast, unaccountable and fundamentally anti-democratic machinery will be employed by the new administration. Here's a clue.

Millions of Barack Obama's voters are under the impression that he will speedily withdraw US troops from Iraq. For them, the appointment of Robert Gates is not a good sign, but it is consistent with the gap between what Obama's most ardent supporters persuade themselves that they hear, and what the president-elect and his advisors have actually said all along. As the New York Times admitted last week.

"...While Mr. Obama’s most heartfelt supporters in the antiwar movement may have heard "end the war" as a promise to end the American troop presence in Iraq in 16 months, the president-elect has spoken only of a timeline for withdrawing combat troops, not all American forces."

Fifteen American combat brigades are in Iraq, but the total number of American troops there amounts to the equivalent of more than 50 brigades, including forces there on missions to support, supply, transport, protect and care for the combat forces, and train and support the Iraqi security forces, which would be expected to continue at least through 2011...

Some Army planners predict that 30,000 to 50,000 — and as many as 70,000 — American troops will remain in support and training missions well into late 2011, and beyond, should the Iraqis invite them.

Pegging the US force in Iraq at 50 brigades leaves out a nearly equivalent number of mercenaries. If their number is only half that of US uniformed troops, we're looking at the equivalent of 75 brigades. President-elect Obama pledges to withdraw 15 of these, and only if conditions permit, if the Iraqis "step up", if commanders on the ground think it's wise, and so on.

Clearly there will have to be a lot more lies told before this is over. Perhaps the president-elect believes he needs a brazen and proficient lying bureaucrat at the War Department. But is this what the American people need? Is this what they voted for?

Journalist I.F. Stone reminded us a half century ago that "all governments lie". But chances are, he didn't mean this the way some of the president-elect's supporters will, as a reason to excuse rather than oppose whatever lies our First Black President and his appointees are inclined to tell us --- for our own good, of course. If we still have principles, souls and backbones of our own, we must always question and we can never excuse lies told us for the sake of empire, no matter who tells them.

If any glimmer of an independent movement for peace and justice still exists, it's time for us to engage in our own rebranding exercise. Activists who aim to carry on the work of Dr. King and the movement he led must take the lead in de-legitimizing the institutions that exist to lie and deceive us along with their functionaries. It'll be easy. All we have to do is tell the truth, and demand the truth from our government. As a beginning, we should insist on calling Mr. Robert Gates exactly what he is in all our conversations, our articles, emails and blogs, our ordinary public and private discourse. He is the Secretary of War,. a bloodstained Reaganite hack, and career liar.

Atlanta-based Bruce Dixon is zumbi50, and managing editor at Black Agenda Report and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.   This was published December 3, 2008 at www.blackagendareport.com

Originally posted to zumbi50 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:10 AM PST.

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We should call the Pentagon

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46%52 votes

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bold and Powerful. Right words for the time. (5+ / 0-)

    The commander in chief sanctions to war though.

    42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot. A Wrightism

    by publicv on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:12:56 AM PST

  •  Yawn and Gates (34+ / 0-)

    Reporting from Washington -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he accepted President-elect Barack Obama's approach to scheduled troop reductions in Iraq, arguing Tuesday that the hotly debated subject of timelines for withdrawal largely had been settled by a new U.S.-Iraq security agreement....."He did talk about the 16 months in terms of combat forces," Gates said. "But he also talked about a responsible drawdown and that he was willing to listen to the commanders."

    http://www.latimes.com/...

    Do you know what management is, and how it works? You tell people to do things, and they work in it.
    President: Do this.
    Cabinet: Yes Sir.

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win - Gandhi

    by mysticlaker on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:14:24 AM PST

    •  Curious (14+ / 0-)

      You've got quite a few recs on this comment.  Do people just not like this Obama-critizing diary and are happy to rec comments that bash it, or do people genuinely believe that the opinions, histories, and philosophies of the people at the highest level of government have no effect on policy?  Do people seriously believe that every person in the federal government is just a cypher carrying out every thought received from on high?

      I would that such naivete will not last too long on this site.  Whether or not you agree with this dairy, the personality and opinons of the Cabinet secretaries will have dramatic effects on US policy and on your lives for years to come, and it is foolish to pretend otherwise.  

      •  That's pretty much why I so rarely post here (8+ / 0-)

        People recommend what they agree with, it's as simple as that.  If you swim against the tide, you can post here, but this is what you get.

        That's the way it works.

        •  Is that inappropriate? (5+ / 0-)

          I think it's completely reasonable for people to recommend comments they agree with, and withhold recommendations from comments they disagree with.  As long as they don't hide comments simply because they disagree with the content, I don't think there's any violation of the spirit of the rating system going on.

          I frequently post contrarian views here and I don't expect to receive recommendations for them.

          John McCain, you are _not_ my friend.

          by LarryInNYC on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:26:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  lots of people disagree with me and my posts (5+ / 0-)

          And I really don't care. It's what makes it a community. Dissenting views and opinions.

          I just don't agree with yours on it, and it's nothing personal. I think Obama is delivering exactly what he promised so far.

          First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win - Gandhi

          by mysticlaker on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:36:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  So, to agree with the post... and disagree with (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jalenth, sgwhiteinfla

        ... you and the original diary... means that one is just a yes-man for Obama???

        They must be "naive" and "foolish"???

        They must simply "believe that every person in the federal government is just a cypher carrying out every thought received from on high that"???

        This is quite the false dilemma that you have engaged in.

        I have ceased to become surpised by the illogic that comes from those that believe themselves to be quite logical.

        "If Bill-O collapsed into his own sphincter, like an imploding dark star, and disappeared forever...would we care?..." - Liberal AND Proud, Crooks and Liars

        by Rich Santoro on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:34:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well (0+ / 0-)

          First off, I don't agree with the diary, so you'll have a tough time agreeing with both me and the diary.

          But I posed the question as to why the comment got so many recs, and posed 2 possible answers, either because people don't like the diary as critizing Obama, or they generally believe government officials are no more than cyphers.

          If you have a comment on or argument with either answer, or if you have an alternate answer, feel free to post it.  

          •  One could agree w/ you... and one could agree w/ (0+ / 0-)

            The diary on separate grounds...

            Now, the point is, you are creating a false dilemma (classic fallacy) by suggesting that there are only two possibilities as to why so many people recc'ed mysticlaker's post:

            Perhaps people fully disagree with the notion implied by "Is this the "change" many worked for, and tens of millions voted for?"... which suggests that Obama is renegging on his campaign platform.

            Maybe they don't believe the conspiracy theory that Gates was involved in the 1980 October surprise...

            nor the suggestion that Obama's current direction is somehow directly at odds with Dr. King's work...

            or that we should be up in arms about rebranding the DOD to the DOW...

            Maybe they believe that Obama will be a strong leader that is capable of having people in his cabinet who are ideologically distinct from him, yet is still able to drive his own agenda...

            Maybe, just maybe those that recc'ed mysticlaker's post aren't naive, foolish, nor wrongly consider cabinent members to be cyphers.

            "If Bill-O collapsed into his own sphincter, like an imploding dark star, and disappeared forever...would we care?..." - Liberal AND Proud, Crooks and Liars

            by Rich Santoro on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:18:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  And... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zumbi50

              Why did they rec mysticlaker's post, which contained none of the point you describe?  You seem to agree with a hypothesis of mine, that people were simply reccing this comment to show they don't like the diary, rather than for the substance of the comment itself.

              •  I can not speak for those that... (0+ / 0-)

                ... recc'ed the post.  Perhaps they disagreed with the diary on the precise grounds that mysticlaker posted, thus the rec.

                Following from that, my point is that you attempted to account for the rec's by fallaciously providing only two scenarios that would explain them... while other possibilites are there.  You suggested...

                1. do people just not like this Obama-critizing diary and are happy to rec comments that bash it
                1. do people genuinely believe that the opinions, histories, and philosophies of the people at the highest level of government have no effect on policy?  Do people seriously believe that every person in the federal government is just a cypher carrying out every thought received from on high?

                It is possible that people do think that "the opinions, histories, and philosophies of the people at the highest level of government have AN effect on policy" but Obama will yet be able to effectively drive his agenda, in spite of any diffrences of opinion, via the use of these very talented and experience persons (again, despite differences of opinion)...

                It is also possible that people do NOT "seriously believe that every person in the federal government is just a cypher carrying out every thought received from on high"... but rather respect the professional standards of those selected to hold cabinent offices.

                "If Bill-O collapsed into his own sphincter, like an imploding dark star, and disappeared forever...would we care?..." - Liberal AND Proud, Crooks and Liars

                by Rich Santoro on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:30:52 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sigh (0+ / 0-)

                  At some point this just gets silly.  The commenter said:

                  Do you know what management is, and how it works? You tell people to do things, and they work in it.
                  President: Do this.
                  Cabinet: Yes Sir.

                  So, nothing in his post suggested that cabinet officials had "an" effect (as you say).  Rather he suggested that Cabinet officials only follow orders.

                  I asked whether people actually believed that, or were just generally expressing dislike of the diary.

                  You, with a strange pedantry, have decide to attempt a logical proof that my 2-paragraph post did not cover all possible range beliefs that the human condition could allow for.

                  I freely accept the accusation.  But in the meantime, you have been utterly unable to answer my question, so I will hope someone less pedantic will offer me an answer.

                  Cheers.

                  •  Yes... you are correct... (0+ / 0-)

                    It was a overly-simple explanation by mysticlaker... but I will take it down a notch, and attempt to answer your question:

                    I recc'ed the post because I agreed with mysticlaker's general implication that the president is the boss and the concerns expressed by the dairist are off-base, as seen in the Gates quote posted by mysiclaker.

