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1/4/2010
2010: A TIME OF TESTING

I apologize for the absence of posts these past few days but I have been locked in a titanic struggle with a nasty bug that has sought to lay me low. I was able to perform limited duties at PJM and AT but never found the strength to address some of the more interesting stories that have popped up during the last 10 days or so on my own blog.

A pity, that. There is much I wanted to say about the administration’s approach to the…whatever we’re calling what used to be known as “The War on Terror” these days. While their attitude and strategy may be intellectually satisfying - downplaying the nature of the threat while frantically trying to bolster our counterterror capabilities at home and abroad - I think it is wrong on a psychological and political level.

Obama failed in appreciating the nature of the attack on Christmas day. He miscalculated the mood of the American people and came off looking weak and disengaged when he strolled to the podium more than 48 hours after the attack and read a rote statement that could have been delivered by a press flunkie. He compounded the error the next day by issuing a stronger, more realistic statement while idiotically backing his DHS Secretary’s nonsense about the “system” working, parsing her words like a Clinton.

This is old news now - water under the bridge so I won’t belabor the point. But in their eagerness to show that they are not “chest thumping” and “fear mongering” the administration and the president failed in their primary duty of simply reassuring the American people that someone was in charge and doing something about the problem.

Not their finest hour.

The other story that piqued my interest was Rush Limbaugh’s health scare and his weird, out of touch contention that the health care system is working just fine.

I am glad that Rush is OK and will continue to entertain us on the radio. But if there was ever an example of why conservatism has become irrelevant it was Limbaugh’s monumentally stupid remarks about the American health care system:

“The treatment I received here was the best that the world has to offer,” Limbaugh said. “Based on what happened here to me, I don’t think there’s one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine, just dandy.”

Limbaugh said that despite his celebrity he received the same treatment as anyone else who would have called 911 and been taken to the hospital in his condition.

“I got no special treatment,” he said, adding that the care he received was nonetheless “confidence inspiring.”

“I just feel very grateful and thankful be an American and have this happen to me,” he said.

Anyone who isn’t worth $100 million and becomes seriously ill in this country probably looked at Limbaugh as if he was from another planet. The American people may hate many aspects of Obamacare, but they aren’t stupid. They fully realize there are severe problems with our health care system and just because rich jamokes like Limbaugh and rich foreigners can get the best care in the world doesn’t mean that the average - or even above average - American gets the same treatment as the radio star.

Put simply, Limbaugh and many of his listeners are out of touch. The alternate universe they inhabit posits an America inhabited by crusty individualists, self-reliant citizens, a Darwinian free market, and a culture informed by “Judeo-Christian” morals and principles. That’s a pretty good description of America, alright - 19th century America. Today, we no longer have to build our own house, or shoot our own meat, or churn our own butter, or even make our own clothes unless we choose to do so. America in the 21st century is a great, big, raucous, tumbling, jumbling place that has moved far beyond what these self-described conservatives believe her to be - or think she should be. In their America, the health care system is “just fine” and there’s nothing wrong with the economy that a few hundred billion in tax cuts couldn’t fix.

The clashing interests of 300 million people coupled with the enormous complexity of governing such a diverse, multi-racial, mutli-cultural society makes the kind of simple minded conservatism promoted by Limbaugh and his admirers a shadow reality, existing outside of time and out of sync with the cares and concerns of ordinary people. They are for regression, not conserving anything. And their failure to accept America as it is rather than how they wish it to be makes them worse than irrelevant in promoting conservatism; they are a hindrance.

I believe these two currents of history - the coming primal thrust of jihad and the battle to wrest conservatism from fakirs like Limbaugh, Hannity, Palin, and others will test us in ways not experienced since the late 1970’s when there was the perception that the world was closing in around us and the Soviets were on the road to victory. That time also saw the final ascendancy of “movement” conservatism as a revolutionary political force.

It will not be a year of decision. But the potential is there for global jihad to wreak havoc on the US and the west as the clock approaches midnight in Tel Aviv and the countdown for an Israeli strike on Iran approaches its final stages.

I have blown hot and cold over the years about whether Israel would attack Iran without US permission or support. But with Obama in office, I think the Israelis believe they have little choice. Our relations with the Jewish state are in shambles - the worst since Eisenhower. Quite simply, Israel does not trust the Obama administration. And with the rise of the J-Street crowd in power and influence in Washington, the prospects for US support of Israel in any strike on Iranian nuclear facilities are very bad.

A year ago I would have bet that the Israelis would have deferred to Washington on the question of attacking Iran. Now, I’m not so sure. The only question left for the Israelis is are they prepared for the consequences? The scenarios of the aftermath of such an attack are all bad. And they all include the certainty that terrorism would be unleashed against Israel, the US, and the west on a scale never before seen. There are Hezbollah cells all over the world, and it is generally believed that they can be activated by Iran. What they could accomplish as far as death and destruction can only be guessed at.