                    I concede that I charged after your comments with a certain zeal, as I took exception to your closed set of explanations that reduced me to either being a blind Obama supporter, or a fool.  I found that to be rather pedantic.

                    I will grow some thicker skin, and ask that you accept my apology.

                    "If Bill-O collapsed into his own sphincter, like an imploding dark star, and disappeared forever...would we care?..." - Liberal AND Proud, Crooks and Liars

                    by Rich Santoro on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:15:12 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Can you think of a Cabinet Secretary who (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, Rich Santoro

        significantly changed their President's fundamental views on any issue and convinced them to make policy decisions that were directly in opposition to their campaign pledges?  My problem with all of these diaries that in my own opinion are control diaries is that they all seem to be based on one common belief, that Barack Obama isn't a strong enough leader to get his own agenda working in his Cabinet and instead Hillary is going to make him bomb Iran, Gates is going to make him torture people, Jones is going to make him drill for oil off shore and ditch alternative energy projects and Holder is going to make him pardon Charles Manson.

        Hey to each his own and everybody has a right to express themselves in their own diary.  But the thing about that is that when you write a diary here you open yourself up to criticism from people who don't agree with you.  Such is the nature of publishing a diary.  So if someone doesn't want to be criticized about their opinions then maybe they should post an article somewhere that doesn't allow comments or keep their opinions to themselves.  Otherwise they should expect some opposition and deal with it.  They can always reply to negative comments and they have the ability to rec the comments that THEY like.  But to complain about negative comments in a diary, to me misses the whole point of having a diary in the first place.

        •  Amphetamines for Obama (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          An Affirming Flame

          he's going to need them.  You offer the false challenge that a cabinet secretary would disobey a direct and specific order.  However, the US government is too big.  The leadership of even a medium-sized organization rarely issues very specific orders.  Rather, they set the larger policy, and those below them carry them out.  And anyone who's worked in government or large industry know that those who do the work have a lot of leeway in where things go.

          At my job, I rank just above the doorstop, but I can profoundly change major policies just by giving my boss a couple of reports saying certain things are financially unfeasible.  Workers and managers have a huge effect, but it doesn't show itself in disobediance of specific and direct orders.

          So, unless Obama is personally managing every single detail of the US government (hence the need for speed), his major appointees will have a huge amount of discretion and power.  

    •  This is hardly reassuring (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zumbi50, wondering if

      You provide a quote from Gates emphasizing wiggle room to not withdraw in 16 months.

      "He did talk about the 16 months in terms of combat forces," Gates said. "But he also talked about a responsible drawdown and that he was willing to listen to the commanders."

      Also, you obviously have never been in management if you think someone running a $600 billion dollar agency with 2 million employees is just a yes man.

      I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. Barbara Jordan

      by Lcohen on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:43:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Untrue, or at least greatly oversimplified (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal, An Affirming Flame

      Presumably when Gates worked for the Carter NSA, his boss President Carter did not tell him to undermine the boss and keep the hostages longer in Iraq.  But that appears to be what Gates helped do.

      Bosses, as I said somewhere else below select subordinates for ability, allegiances and affinity.  Smart people who will be loyal to the boss, and who have a history of the sorts of policymaking decisions of which the new boss approves.

      That said, those who imagined Obama as any kind of peace-friendly candidate are in for a severe letdown.

  •  The more people like this diarist... (24+ / 0-)

    rant...the more I know that Obama is doing the right thing...governing as a Moderate from the Center...that is how he campaigned and it appears that is how he will govern...

    Yea...!!!

    As for the War in Iraq...if you are expecting anything short of 16 months you will be disappointed...

    Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

    by dvogel001 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:16:34 AM PST

    •  No, that's a terrible idea (6+ / 0-)

      The moderates are just as culpable as the conservatives for the foreign policy mess we're in. Almost all of them (except for Kent Conrad) immediately agreed with Bush when he insisted that we needed to invade Iraq. I say we stop rewarding failure. Obama needs to take a sharp left turn on foreign policy, and I don't give a rat's ass how he campaigned. It's time to start making sense, not to "move to the center."

      That said, I think Gates is fine so long as it's Obama in charge and so long as we get our asses out of Iraq. After Gates serves for about a year or so, he needs to go and we need to get a more lefty Secretary of Defense. Or War, depending on your perspective.

      •  That would seem . . . (4+ / 0-)

        Obama needs to take a sharp left turn on foreign policy, and I don't give a rat's ass how he campaigned.

        to be a profoundly anti-democratic sentiment.  And very similar to the bait-and-switch that Bush pulled.  It's true that Bush got six years with a pretty free hand to do what he wanted, but in the end he's managed to destroy, or substantially weaken, the Republican Party for years.

        Political candidates who actual attempt to do what they said during the campaign are, I think, a pretty good democratic result.

        John McCain, you are _not_ my friend.

        by LarryInNYC on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:55:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  People didn't elect him.... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zumbi50, GN1927, Blissing

          ....on basis of being Bush Lite on foreign policy. People are throughly sick of the Iraq War and want us out sooner rather than later. That's doing the public business. But, that being said, sometimes the public is wrong. Just becasue majorities have, in the past, favored racial discrimination didn't make it right. Just because majorities now oppose gay marriage and favor the death penalty doesn't make it right.

          •  I actually supported... (0+ / 0-)

            Richardson then Hillary in the primary because I liked do not believe leaving Iraq on Janaury 31st 2009 is prudent and was afraid people like the diarist would convice him that it is a good idea but would never convince Hillary of that...

            So I am very happy that Obama is keeping his campaign promise to strongly consider a 16 month timetable...more or less if the conditions on the ground permit...

            To compare a CIC decision about when to bring troops home with racial discrimination is waaaayyy off the mark of a valid comparison...

            GWB got us into the war and Obama will end it more carefully as we began it...to end the war with the same recless abandonment as GWB began this war is just as bad and dangerous and niave...

            Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

            by dvogel001 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:14:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No one has yet... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Euroliberal, An Affirming Flame

              ....presented to me a reason why withdrawing from Iraq immediately would be disastrous. They simply say it and treat it like an a priori assumption. No proof necessary.

              •  That is above my paygrade... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sgwhiteinfla

                I am not a military analyst or a General in the field...all I can say is that after careful consideration and consultation with various experts (who you can disagree with), Obama came up with this 16 month timeframe that he was villified by Republicans on...is it too long, too short...not for me to say...

                But I would suspect with the exception of a couple of 4-Star generals who comment on this site nobody here is anymore authoratative than I am...

                So I picked the POTUS who I believed would remove us from Iraq in a safe way that protects our interests...that is all I can do...we cannot have 67 Million CIC's making this decision...we have 1 CIC...

                Just because we voted for him and even campaigned and donated to his campaign does not mean we have a say in his Iraq policy besides the normal lobbying that anybody can do...

                Peace...

                Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

                by dvogel001 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:33:01 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Im no expert but I will give it a go (0+ / 0-)

                If we left abruptly we would have several potential problems

                1. We didnt' all get in to Iraq at once so getting out of Iraq at once isn't really logistically feasible.
                1. There are some responsibilities that our troops still have in Iraq and just like when a company hires a new employee there will need to be a transition period so that an Iraqi can be taught how to competently do the job that an American soldier is doing for them at the moment
                1. By leaving abruptly without the approval of the Iraqi government we would send a message to the world that we went in and tore Iraq up and then abandoned them when they still needed our help.  Definitely not a good look
                1. If we try to move all the troops out at once there the majority of soldiers would have to be tasked with the actual moving and very few would be availible to actually protect the rest of the troops while they made preparation.  To me that would be a prime opportunity for the lingering terrorist there to launch a very effective attack because all of the troops will be concentrated in just a few areas and security wouldn't be as good.
                1.  I believe there are still some elections that need to take place and the Iraqis still need us there to help ensure that the elections are fair and safe.  Also there needs to be enough time to put in some safeguards against terrorist regaining a foothold in Iraq and thus ensuring that our troops would end up going right back.

                Now you can disagree with all of my points.  As I said I am no expert.  But just the mere fact that any points could be made to me says that us leaving immediately is not a black and white issue.

                •  The plain and simple fact... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  zumbi50, An Affirming Flame

                  ....is that our presence in Iraq is completely unwanted by the population there. We need to withdraw because we invaded illegally. Now, we did tear the country up and our obligation is to pay reparations. But occupying the country is just another convenient excuse for shenanigans. Now, sixteen months is better than never, but I think we could be out sooner, too.

          •  Doesn't make it right (0+ / 0-)

            but in a democracy, the people rule. If you don't like what the people think, change their minds.

            Obama's campaign just transformed from "Yes, we can" to "You're fuckin'-A right we did!"

            by Eddie in ME on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:17:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You lost me. (0+ / 0-)

            I can't tell whether

            1. You think Obama campaigned on the left or the center and
            1. You think he should govern as he said he would in the campaign, or some other way.

            I do agree with that the majority is sometimes (I would say frequently) wrong but, living in a democracy, the majority does rule.  The only exception is when an unambiguous statement against majority opinion can be found in the Constitution, and the courts have the courage to stand by that statement and the ability to enforce their position.

            John McCain, you are _not_ my friend.

            by LarryInNYC on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:22:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Its dangerous to start trying to explain (0+ / 0-)

            why people voted for Obama.  There is no way in the world that anybody can speak for over 60 million people and why each one of them voted for Obama.  Thats called projection.  So maybe YOU voted for Obama to take foreign policy way to the left, but maybe I voted for Obama to live up to his campaign pledges on foreign policy which were decidedly centrist.  To get pissed off at Obama for not doing something that he never said he would do in the first place is patently ridiculous.  And how anybody can believe otherwise is beyond me.

      •  Yea that is right... (0+ / 0-)

        I always love when I vote for someone and then they govern differently than they campaigned...be mad...be really mad...that makes me happy and not worried about our future...

        Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

        by dvogel001 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:08:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I voted for Obama... (3+ / 0-)

          ....because he was the best alternative to McCain. He wasn't the lesser of two evils, but he was a lesser good than some. If McKinney was less nuts and more politically astute, she'd make a fine President. So, yes, ultimately, Obama is going to be more effective because he is politically astute. But I'm not going to accept something just because Obama says so. I'm always going to ask him to move to the left.

          •  You can ask and pound your keyboard... (0+ / 0-)

            all you want...that makes me happy too...everytime he does not listen to your request makes me even more thrilled with the Obama administration...

            Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

            by dvogel001 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:16:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  You Convinced Me To Rec The Diary (5+ / 0-)

      Thank you.  I was hesitant for obvious reasons.

      Wingers like yourself are not the voice of the people.

      Neither are the doves but then people do want their way even if desires are contradictory.  

      Best,  Terry

      •  I am not a winger... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TLS66

        I am a very committed but Moderate Democrat...just because I want Obama to govern as he campaigned as a moderate does not make me a "Winger"  Puleeeese!!!

        Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

        by dvogel001 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:10:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Moderates Are Always Wingers (4+ / 0-)

          Lieberman is the best example.

          You want war, I don't.

          There is the division.

          I've been to war.

          Have you?

          Best,  Terry

          •  I am not pro-war... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            philimus

            or pro-Lieberman...life is not black and white as you put it

            (There is the division).

            In my world there are shades of grey.  I want to end the war as much as you do but I also happen to agree with Obama that we should not end the war in a manner that is as carelss as we got into this war...

            No I have not been to war but my father and father-in-law were both in wars...

            If you want to throw out all Moderates (that you call Wingers) from the DKos and the Democratic party you would be doing exactly what the Republicans did to supposed RINOs

            You can try to do that if you want but Moderates are quite comfortable at DKos and in the Democratic party and we aren't going anywhere until people like you make up a majority of the Democratic party...

            Peace...Go Democrats...All of Them

            Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

            by dvogel001 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:58:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Lieberman is not even a Democrat... (0+ / 0-)

            and although he is Moderate and even Liberal on many issues on War he is clearly not a moderate...he is a Conservative...

            This is evidenced by his endorsement of the Republican ticket for POTUS...

            Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

            by dvogel001 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:00:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Uhm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TLS66

        That wasn't a winger comment. Actually, that's kind of how Obama campaigned...

        Obama's campaign just transformed from "Yes, we can" to "You're fuckin'-A right we did!"

        by Eddie in ME on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:18:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You sure? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Euroliberal

          That wasn't a winger comment. Actually, that's kind of how Obama campaigned...

          Best I can recall, Obama pointed out often he was against the invasion of Iraq.  Is my memory failing me in my old age?

          There is, however, something to what you say.  Obama didn't want to invade and now he is in no hurry to leave.  He proposes to win the occupation of Afghanistan somehow with a corrupt and feeble government that Europeans are increasingly disenchanted with.  He has kept Gates in place.  You know the fellow that thought anybody against the Iraq disaster was a traitor.

          Lots to be written yet but surely you are libeling Obama by deeming him an undiluted hawk IMO.

          Best,  Terry

    •  Your "Center" is so far right that you're (0+ / 0-)

      dragging the rest of us off a cliff.

      •  I guess me an Obama are way to... (0+ / 0-)

        center for you...start finding a primary challenge for 2012 right away...because I suspect you will be sorely disappointed in a centrist Obama administration..

        I hear some "Code Pink" operatives are putting thier hats in the ring as I type.../snark

        Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

        by dvogel001 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:15:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm talking about consequences. (0+ / 0-)

          "Moderate" and "centrist" government gives us more and worse of every disaster currently plaguing this country and this planet.

          Sure, let's take a moderate stance on the climate catastrophe and piddle around while mass exctinction of plant and animal life accelerates, coasts are flooded worldwide displacing hundreds of millions of people.  Let's be moderate when mass famine, epidemic and other horrors overwhelm our civilization in an ever-warming world.

          Yeah, let's be moderate on foreign policy and only make a little less war than Bush.  Kill and maim a few thousand less innocent children.  Let's continue spending hundreds of billions of dollars on war instead of fixing our country and our world and cooperatively dealing with the real crises of our time with all.

          Can you moderately torture someone?  Can you moderately murder someone?

          We need to shake things up and take an almost completely different approach than the one we've been on.  We need someone to come storming in, overturning tables, and re-make the way our government sees its role in the world.

          Or we can have moderation and watch it all go down the tubes.

          •  Ah the tin hat... (0+ / 0-)

            if we do not do it all tomorrow...it will be the end of the world...well my response...lets have a party then...because the end is near...where is my glass of wine...

            Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

            by dvogel001 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 02:21:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  ONOZ!! Fail so early in the morning! (10+ / 0-)

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:19:42 AM PST

    •  BTW, the Department of Defense used to be called (6+ / 0-)

      the Department of War, so you do actually have a point there.

      Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

      by darthstar on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:20:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He has a lot of points (6+ / 0-)

        but everyone will step up and wrongly defend gates now that Obama has picked him.

        I demand prosecutions for torture.

        by heart of a quince on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:25:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And I agree on all of them n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zumbi50

          Real News Daily http://www.antiwar.com - !

          by egyinny on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:28:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No, I am defending Gates because of this... (3+ / 0-)

          WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates signaled a willingness Tuesday to forge ahead with two key priorities for the incoming Obama administration: accelerating the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and shutting down the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

          As the only Republican Cabinet member asked to stay on by President-elect Barack Obama, Gates told reporters that military commanders are looking at ways to more quickly pull troops out of Iraq in light of the 16-month timetable that was a centerpiece of the Democrat's campaign.

          He also said it will be a high priority to work with the new Congress on legislation that will enable the U.S. to close the detention center at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, where about 250 terrorism suspects are still being held.

          This is why I voted for Obama and Gates has made it clear that he will gladly move this agenda forward. Party affiliation is less relevant to me than actions.

          •  Its nice that you are comforted by platitudes (5+ / 0-)

            but Gates has a long history of not being truthful.

            Sorry, he's an awful pick. You don't get to throw Obama's plans up as a defense of Gates. The pick is indefensible.

            I demand prosecutions for torture.

            by heart of a quince on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:36:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I defend actions, not platitudes. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              philimus, sam storm, hyper, Colonial82

              I am not a psychic, nor do I play one on the internet. I cannot say with certainty what will happen in Iraq. What I do know is that Obama has been consistent in stating his position on both withdrawal from Iraq and Guantanomo and is moving before he has even taken office to begin a review of all agencies, to shift toward his stated goals.

              That Gates has gone on record publicly to concur with those positions to me is a positive sign. If you have some factual information that conflicts with this [and not simply a feeling or belief on your part], I'd be interested in reading it. Otherwise, I will await the outcome but according to this story, Gates has already began the process of asking the military to review ways to speed up the process of withdrawal. Again, that works for me.

              •  but you don't care that (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                zumbi50, Blissing

                he is almost starting a new war in pakistan by the bombing. You don't care that his administration of the surge has been a strategic failure. You don't care that afghanistan has gotten MUCH worse on his watch. Worst of all, you don't care at all about his history of lies and possible war crimes (especially iran contra). Basically, the counter argument for keeping gates has been no better than "but he works for obama now". Its ridiculous. Its just unbelievable to me that you people defend this pick.

                Whatever. Its a done deal now, but mark my words - this pick is a horrible mistake. The top 3 foreign policy posts are a hawk, a hawk, and a bushie. Wonderful.

                I demand prosecutions for torture.

                by heart of a quince on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:52:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I assume the "he" in this paragraph is Gates (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sam storm, Colonial82

                  since Obama is not yet president. As for your stating of my feelings/beliefs, I have not been happy with all of Obama's picks. I spent too much energy over the holiday arguing against Hillary as SoS for my own reasons.

                  That said, I have no control over the selections, so my concerns now are focused on the actions of those selections. Gates is acting in a manner consistent with my goals, thus I am satisfied. If she should stop, I will not be.

                •  I'll put $2,300 on it (0+ / 0-)

                  I'll max out to Obama if it turns out Gates is a good pick, and Gitmo closes, and troops begin to pull out of Iraq.

                  You seem to have a lot of time to stalk diaries about Gates, but do you have enough money to back up your words? You are rather confident of them, after all.

                  Obama's campaign just transformed from "Yes, we can" to "You're fuckin'-A right we did!"

                  by Eddie in ME on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:21:16 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  All wars are crimes against humanity. (3+ / 0-)

                  In the long run, they are ineffective in bringing peace to the world, as what they mainly accomplish is giving validity to the idea that violence is a competent way of dealing with conflict.  As long as one uses violence "against" violence, there will never be peace.  I understand that the United States is not a pacifist country, but I would hope for officials that at least would expend all of their energy looking for peaceful means to any conflict before they resorted to violence.  I do not see the Obama security staff as being these kind of people.  I deplore the attacks on 9/11 as I deplore all violence, but I cannot see any difference between those attacks and our (and anyone else's) bombings that kill innocent civilians.  Should we have bombed Timothy McVeigh's neighborhood after the Oklahoma City bombings?  Would you forgive having your child bombed in his or her bed if someone in your area had committed a violent crime which resulted in the deaths of many people?  