In addition, al-Qaeda is showing it’s not dead yet and may keep up its efforts to attack us. Odds are in their favor that they will breakthrough and succeed. Whether they have the capability for mass casualty attacks isn’t known but many experts believe it to be just a matter of time before WMD is used in a terror attack. What then? Where does that leave the Obama administration’s downplaying the terrorist threat? It’s not necessarily a bad policy but a couple of thousand dead Americans would make it seem faintly ridiculous. Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and their imitators may not represent an existential threat to America but I daresay the American people will have problems with the nuanced view that we shouldn’t get all bent out of shape over terrorism.

Of conservatism’s test I will say this; the farther conservatism retreats into the past, eschewing reason for emotionalism while welcoming groups like the John Birch Society back into the fold, the more irrelevant conservatism will become as a political force. Electoral gains in 2010 may indeed come to Republicans but it won’t be because of anything conservatism is offering but because the Democrats have royally screwed up. Until the voices of reason and pragmatism emerge to espouse a philosophy that resonates with ordinary people and addresses their real life concerns and problems, the right will continue to wander in the wilderness of political ideas wondering why no one takes their 19th century worldview seriously.

It should be an interesting year.

By: Rick Moran at 11:36 am
45 Responses to “2010: A TIME OF TESTING”
  1. 1
    Jenn of the Jungle Said:
    12:11 pm 

    That was so well said I teared up a little. Some “conservatives”, who I have immaturely named Becktards, scare me as much as Code Pinko nutters.

    People like me who cannot afford insurance and have gone without for years listen to Limbaugh’s comments and laugh, with bitter irony. He and others like him are so out of touch with the average American they should form their own country. Because ANYONE who has to deal with being uninsured knows, there are some major problems.

    I don’t want Obamao’s twisted version of socialist health care, but clearly the system is not working… can we start with tort reform????

  2. 2
    shaun Said:
    12:37 pm 

    You fundamentally — and I would say with malice of forethought — mischaracterize the Obama administration policy toward terrorists. As has been noted repeatedly in recent days, including Peter Baker’s exhaustive takeout in the NYTimes, Obama has continued many of the Bush administration’s policies while discarding the Chicken Little-Waterboard Everyone In Sight approach.

    Meanwhile, it’s good to have you back on your feet. Just try to keep them out of your mouth.

  3. 3
    DrKrbyLuv Said:
    1:29 pm 

    Mr. Moran wrote:

    “Put simply, Limbaugh and many of his listeners are out of touch. The alternate universe they inhabit posits an America inhabited by crusty individualists, self-reliant citizens, a Darwinian free market, and a culture informed by “Judeo-Christian” morals and principles. That’s a pretty good description of America, alright - 19th century America.

    ________________________________________

    You think Limbaugh and his listeners are part of a “culture informed by “Judeo-Christian” morals and principles.” If you knew anything about “Judeo-Christian” morals and principles; you would know that Limbaugh and many of his listeners are the antithesis of those fundamentals.

    These people clamored for war against Iraq under the pretense of phony WMDs. We know now, it was a lie, Iraq had no such weapons - even the WMDs that we supplied to them to use against Iran were gone. We killed over 1,300,000 Iraqis and astonishingly, there was never an inquiry or apology for massive crimes against humanity. Preemptive war based on lies goes against the Bible.

    These are the same people insisting that we give Israel, Egypt, etc, billions of dollars every year. Every penny of it borrowed and billed to the taxpayers. And, future generations are born into debt which they will never be able to repay. Besides being “taxation without representation”, this irresponsible borrowing defies the Bible. When you give your own money, you are being charitable but when you take other people’s (including future generations) money and give it away you are stealing.

    The United States has a combined private and public debt totaling around $57 trillion. Our entire money supply (measured as M3) is almost $15 trillion. How do we repay $57 trillion with $15 trillion?

    Virtually all of the money in our system is created as debt. There is only one way to get the $42 trillion needed to repay the debt…that is to borrow it as interest bearing loans.

    We are committing financial suicide as surely as a belt bomber is committing physical suicide. We are trapped in perpetual debt far more dangerous than Iraq or Afghanistan but yet we continue these deadly wars that are destroying our economy.

    At one time, interest bearing loans were considered usury by the Bible and outlawed by moral people. Now, with our private Federal Reserve money system we can better understand the sinful nature of a debt based money system.

    Like many moral Americans, I do not buy the insanity that war will bring us peace. We are not hated because we are free, but because we are deadly aggressors and imperial occupiers. Who will feel our war machine next…Yemen…Iran…Pakistan?

    It is time for Americans to wake up and stand-up against these insane and unholy wars. And, it is time for us to stop foreign aid (Israel alone gets at least several billion a year).