            •  You are misusing the word 'platitude.' /nm (0+ / 0-)
          •  Yes, I'm glad to see that Gates will follow order (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Euroliberal, Blissing, Colonial82

            He wouldn't get the job if he didn't. And he'll be out of one if he won't. That said, he's still a war criminal, just like pretty much any Reganite.

        •  Does he? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ROGNM, smartdemmg, Colonial82

          He has a lot of points

          I didn't really get past the inflammatory headline.

          John McCain, you are _not_ my friend.

          by LarryInNYC on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:56:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Colonial82

        The Department of Defense was created as a merger of the Department of War which oversaw the US Army and the Department of the Navy which oversaw, well you can guess that.  The US Air Force was created on the same day as the DoD so there never was a Cabinet-level Department of the Air Force.

        Having separate ministries for the army and navy, and where applicable the air force, was commonplace worldwide until after WWII when it began to be felt that it was more efficient to merge them into a single department or ministry, so we here in the UK created a single Ministry of Defence in 1964 combining the old Admiralty (Royal Navy), War Office (British Army) and Air Ministry (Royal Air Force).

        The Canadians were one of the first countries to do this, back in 1923, and went a step further in 1968 when they merged their army, navy and air force into a single service. Few other countries have done this though.

    •  I'm kinda disappointed that no one has posted the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      darthstar

      onoz gif.

      Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

      by lineatus on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:25:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is a good diary (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wvhillrunner, Blissing, egyinny

      Obama, while he has been doing pretty well thus far, is also not perfect. And while I think Gates is competent and will carry out Obama's orders, that doesn't stop him from being a war criminal. Frankly, I think that if you served in the Reagan Administration in any sort of foreign policy capacity, you should be in front of an international court for terrorism charges.

      •  Are we really going to spend our time (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ChurchofBruce, dave3172, hyper, iRobert

        branding everyone we dislike war criminals? I guess that JFK is a war criminal. Remember the Bay of Pigs?

        Let's focus on moving forward, whadda ya say?

        •  sometimes I don't like my wife much (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk, LaEscapee, wv voice of reason

          and I suspect she feels the same way about me.  But that does not make either of us "war criminals".  Silly argument.

          I provided links to some of Gates' crime scenes at NSA, CIA and elsewhere.  Tell me they didn't happen, or tell me they were not crimes at all, or tell me that the man works for your Dear Leader now and that absolves him.

          But that nonsense about branding "everybody we don't like" as a war criminal is happening only inside your head.  You don't have to share it with us.

          •  Err. . . (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hyper, iRobert

            I think that if you served in the Reagan Administration in any sort of foreign policy capacity, you should be in front of an international court for terrorism charges.

            Sounds a bit broad to me.  Just sayin'

            John McCain, you are _not_ my friend.

            by LarryInNYC on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:59:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  These people.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zumbi50, Blissing

              ....were involved in Iran-CONTRA to their necks. Now, some of them were out of the loop, so they are innocent. But the ones who were involved are undoubtedly war criminals. How else could we describe our involvement in Nicaragua in the 1980s other than terrorism? We basically told the country that we'd help their right-wing militias attack civillians, murder priests, rape nuns, and destroy infrastructure unless they elected a conservative government. How is that not terrorism?

              •  Several points. . . (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ChurchofBruce, iRobert
                1. The number of people implicated in Iran Contra is very small -- maybe a few tens of people at the most.  The fact that the principals clearly knew at the time that they were breaking the law is an indication that the other thousands of people who did foreign policy work in the Reagan administration were probably not included.
                1. Iran Contra was a violation of US law but if there has ever been an argument made that it, as an operation, violated the laws of war (thus making the people involved war criminals) I've never heard it.

                John McCain, you are _not_ my friend.

                by LarryInNYC on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:12:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The number of people implicated is small (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Euroliberal, metal prophet, Blissing

                  because it was never fully and effectively investigated.

                  Yes, it's hyperbole to imply every last one of Reagan's staff was criminal, but your 'tens of people at the most' is quite a damning indictment, by itself.

                  The Contras committed heinous acts against civilians and clergy in Nicaragua, and the Reagan administration supported brutal actions of right wing paras in El Salvador, Costa Rica and other countries as well. Certainly falls under the rubric of war crimes and crimes against humanity.  

                  2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

                  by shpilk on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:34:53 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Frankly.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zumbi50

          ....I think every US President since Truman is a war criminal and they'd face the hangman's noose had we applied the standards of Nuremburg to them. Reagan, Johnson, and Nixon were the worst of the lot, at least until Bush came around.

          •  You keep using that word. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LarryInNYC, Debbie in ME

            I do not think it means what you think it means.

            Obama's campaign just transformed from "Yes, we can" to "You're fuckin'-A right we did!"

            by Eddie in ME on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:25:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What is Vietnam if not a war crime? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zumbi50, Euroliberal, AllanTBG

              We invaded a country for no reason at all and we killed two million people to defend a brutal dictatorship. Kennedy started it, Johnson escalated it, and Nixon made it worse. It also killed 58,000 Americans. That's a pretty heinous crime.

              Let's look at Eisenhower. Look at what he did to Iran. We overthrew a democratically elected government there and replaced him with the shah, who had one of the worst human rights records in the world. This also led to the Iranian Revolution, which hardly proved any better than the murderous shah. Plus, Eisenhower approved a CIA-backed coup in Guatemala which led to a right-wing regime slaughtering a quarter of a million people.

              Ford, Carter, and Clinton aren't nearly as bad, by comparison, but they still encouraged the government of Indonesia to massacre civilians, which is a pretty serious crime.

              Reagan supported right-wing militias throughout Latin America. That was terrorism, plain and simple. If some foreign power financed a terrorist group to blow up bridges and buildings and to kill civilians in the US, wouldn't we call that terrorism? That's precisely what Reagan did in Latin America.

              While Bush 41 might be able to justify the Gulf War because he got UN approval and because Saddam needed to be driven out of Kuwait, his invasion of Panama a year earlier was definitely a crime.

              I know damn well what war crimes are. I suggest you read up on history and I suggest you apply universal law to US actions.

          •  You seem to be working hard. . . (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eddie in ME, iRobert

            to strip any actual meaning from the phrase "war criminal".  If everyone is one then nobody is.  

            And why exempt Truman?

            John McCain, you are _not_ my friend.

            by LarryInNYC on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:30:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't understand how you can't see (0+ / 0-)

            you are being an extremist.

          •  Why isn't Truman a war criminal? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zumbi50

            He killed tens of thousands of people outright in Japan by dropping their bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and tens of thousands more died from the aftermath of these bombings.  

            •  I should have said inclusive (0+ / 0-)

              I mean, you might be able to justify the nuking of Hiroshima, on the grounds that we might have invaded Japan and more people would have ended up dying. But the nuking of Nagasaki was unjustified and was used pretty much just to intimidate the Russians.

              While you can justify the Korean War (since it was with UN approval), Truman's support of right-wing regimes in parts of Europe was unconscionable.

      •  Well, I'm sure you'll be the first screaming for (0+ / 0-)

        Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) to be sent to the Hague for prosecution.

        Ha.

  •  Gates is POTUS and Obama works for him? (5+ / 0-)

    Gates will be replacing all of Obama's undersecretaries and advisors with his own people?

  •  Well-written Diary. (7+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, we, the people of the United States, are not ready to admit that we rule an empire.  The war budget where we spend more than all the rest combined and the 725 bases will not go until then.

    It may be possible that Obama will significantly cut the budget of the War Department.

    •  The diarist didn't write it, and the emphasis (0+ / 0-)

      on Gates is ridiculous.

      But yes, the real issues are the trillions spent, and the huge waste of human potential wasted.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:33:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would love to see.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal

      ....some US President saying "we are getting out of the empire business permanently." And then calling for Congress to cut the military budget by 35%.

      •  I would love for whiney anti-interventionists (0+ / 0-)

        to stop bashing my President and branding many of my parties leaders war criminals.  But we can't always get what we want.

        •  What right do we have to intervene in a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zumbi50

          sovereign country?  Who made us the ruler of the world?  I continue to ask:  if someone in your neighborhood committed a violent crime that resulted in the deaths of many people, would you condone an invasion that resulted in the deaths of innocent neighbors, including children?

          •  It really depends. (0+ / 0-)

            Am I the invader?  Is he threatening my children?  If capturing or killing him risks children and letting him survive risks children then which option risks more?  What of the example to others who would murder children if he is allowed to murder with impunity out of fear we may harm children in stopping him?

            Its not so easy.  Furthermore, outside Iraq, in Kosovo, Bosnia, the first gulf war, Afghanistan etc. we have acted with international support.  We worked with the world, not ruling it.

            And even more than that, remember sovereignty is wholly based on ones ability to use forces to control a area and other nations willingness  to recognize it.  Its not magic or inviolatable.

            •  what a joke (0+ / 0-)

              We worked with the world, not ruling it.

              "It takes two to lie. One to lie, one to hear it." Homer Simpson

              by Euroliberal on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:19:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So..... (0+ / 0-)

                the UN did not support removing Saddam from Kuwait, and French, British, and American forces didn't play a critical role?  NATO didn't sanction action in Kosovo?  There aren't a broad base of NATO troops in Afghanistan right now?  
                The joke is that there are really people who think soveriegn dictatorships and oligarchies based in fear and intranational violence have moral authority over the sometimes misguided but generally rights respecting democratic world, and the greatest threat to the global system is American or Israeli violence, not the threat of collapsing states, mass ethnic conflicts, international terrorism and newly assertive autocracies that don'y even pretend to care about the opinions of the international order.

          •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

            And our invasion of Iraq pretty much said to every violent dictator that invading another country for no reason at all is okay, provided that you can get away with it.

            •  Violent dictators never needed a reason (0+ / 0-)

              they aren't children.  

              •  Yes, but why give them more reasons? (0+ / 0-)

                I think you're missing the point, here. Violent dictators might claim to ignore international opinion, but most of them are not powerful enough to do so completely. Most of them only act that rashly when encouraged to do so by a stronger power. So, when we act unilaterally, they can simply claim that they're taking the same "right" that America has. It's a risky proposition.

                •  The encouragement they are looking for (0+ / 0-)

                  isn't a great power acting unilaterally.  Russia, France, China, the US can and do act unilaterally all the time.  They recognize they lack that power.  The signal they seek is another regional power acting unilaterally and getting away with it.  Then they think maybe I can  The first gulf war would have been a signal.  Had Hugo Chavez stomped Columbia a few month ago, that's a signal.  Rwanda entering the Congo, or more recently Ethiopia in Somalia were big signals, and we have already seen other African states chasing militants cross borders because of it.  When the US invades Iraq or Russia Georgia it does nothing for them, because they are not in that league.

        •  You call us anti-interventionists (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zumbi50, Euroliberal

          I call us supporters of human rights. It is illegal to invade another country unless they're at war with you first. I also think that 99% of "humanitarian war" is a nonsense excuse for invading another country for some other purpose. You look at pretty much any brutal dictator who invades another country and they try to justify it on some other grounds than "we just wanted to invade someone."

          I want a world without violence and coercion. While I don't foresee that happening in the near future, I'd like to see a reduction in it.

          •  "Human Rights" is a cowards cover for not making (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zumbi50

            hard choices.  Its another Bushian, black and white world view.

            I call us supporters of human rights. It is illegal to invade another country unless they're at war with you first.

            No, actually, it isn't.  Where the heck did you get that?  To begin with "international law" is a web of treaties, not a code where people can be black or white held to account outside political consideration.  Secondly, the arbiters of international law are large international bodies like the UN, ICC, NATO, what have you.  They have sanctioned wars for a variety of reasons, from preventing third party invasions to genocide.

            You look at pretty much any brutal dictator who invades another country and they try to justify it on some other grounds than "we just wanted to invade someone."

            I want a world without violence and coercion. While I don't foresee that happening in the near future, I'd like to see a reduction in it.

            Starting by chopping off Obama's man parts is no way to achieve that.

            •  I'm well familiar with international law (0+ / 0-)

              You can only go to war in self-defense or by approval of the UN Security Council. There is also no such thing as a humanitarian war. I mean, you might go to war where a byproduct is an end to a genocide or some other disaster (like when India invaded what was then East Pakistan, today Bangladesh). But 99% of the time, countries do not go to war out of the goodness of their hearts. War is almost always wrong and if our government asks us to go to war, we must hold their question to the highest level of scrutiny. We did not do that in 2002 and we got the disaster in Iraq. If we applied the standards of Nuremburg, Bush would be hanging from a gallows now (though I do oppose the death penalty).

              •  I don't know what you are familiar with. (0+ / 0-)

                You can only go to war in self-defense or by approval of the UN Security Council.

                In the real world it takes alot less than that.  Else not only Bush, but Blair and every other NATO leader in 2000 is heading to the gallows for Kosovo, and Putin and Medveyedev belong on the dock as well.  Jacque Chirac's African adventurism too would put him in the docks.  Laws that can't be and never are enforced are no laws at all.

                War is almost always wrong

                This is entirely a subjective moral valuation on your part.

  •  You make out like Obama's changed his position (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    metal prophet, smartdemmg, Colonial82

    since we were arguing over the withdrawal policies of the candidates in the spring. So when you quote the New York Times' passage to the effect that Obama will leave some troops in Iraq past the sixteen months, you really do no more than restate what we all already knew when we supported him in the first place. There will be forces left there to guard the embassy, to undertake counterterrorism missions, and Obama was telling this last March. But the presence of some forces in Iraq does not comprise an occupation of the country.

    I opposed the war from the beginning. And I supported Obama because I believed that if Clinton or McCain were elected we would not even be where we are now with respect to withdrawal from Iraq.

    The Gates choice disappointed me, but at the same time we all understand the degree of entrenchment a certain mindset has at the Pentagon. If Obama finds it necessary to retain a holdover to ease the transition away from that mindset, so be it. But most important is the substantive policy with respect to Iraq, and I don't see changes yet in that substantive policy position. If I do, I will join you in criticizing the Obama administration.

    But not yet.

    "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

    by andydoubtless on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:26:04 AM PST

    •  I'm not regretting my support of Obama, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zumbi50, Euroliberal

      but I do criticize our entire corrupt and imperialistic system, of which he is a part.  I think he is the best we can do in the current US zeitgeist, but isn't is time we thought about changing the zeitgeist?  And why is it wrong to wish he had chosen a team less given to espousing violence?  

  •  A few questions: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    andydoubtless, smartdemmg, Colonial82

    Can you explain to me what Dr. King had to do with any of this? You used his name in the intro, once in the body, and once in the closing, and I don't know why.

    Do you think that Gates is going to go rogue and disobey the President? Or do you just think that Obama is not the man we all elected?

    It seems you put a lot of effort into this diary. But where is your tip jar?

    •  what King has to do with this? (7+ / 0-)

      Don't know how Obama was sold where you live, but I am black, and split my  time between Atlanta and Chicago.  Here he is sold, and has peddled himself and his career as the "fulfillment of Dr. King's Dream".

      That is highlyh problematic, because it is based on a highly selective history of King's life and work, one that emphasizes his fight against racism, but leaves out his antipathy toward war and economic inequality.

      I am old enough to recall how  King was lionized in his  own lifetime for what they called his "civil rights" work, but  the media turned to the most vile and vicious scorn when King came out  openly against the war.  And I recall that King died working with the leadership of a garbage workers strike in Memphis that had developed into a near general strike situation in that city, with all the high schools out in the street.

      So if we are really serious about the unfinished work off King and the Freedom movement he led we cannot fail to oppose war, even of there is a black guy at the top.  King wouldn't.  To quite a few of us, the spectacle of Obama invoking his name at the last day of the Dem convention, but with twenty-some generals and admirals on stage, was hugely hypocritical, and just plain wrong.

      •  I live in Atlanta and I never perceived Obama to (5+ / 0-)

        be selling himself as the fulfillment of King's dream. Quite the opposite, he sold himself as the "un-black" black candidate. By that I mean that race was not an issue he ran on or cared to weave into his candidacy.

        Of course, I am white and maybe that has something to do with my perception.

      •  Bull, I am white and my wife is black (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thestructureguy, hyper

        We never voted for him about anything to do with MLK. We voted for him because he was the best person for the job.  

      •  No doubt Obama was 'packaged' for (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zumbi50, GN1927, Blissing

        consumption, with emphasis put on each region of the country taken into account.

        I never got the impression that Barack was here to finish Martin's work, and yes ..

        To quite a few of us, the spectacle of Obama invoking his name at the last day of the Dem convention, but with twenty-some generals and admirals on stage, was hugely hypocritical, and just plain wrong.

        I got the disconnect when he invoked that too.
        I cringed a little bit even, and I'm white.

        It made me think of this quote.  

        Martin Luther King Jr.

        "True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to an evil power...it is rather a courageous confrontation with evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflicter of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart." -

        2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

        by shpilk on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:49:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Question for Anyone Asserting MLK = BHO (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk, zumbi50, Blissing, tcandew

          Is this: Can King's Dream be recognized within the context of American Empire?

          My belief is that King came to believe that the answer was no. While we may live in the best Babylon on earth, it is still Babylon, and Christians in particular, and men of goodwill in general, must "come out of her" (See Rev.17).

          While white folks tend to celebrate the King of 1955-1964, which is why we have a Holiday in his name, watch Remember the Titans with hankies in their hands, and sing Kumbaya while secretly hating the 'other', this quote from 1968 might remind you of "that other King":

          "God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war. ... And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place, saying 'if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power.'"

          Sounds a little like Rev. Wright, no?

          Which means that for me, Obama represents the best the Empire has to offer, while MLK transcended it.

          That'll be "change" enough...

          "When people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."--Thomas Jefferson

          by skeezixwolfnagle on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:14:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Will it be change 'enough', though? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GN1927, skeezixwolfnagle

            I wonder, if we can survive on 'enough'.

            You make an interesting observation. I think many people here expect a transformational Presidency, and are bound to be disappointed when that doesn't happen.

            Yet a transformation must occur, or else we will have cemented the fate of this planet and future generations to very serious consequences. This is just about the last chance we've got, technology is rapidly outstripping the ability of humans to handle it properly.

            I fear we are rapidly approaching factors of fc and L in this equation which preclude further existence of human civilization.    

            2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

            by shpilk on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:25:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well Said, But... (0+ / 0-)

              ...my belief is that BHO's Presidency will be transformational, but only so much. Anything more would be a revolution, and given human history, those don't happen without great upheaval.

              Jefferson thought so, too:

              "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

              "When people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."--Thomas Jefferson

              by skeezixwolfnagle on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:39:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  But it is time for us to attempt to change the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zumbi50

            empire.

        •  Love that quote by Dr. King. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zumbi50
      •  Interesting, I think your intepretation (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GN1927, hyper, Colonial82

        of King and Obama is highly selective. Barack Obama has a lengthy history of working with labor in Chicago and has gone to great lengths to make clear that he not the next coming of MLK. He has no control over how other's perceive him.