    You think Limbaugh and his listeners are part of a “culture informed by “Judeo-Christian” morals and principles.”

    Excuse me. It is painfully obvious once again that reading is not one of your strong suits. I wrote that THEY believe it, dunce.

    ed.

  4. 4
    michael reynolds Said:
    1:37 pm 

    You lack even a ghost of a fact to back up your nonsense about Obama and terror. You might as well be a drug-free Limbaugh: fact-free partisan bluster.

    You’re also missing a geographical fact: Israel can’t reach Iran without going through US-controlled airspace or Saudi-controlled airspace. In other words it is physically impossible for Israel to hit Iran without or approval. Which in Iranian/Hezbollah eyes makes it a US attack whether there’s a Star of David on the wings or not. Nothing flies in the Persian Gulf without us knowing it. Sure as hell not the hundreds of missions the Israelis would be flying.

    This could be disastrous for us. Economically, in terms of security, and in terms of our worldwide diplomacy. So be glad the Likudniks know we are not thrilled with them, and be glad we’ve got some distance and a president who has the capacity to say no. Would you really want Netanyahu empowered to unilaterally decide our fate?

    Ever hear of mid-air refueling? Guess not. There is a go around for the Israelis. They’d have to overlfy a slice of Egyptian desert to get to the Red Sea, down to the Arabian Gulf around the peninsula and into the Persian Gulf.

    The facts of Obama’s terror policy speak for themselves. He has downgraded it as a priority in government, yes? Note that I make the point that this is a legitimate policy choice. My contention is that it will look stupid if the shit hits the fan this year as many experts expect.

    As for my thoughts on Iran, click the category link on the left side panel marked “Iran” and start reading and scrolling. I have been against bombing them for 4 years and have listed the consequences of doing so numerous times - as I have also stated time and again that any attack from Israel would be seen in Iraq and Iran as an attack by us.

    ed.

  5. 5
    Richard bottoms Said:
    2:09 pm 

    I am relatively sanguine about our electoral chances going forward because the teabaggers that make up the base these days will doubtless be ever more over the top and foaming at the mouth berserk as the year progresses.

    However “weak” the Democrats are thought to be, the Republicans will match them in whack job craziness.

    They have no policies, only slogans when it comes to governance. Their big idea is they should be put back in charge because Obama hates America and won’t say terrorist.

    Sadly, for 49% of the population that will be sufficient for the GOP to get their votes. I am counting on the 2% to remain more horrified at Glenn Beck’s acolytes running the country than they are of Obama’s middle name.

    If unemployment is under 10% in November we win, or more precisely the GOP doesn’t gain much. And if they continue down the road of Palinization we’ll kick their a**es in 2012.

  6. 6
    SShiell Said:
    2:29 pm 

    “You’re also missing a geographical fact: Israel can’t reach Iran without going through US-controlled airspace or Saudi-controlled airspace. In other words it is physically impossible for Israel to hit Iran without our approval.”

    First, you are correct that Israeli aircraft have to violate either Saudi or US controlled airspaqce to get at Iran. But our approval is not necessary for Israel to hit Iran. Why? Simple - if the Israeli’s violate Saudi airspace, what do the Sauds have to stop them? They have no Patriot missile systems so they would have to depend upon air-to-air fighter assets. They have F-15s but they are still flown by Saudis. If the Sauds oppose them, the Israelis will cut through them like a hot knife through warm butter - Bet on it!

    Then there is flying through US controlled airpsace. Go over to CentCom and show me where there are Patriots assets deployed to Iraq - I’ll save you the trouble, there aren’t any. So again, you have to rely on air-to-air assets - US fighters versus Israelis fighters. And unless Obama orders US aircraft to attack and fire on Israeli aircraft, it ain’t gonna happen.

    But even if it does happen, I am not suggesting mutiny or anything like that, but there is considerable sympathy for the Israeli cause among members of the US military. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Obama does order US aircraft to engage the Israelis that there will be considerable consternation regarding weapon system malfunctions at the pointy end of this particular spear (If you get my meaning).

    (Note: I am a retired Air Force LTC with over 3,500 hours in high perfomance firghter aircraft. I am currently employed in support of Air Force operations in the Pentagon. In other words, I have some street cred in what I am saying.)

    Rick is correct. The after effects are the real constraints that have to be worked through. But the Israelis are faced with a fire v frying pan quandry. Do you trust a nuclear armed Iran? It may be easy to answer that question from our perspective - not so easy if you live in Israel.

    The real point: Does the US have Israel’s back? In previous administrations it was a question that need not even be asked. With this administration, it cannot be assumed!

  7. 7
    Richard bottoms Said:
    2:33 pm 

    God bless the GOP.

    DENVER (AP) — A Colorado state employee could be disciplined for sending an e-mail showing President Barack Obama shining the shoes of former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

    The 73-year-old Colorado Department of Transportation worker forwarded the e-mail to at least four co-workers and others on Dec. 22 using her state e-mail account. One of the recipients outside the agency complained.