        Moreover, from day one, he has made it clear that he is not against all wars. In his early speech against the Iraq war, he stated, I am not against all wars, I am against dumb wars. Agree or disagree with this position, he is nothing if not honest about his stance and consistent.

      •  This diary was about Gates, not Dr. King. (0+ / 0-)

        If you wanted to invoke Dr. King you should have actually tied him into the diary in a meaningful way. Using him as a vague notion of what Obama should be striving for is intellectually suspect.

        I live in D.C. and Obama was never sold as the second coming of Dr. King or the fulfillment of his dream. Even if he were, what does this have to do with Gates? You still haven't answered my questions above. Do you think that Gates will not obey the President's orders? Or do you think Obama is a weaker President than we thought we were electing?

  •  Snort. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueInRedCincy, hyper, Colonial82

    Can we, like, let Obama actually take office before rushing to sweeping conclusions and tabling censure resolutions?

    I know, what a silly idea.

    I trust Barack Obama.

    by MBNYC on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:27:22 AM PST

  •  Get over it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KroneckerD, Colonial82

    The Secretary of Defense WORKS for The President.  We all praised President-Elect Obama's judgement during the election, why can't we at least give him a chance to see if his cabinet works?  I am willing to believe that he knows what he is doing, that's why I elected him, for his judgement, because he is smarter than me and he has been smart enough to make the right decisions most of the time that he has been in public life.  I am not going to criticize the selection of Gates until Gates does something as OBAMA'S Sec. of Defense that leads me to criticize him.

    We are the ones we've been waiting for, he liked to say, but people were waiting for him, waiting for someone to finish what a King began.

    by Snickers77 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:30:17 AM PST

    •  no manager selects smart people... (6+ / 0-)

      who  built their careers doing the opposite of what the manager wants done.  A manager selects for affinity, allegiances and ability.  All of these.

      Obviously Robert Gates IS what Obama wants.  That is up to him.  Now what about us.  What do WE want?  Me, I want an end to war, and I am sure that millions of those who voted for Obama want the same.  

      •  I think Obama... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, wvhillrunner, GN1927, Colonial82

        ....had at least some practical motivations behind picking Gates. He remembers the 1990s, when the military establishment gave "Hippie Bill" Clinton such a hard time. So, I think that Obama is trying not to rock the boat too much with the war criminals, and in doing so, will be able to get his policies through more easily. I don't know if that's the best approach, but if it gets us the hell out of Iraq sooner rather than later, I'm for it. Also, Gates is only going to be there a year (or so I'm told) and maybe after that, we can get someone in there who isn't a war criminal.

      •  And it is going to end, so get over it (0+ / 0-)

        You are not in his head or one of his advisors so you don't know his thought pattern or his plans on accomplishing what he wants to do.

        Let him govern first and if he doesn't do what he said he will do, then you can criticize.

      •  I want the same thing. (0+ / 0-)

        And if I wanted it done quickly and smoothly I would want to put someone in charge who does not need time to get used to the position.  And if I wanted political cover for when something inevitably goes wrong during the withdrawal, I would want the same guy in charge as the last administration had.  The choice of Gates could just as easily signal that Obama plans to move things along as it may signal that he does not.  And given that Obama has made it very clear that he does not favor permanent bases, I think the signs favor my interpretation.

        I think you fail to give Obama enough credit for his political acumen.  I think he knows what he is doing.

        In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. - H.L. Mencken

        by Simian on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:00:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually they Do...Obama just did! (0+ / 0-)

        You have no idea what Gates said to Bush, Bush Sr., Reagan or Obama in private.  You have no idea what he privately advocated to the presidents that he was selected to serve.  The reason that Gates came back out of obscurity was to help Bush succeed in Iraq and to provide him the a realistic point of view of our chances there.  If he wants to stick around and implement Obama's vision of ending the war, then I don't understand the problem.  I don't think that Obama is going to change his mind on ending the war because of a personnel decision that he made.

        We are the ones we've been waiting for, he liked to say, but people were waiting for him, waiting for someone to finish what a King began.

        by Snickers77 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:04:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Can you suggest a workable number (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poligirl

      of bodies to determine effectiveness?

  •  Counterintuitive, maybe, but it seems to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Colonial82

    that this shows that he is willing to do whatever it takes to further his boss's agenda. That works for me.

  •  I didn't see a copyright statement (0+ / 0-)

    on the source material, but even still your diary is simply a copy and paste of the original work.

    Have you no insight, yourself on the matter?

    This country is driven by the Military Industrial Complex, and it's gotten worse, not better since the time Eisenhower warned us of this.

    What is really astonishing is the amount of waste in money and people that the Pentagon eats up every year. It's not about Gates, and it really doesn't matter who is put in charge of the DOD. This nation still has 4000 active nuclear warheads, and spends between 1 to 2 trillion a year overall towards the defense and security budget.  

    It's a horrible waste, given that the biggest threat to the security of the nation is the same fate shared with the rest of the planet: from changes in the climate.

    It's already too late to stop climate change from happening, and from affecting our national security.

    2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

    by shpilk on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:31:01 AM PST

  •  I am pissed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Colonial82, vc2

    that Obama isn't filling his cabinet with only yes men and idealogues from the left!
    How dare he make his own decisions and do what he thinks is best for the country!
    Who the hell does he think he is the freaking President................Oh yeah, that's right he is the President.
    And,didn't we all use his superior judgement and intellect as reasons why he was the superior candidate for the presidency?
    Really, wasn't that a strong selling point that overcame some of his lack of experience?
    Yet every day someone is on here whining and complaining about a cabinet pick.
    I voted for a pragmatic man who would govern from the middle and take into account the opinions of both sides.......if we wanted an idealogue, we should have nominated Kucinich

    •  well.... (4+ / 0-)

      you're saying that bloodstained Reaganite hacks are the "best" the country has to offer?  And anybody who disagrees with your Dear Leader is an "ideologue"

      Take a deep breath, man, or  woman, and think about that one.

      •  Some times you got to move on (0+ / 0-)
      •  I think this move to retain Gates is more (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GN1927, Colonial82

        pragmatic than it is an indication of policy.

        It's politically expedient to have Gates serve as a buffer when push comes to shove for extricating ourselves out of Iraq, and doing whatever the hell it is we are going to "do" in Afghanistan. Hopefully, once we exit Iraq and contain Afghanistan, Barack can simply 'dust off' Robert Gates and bring on board someone more in line with a progressive stance, like Wes Clark. Clark will become 'available' to Sec of DOD on May 2nd 2010.  

        I tend to agree with those who say you have to give President Obama a chance to make policy decisions before you can tear him apart. Gates answers to Obama.

        Let's give President Obama a chance, to see what his policy decisions are.

        2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

        by shpilk on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:59:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  well....... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zumbi50

        you sort of got it right.
        Anybody that voted for my "Dear Leader", then whines and throws a fit because "His Greatness" appoints someone that doesn't think and act just like we think he/she should.......well those people are short sited blow hards.....I won't dignify people who are taking part in that behavior as idealogues.
        If we want to see real change and see this country taken in a different direction, "His Royal Lordship" needs to have people with him from a broad spectrum of idealogy.

        Now, I urge you to take a deep breath of your own.

    •  Well, yes, Obama's good at getting elected (5+ / 0-)

      I never doubted his abilities in that area during the Presidential race. However, that doesn't mean he gets a free pass on policy. If he moves to the right, that's not what this country needs and he's going to fucking hear it. We can't afford to stay silent. We did so with Bill Clinton and he screwed us over for far too long. I think Obama will do well, but we do have to make sure of that.

  •  You mean Melvin Goodman, (0+ / 0-)

    the guy who signed this 9/11 truther petition?

    John McCain, 100 years in Iraq "fine with me"

    by taylormattd on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:41:45 AM PST

  •  Obama is Inheriting a Political Timebomb (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, Blissing

    Keeping the guy who oversaw the last two years of it is a masterstroke: If the withdrawal plans (which have been forced upon him by BushLeague and Gates) fail, Obama can blame the failure on the outgoing administration and its SecDef; if it succeeds, it will all his.

    Why is that blame important?

    It will take more than one term to undo this latest Republican catastrophe, and Obama is doing himself an enormous favor by sharing the stinking corpse that is Iraq with the Repugnicunts. Kennedy should have done the same with Cuba, Carter should have done the same with Iran, and Clinton should have done the same with Somalia.

    Owning Iraq, while Repugnicunts secretly pour money into the country to try and f-ck it up further before 2012 (see Iran, 1979-1980), means he only gets one term.

    "When people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."--Thomas Jefferson

    by skeezixwolfnagle on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:46:49 AM PST

  •  Troll (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ROGNM, Colonial82

    Troll troll troll troll troll!

  •  Dennis Kucinich for Secretary of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zumbi50, An Affirming Flame

    Department of Peace!!!!

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - JFK

    by moose67 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:52:29 AM PST

  •  You lost me after this: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thestructureguy

    But the recent slaughter of tens of millions in the Second World War had given the Pentagon's real function a bad name.

    I'd say that World War II, for us, was the ultimate war of defense.

    •  even that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      An Affirming Flame

      does not make war Right and Glorious.  My dad enlisted when he came of age near the end of WW2 --- I am nearly 60 myself.  I  suppose I would have done the same.  Probably not in WW 1, and I was a resister in the Vietnam era.

      War may be forced upon you, like a fistfight you didn't see coming --- although I've just about always seem them a ways off --- but it is not a good unto itself.  It is evil.  

      That's the point from which I start.  Seems like you are starting from somewhere else, my friend.

      •  War is never a good thing. Its always bad even (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Euroliberal, An Affirming Flame

        when it may be necessary. WWII was a war of defense and forced upon  but as you said it was not a good upon itself. War is an atrocity and always leads to atrocities (fire bombing of Dresden, detainment of Japanese Americans, Hiroshima and  Nagasaki as examples from WWII).

        If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you are a one-eyed man in a kindom of the blind. -Kurt Vonnegut

        by ryan81 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:09:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Please note that Gates need not be confirmed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zumbi50, Colonial82

    by the Senate. He already has the job and can remain at the President's pleasure.

  •  Another diary where the writer feels (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Colonial82

    his or her judgment is better than Obama.  

    I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat. Will Rogers

    by thestructureguy on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:58:51 AM PST

    •  Another comment where the writer feels (4+ / 0-)

      nobody should criticize anything Obama does.

      I demand prosecutions for torture.

      by heart of a quince on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:04:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not a thing wrong with that, at all. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal, GN1927, LaEscapee

      You make it seem like Obama is perfect, and I'll guarantee you'll be disappointed.

      I think the judgment is premature: the keeping of Gates is not an indication of policy, it's more of an indication of the very conservative and cautious nature [not political viewpoints] of Barack Obama.

      Obama is a very conservative person, in the way he approaches change. That does not mean he cannot be an agent of change, that he cannot be progressive/liberal.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:07:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  better than lots of them (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal, An Affirming Flame

      I was 18 in 1968.  Thanks to some antiwar vets I knew about atrocities and war crimes in Vietnam, and joined the opposition to the war.  Obviously my judgement was better than LBJ's and Nixon's too.

      Basically me and lots of people I know have a long history of having better judgement than the mayors and presidents and governors who lord it over us, and do these things we don't want in our name and with our money.

      Don't you think you have better judgment than Bush?  C'mon here, do they work for us, or do we work for them?  Last I checked, no president speaks from a burning bush, and nobody on their staff is named Moses.

    •  And the alternative is... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal, An Affirming Flame

      ...what exactly?

      To put your judgment abilities on ice for the next four years?

      To believe Obama over your lyin' eyes?

  •  I liked this diary. But Obama is going to (0+ / 0-)

    do whatever he wants. We are only sitting in the audience. Just don't ask me to clap louder.

    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. Abraham Lincoln

    by pathman on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:02:00 AM PST

  •  This diary makes me what to get my wife's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sam storm

    plan passed of valium added to the drinking water for the public good

  •  Get real, will ya? At some point, in some way, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TLS66, Colonial82, mysticlaker

    we just must decide to get real. There will be NO bloody overthrow of the current system. We have 50% of the population on one side and 50% on the other. Obama has decided to focus on what unites us ALL as Americans and not on what divides us. Seems pretty simple and logical to me. Let Us Get Real!

    It's a beautiful day!

    by JoanMar on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:23:42 AM PST

    •  Isn't a leader supposed to lead not follow? (0+ / 0-)

      If 50% of the population is against his or her policies and he or she believes these policies are the correct ones, isn't it his or her duty to attempt to convince the 50% who are against them that they are wrong?

      •  In the ideal world. This is the United States of (0+ / 0-)

        America; not some Third World country with a petty dictatorship. It will take all his energies to convince 50% that he is right. Heck, it will take all his energies to convince 75% of our 50%. He only has eight years in office.

        It's a beautiful day!

        by JoanMar on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 03:22:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Look it's pretty simple (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, Colonial82

    Obama feels that the best way to get out of Iraq and get things done is to use the services of the person who has been involved for the past year

    1. He is far from perfect but 1000 times better than Rumsfeld
    1. He has praised Obama and agreed with his agenda
    1. It is a pick that will be accepted and help him to promote his agenda. A contentious confirmation process over a more progressive Sec of Defense would NOT help Obama to enact his agenda
    1. Gates must play ball or Obama tosses him out. Plus, as Rachel Maddow reported, the undersecretaries under Gates WILL be replaced. If Gates does not toe the line, he is out in one year
    1. Like a better Sec of Defense? Say, Wesley Clark? Well, he cannot legally be Sec of Defense until 2010.

    Gates can stay and then be replaced by Clark when the time comes.

    A fellow ain't got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody - Tom Joad, Grapes of Wrath

    by gladkov on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:28:12 AM PST

  •  Something I've not seen mentioned (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poligirl

    I would think one of the main reasons for the retention of Gates is his agreement that just transferring troops out of Iraq into the quagmire of Afghanistan is a good idea.

    I would suggest that adopting an unwinnable war and thinking a buildup is the answer has been tried before.

    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.

    In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

    - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

  •  As always... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fossil, hyper, Colonial82

    Is this the "change" many worked for, and tens of millions voted for?

    Reading your post, and then scanning through the Black Agenda Report website you reference, this is the money quote.

    With these types of diaries, I always find a single open ended theme. Expectations, met with disappointment, and outrage over the outcome. Yet, we never have defined for us your expectations - what exactly IS the "change" YOU voted for. WHO is it that represents those expectations?? And WHAT OUTCOME is it that would satisfy you? Try answering those questions in ANY piece on that website and your brain begins to hurt. LOTS of ocmplaining - no real answers. LOTS of lamenting - no real vision. All we know is that "we" worked hard for change. "We" needed something done, and it is being mismanaged. And "we're" pissed.

    Diarist, don't pretend to speak for me. Nothing wilts the validity of an argument more than draping it in the presumed demands of millions you don't represent and have not spoken with. Your views are your own and I respect those. But your insistence that President-elect Obama's actions and choices are in some way a violation of a sacred trust between himself and the millions who have worked and fought for him is misguided and overreaching.

    I, for one, voted for "change" in the following forms:  

    - a restored belief that intelligent, reasoned discourse was taking place in the White House, marrying different viewpoints and political philosophies into prudent decisions.

    - a return to transparency and open dialogue between elected officials and the people; not always deferring to "the will of the masses" but acting in a manner that ensures accountability and responsiveness to those whose voices are hardest to hear.

    - overthrow of the old "us versus them" methods of governance adopted and embraced over the past eight years.

    - hard work and progress on moving forward the critical issues that had too long been neglected: universal health care, restoration of American infrastrcture and economic health, fairer tax policies, restoration of the middle class and job creation, and a smart and efficient withdrawal from Iraq while maintaining a watch over national security concerns in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere (including at home).

    What my family and I don't have is nearly enough political knowledge or insight to ourselves balance the compromise made on retaining Gates with his background and past decisions against the potential impact on quick progress and needed credibility for Obama within military ranks and the defense department that hanging on to Gates brings. Nor do we know the impact on our enemies and allies abroad of having continuity in the defense department versus a complete flush of the Pentagon and the resulting internal fighting and reposturing amongst military brass during a times of heightened security risk and uneasiness abroad (during a transition). Neither do YOU diarist. So, in my view, this whole diatribe railing against Gates as a liar and scandalous insider is convenient and self-gratifying, but unbelievably myopic and overly simplistic. This decision is tremendously complex - I hail from a military family and know well how pervasive command respect, allegience, trust and procedures are within the defense community. It is (by design and necessity) a vastly different way of life, and of making decisions and taking orders. Ultimately, Obama calls the shots and sets the tone as Commander in Chief. But how those orders are executed, to what extent and with what quality the information he receives to make such decisions is offered, and at what level esprit de corps and morale is maintained at the soldier and officer ranks within the military, ALL HINGE GREATLY ON THESE DECISIONS, AND HOW THEY ARE COMMUNICATED AND IMPLEMENTED WITHIN THE MILITARY RANKS. You may find Gates a crook and a liar. Commanders and the troops may find him to be a breath of fresh air from Rumsfeld and a respected and rational leader during a tough time. With due respect, diarist, I think many would find that the "tie goes to the military" on this one, and that your moral outrage may take a backseat to stability and morale amongst the troops during an uneasy time. At least I do, and it appears PE Obama might agree.

    Oh yes, on the "change". The final change I voted for was actions, not rhetoric. Meat around the bone, not process stories and political posturing. Are appointees important on how that change turns out? Yes, to a degree. But I'll withhold outrage and grades until the meat is on the table - decisions, actions, laws, policies. We're not even within 30 days yet of such things (unfortunately for all of us), so in the end, I find diaries like these somewhat premature, and awfully tiring.  

  •  Witholding Judgement (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, GN1927, philimus, egyinny

    Yes, I am dismayed by Obama's picks for his cabinet, especially what I see as rethug lite.

    However, during the election my measure of Obama was his approach to problem solving.  And, for that I will give him the benefit of a doubt as he takes office.  My ultimate judgment will be whether or not he uses his appointments as "tools" to realize an agenda that is better than the right wing view of what the political "center" of this nation is.

    I cringe when I hear people talking about governing from the "center".  This seems like buying into the right wing framing and is the type of view that encourages a single party of incumbents against the population of voters.

    •  Another thought... (0+ / 0-)

      I find great pleasure in abandoning all thought of "left", "center" and "right" altogether. In this day and age, honestly, what the hell does any of that mean anyway?

      I might be described as "pro-life" by some. I've seen an ultrasound of my children at nine weeks - that is a real person in there, and terminating that life at that point is something I can't live with. I honestly don't believe anyone could if they've seen those pictures. But, wait, check that. I don't necessarily believe a woman in the case of rape or incest should be forced to carry that baby necessarily. Nor do I believe that cases of weighing bringing a baby to term when it seriously jeopardizes the life of the mother, especially when the life of the baby is doubtful or uncertain, are black and white either. I do think education, prevention and contraception all should play a role too, and am bothered about my church's rigid and archaic stances on these things in this era.

      So what am I? Liberal, moderate, conservative? Who the fuck cares?? I believe in streamlined and transparent government, gun control, God (Catholic), universal health care, commitment to the military and a sound national defense, diplomacy and war only as a last line of defense, etc. etc. etc.

      So what am I? Left? Right? Center? Who cares - probably none of the above. What I am is pretty darn representative of most Americans these days, and how counterproductive and outdated these labels are anymore.

      Governing from the "center" may just be a byproduct of not being "conventional" in the old Party sense, and as a result, somewhat unpredictable. If so, go Barack Obama. Govern from the "middle" all you want. It's long overdue, and I am willing to bet it will produce huge dividends for us all in the not too distant future.  

      •  Origin of political terms "left" and "right" (0+ / 0-)

        It comes from a time during the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century.  There was a moment, if I remember correctly during one of the first constituent assemblies where on one side --- the right side of the room sat the Church, which owned most of the land in France, the ancient bloodstained nobility which wanted the monarchy and its privileges restored, and the overseas slavemasters of France's Carribbean plantations.  On the other side, the left side of the room sat the representatives of peasants and urban workers and the poor, shopkeepers and the like.

        Ever since then, the defenders of ancient and unearned privilege the world over have been called "the right" and those who stand for the interest of workers and the ordinary people "the left".

        That piece of forgotten history being at the root of those terms, what virtue is there at all in being a "centrist"?  Help me out with that, please.

  •  Thanks to all of the commenters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, LaEscapee

    in this diary who debated the Gates selection using information, logic, and reason.  Very interesting diary; these are the types of critiques which will benefit everyone.

    "If you don't have a record to run on...You make a big election about small things." - Barack Obama

    by GN1927 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:43:18 AM PST

  •  I don't think Obama (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simian, philimus, hyper, AmericanIdeal

    is governing in any particular ideological manner. The retaining of Gates not only allows for some consistency during transition, but it also allows Obama to build up a legitimate rapport with the defense and military community.

    It reassures them that he will make measured, practical decisions about the military, and with his withdrawal plans for Iraq. And if obama wants to start the withdrawal of troops, it is best to have a seasoned group available to him.

    Restructuring defense could make the withdrawal process longer (remember when Bremer disassembled the Iraqi army?-well that is an example of not using an existing structure to accomplish an end).

    My understanding is that Gates will only be temporary, for about a year or so...

    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- BHO

    by valadon on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:54:26 AM PST

      •  Look, the man hasn't even started governing (0+ / 0-)

        And it sounds to me that the diarist is already giving up on Obama becuase he asked Gates to stay on.  I really think this rant is intended to bait.

        •  We're going to get a lot of that between now (0+ / 0-)

          and when he is the actual president. In fact, it is the same second-guessing we saw during the campaign. Without being privy to Obama's deepest thoughts or rationales, some people think he is not performing as (they) expected.

          If we trust that Obama is true to his word, and we have no reason to not think that way at the moment, if we look at his appointments as an overall strategy or the assembling of a team to accomplish the goals he put forward, then all this second-guessing is a wasted effort.

          Many people are also viewing his choices by the individual personalities of the appointees or the fact that these people are high profile Centrists or Moderates or whatever. Most of the productive work that will be done by the Obama administration will be carried out by second and third tier people appointed for that express purpose, and who may be more loyal to obama in accomplishing his goals.

          In other words, I view the major appointments as figureheads, but not in a vacuous way, they have been culled for their experience and intelligence.

          Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- BHO

          by valadon on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:36:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  personnel IS policy (0+ / 0-)

          it's as simple as that.  You start governing when you start appointing, letting people know what YOUR priorities are.

          In Barack's case he started governing in a big way when as leader of his party he rounded up votes for the bailout.  Matter of fact, wasn't he a US Senator for four years, getting a chance to vote for (never against) war budgets, the Patriot Act, and other stuff?  

          'Wait and see' is an adbication of our duties as  citizens.

          •  that is not what is suggested here (0+ / 0-)

            no one said to not be vigilant....but the man hasn't even enacted policy yet.

            Individual egos are not policy...that will be determined by Obama.

            Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- BHO

            by valadon on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:43:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not it's not (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            valadon

            Never has been, never will be.

            Look at the suppositions made about JFK before he assumed office. Look at the claims made about Obama, even by us, prior to his asuming office. People and pasts have to be looked at as potential barometers, but that is all they are, and can be. You should know that a book cannot be judged by its cover, nor can prior actions and predispositions be used as a sole determination for what is to be.

            Colin Powell was universally hailed as a wise and sound choice as SoS. He was stately, thoughtful, even-tempered, Presidential. Many on all sides of the political spectrum feel he was uneven at best, a disaster at worst, now that all is said and done. Nothing in his past would ever have suggested his support for the Bush Doctrine, nor his willingness to parade himself in front of the UN with flimsy and manufactured "evidence" of WMD. Nor would we have expected willingness to assume a secondary role in policy making following 9-11, nor his openness to diverting the military away from a fight against Al Qaeda to a preemptive strike against a nuisance in Iraq. Yet there it is. People act in different ways under different circumstances, under different marching orders, with different mandates, and under different pressures.

            You STILL haven't laid out what you feel Obama's priorities ARE in your ideal world, and what choices reflect those priorities. Simple as THAT. Is Biden a disasterous signal too? He was a Senator during the same period. WHO exactly is it that satisfies us?

            Do tell.

            •  the evidence on Powell was there all along... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eternal Hope

              for those who cared to look.

              Colin Powell was universally hailed as a wise and sound choice as SoS. He was stately, thoughtful, even-tempered, Presidential. Many on all sides of the political spectrum feel he was uneven at best, a disaster at worst, now that all is said and done. Nothing in his past would ever have suggested his support for the Bush Doctrine, nor his willingness to parade himself in front of the UN with flimsy and manufactured "evidence"

              Many people tried to draw attention to his performance as the first staff officer to investigate the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.  Powell penned a report that said 'nothing much happened, time to move along now".  Of course if he had not, his career would have ended then and there.

              To take just one of dozens of later crimes Powell was involved in, take the aerial bombing her ordered of the undefended slum civilian neighborhood of El Chorillo, Panama City during the invasion of Panama.  This was deemed necessary because this poor Panamanian slum was heavy with Noriega supporters who might come out into the streets and resist the invasion if they were not kept busy fighting fires and trying to rescue their grandmothers and children.

              But folks who raised these and many other spots on Powell's record were shouted down by the Establishment Consensus, that he was "a man of integrity", whatever that means.  Gimme a break.  The only ones surprised by Colin Powell were those who did not have their eyes on the ball in the first place.  

              I used to be a magician.  When you can misdirect someone's attention, everything looks like a surprise.

              •  And yet still.... (0+ / 0-)

                What is your point?

                Who is your solution, and why?

                You offer no specific alternatives. No answers to any of these questions. Blanket generalisms reflecting your "absolute world view", with no original thought outside of criticism and derision.

                I'm done with this now. Your opinion is noted...not shared. Please accept that many of us don't agree with you, and that doesn't make us naive, nor does it make this selection a disaster. I wish you whatever tonic it will take to ease your mind (about a great many injustices, looking at your past posts) and restore your hope, but judging from your tactics and general viewpoint, I don't see it out there for you.

                Just sayin'...

  •  Actually, "The War Department" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon

    actually corresponds to the present "Department of the Army."  

    After the Air Force came aboard in 1947, there was a realization that there needed to be an agency that encompassed the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Air Force and the (renamed) Department of the Army.  As it was written in the National Security Act of 1947, so it came to pass.  

    (With bitterness and acrimony that drove Secretary Forrestall [spelling?] to suicide and the Marine Corps to distraction over being faced with extinction, as what Truman called "the Navy's police force," but so it goes.)  

  •  Ignorance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon

    The Defense Department is not a rebranding of the War Department.
    That would be the Department of the Army.
    Up until Truman's administration, the Army (the War Department) and the Navy (the Navy Department) were seperate branches. They were merged, and the Air Force created from a branch of the Army.

    "I'm not opposed to all wars; I'm opposed to dumb wars." -- Obama in 2002

    by Frank Palmer on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:06:49 AM PST

  •  Quit your d a m n snibbling and whining! (0+ / 0-)

    It is not a good look. Like really...do you actually believe that you are suppose to agree with every decision Obama makes? Do you agree with every decision that your spouse/sibling/child/family/friend makes?  

    No, you don't! And guess what?  You are still surviving, the earth still revolves and the sun still rises and set.

    Gosh, Daily Kos, is becoming a whiny hub for the self righteous, one-track minded individuals with no peripheral vision who always thinks they are right, everyone is wrong, and that under no circumstances should anyone disagree with them. Some of you are becoming no better than your polar opposites and alter egos at Free Republic.

    tsk!  smh

    •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

      You are actually close to home here...

      It would be one thing if there were specifics and counter-proposals we could sink our teeth into and debate on the merits, but in thread after thread, it is open season to claim a role in an open gripe session in the name of "our duty as citizens", yet nothing of substance in terms of alternatives or better ideas.

      For years, Fox "News" was the target of my ire solely because their only purpose in life was to find flaws in everything not far-right, and create controversy for the sake of doing so. They proved without question that not a single thing exists in this world without flaws, and that it is easiest simply to exploit flaws regardless of relevance versus engage in substantive debate featuring opposing ideas and specific alternatives. The other guy is always wrong, and therefore, I am right. Let's hope the lure of this simple and empty approach doesn't swallow the community here as well...

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