    The new year is just four days old and the teabaggers are already at it. Maybe we should start a pool to see who calls President Obama “boy” first?

    look before you leap. The guy is a registered Democrat.

    ed.

  8. 8
    michael reynolds Said:
    2:37 pm 

    The facts of Obama’s terror policy speak for themselves. He has downgraded it as a priority in government, yes?

    No, in fact, he has not.

    On the contrary, he’s rushing men into Afghanistan, increasing our covert footprint there, and widening Predator strikes inside Pakistan. Which part of that is a downgrade? He’s also defined it overtly as an AfPak conflict. And he’s made it materially easier on “moderate” Arab governments with his outreach to Islam.

    The facts clearly show that we are sending more resources into the battle against Al Qaeda. All we’re sending less of is bullshit and empty threats.

    Now, if you can, why don’t you point out some area where Obama has downgraded our capabilities or reduced our effort? If you can’t then you might want to consider not just repeating Mr. Cheney’s lies as though they had some foundation in reality.

    If the facts speak for themselves then no doubt you’ll come up with a whole fistful of them.

  9. 9
    Richard bottoms Said:
    2:39 pm 

    The real point: Does the US have Israel’s back? In previous administrations it was a question that need not even be asked. With this administration, it cannot be assumed!

    Oh please.

    Just how much of the $60 billion or so that the US gives Israel has been revoked?

    Answer: none.

    It’s all a bunch of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) foisted on us by the GOP, desperate to get back into power by any means at all.

    If it means hamstringing foreign policy, opposing initiatives that they would gladly trumpet of put forward by George Bush then so be it.

    What monstrous perfidy has Obama heaped on Israel? How about asking them to slow the settlements and seriously negotiate.

    Moan. Wail. It’s the end of the world.

  10. 10
    michael reynolds Said:
    2:46 pm 

    First, you are correct that Israeli aircraft have to violate either Saudi or US controlled airspaqce to get at Iran. But our approval is not necessary for Israel to hit Iran. Why? Simple - if the Israeli’s violate Saudi airspace, what do the Sauds have to stop them? They have no Patriot missile systems so they would have to depend upon air-to-air fighter assets. They have F-15s but they are still flown by Saudis. If the Sauds oppose them, the Israelis will cut through them like a hot knife through warm butter - Bet on it!

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. If the Israelis go after Iran they will be operating at the very limits of their capacity. If the Saudis start shooting at them the deal goes south in a big hurry. The Saudis don’t have to be great pilots, all they have to do is start shooting and that will require the diversion of more Israeli resources to secure their attack. Not to mention alerting the Iranians. The question is whether the Saudis could ever bring themselves to covertly accept such an attack on Iran. Maybe they can.

    It will require US permission for Israel to attack. It may be overt or covert, but we’d have to say yes. Because whether they go over Jordan and Saudi, or take the largely mythical route down the Red Sea and up the Gulf — something that increases their difficulty level to an intolerable degree, I suspect — they will be flying through US radar, over US allies, over US-occupies countries, or over US aircraft carriers, and it is asinine to pretend that anyone in the Muslim world will believe a US denial. At the very least — the very least — it would mean that we failed to warn a sovereign nation that it was being attacked with US-origin weapons from a US ally. All the spin in the world won’t remove our name from that mission.

  11. 11
    SShiell Said:
    3:14 pm 

    “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    I bow to your superior knowledge of Aviation Weapons and Tactics!

    /sarc

    And as far as Dick Butt’s comments - consider the source!

  12. 12
    SShiell Said:
    3:46 pm 

    Now that I have posted a snarky response I will try and educate you about the Numbers of which you are so ignorant of. For reference regarding numbers and capabilities of aircraft I give you the following link (as if): http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/iaf-equipment.htm

    Can they reach the target? To the numbers: The Israelis have currently 25 F-15I and 102 F-16I aircraft. These are specially modified US F-15E and F-16D aircraft. Equivilent to the best we have in own current inventory and capable of expending the full range of “smart” lazer-guided munitions.

    They have both been specially modified with conformal fuel tanks, giving both aircraft a “Combat Radius” of over 1,000 nautical miles, more like 1,200. Combat radius means you can fly that distance, fight for 20 minutes and fly the same distance home. A cursory look at a map shows an Israel to Tehran distance of approximatley 800 nautical miles.

    Additionlly, as Rick alluded to but you conveniently overlooked, the Israelis have 4 KC-707 and 5 KC-130 air refueling aircraft. The 707s alone could easily extend the 15/16 combat radius by 50%.

    As far as whether the US will allow such a mission - I leave that to our illustrious Peerless Leader. That is his call! As far as the Saudis are concerned, their reputation as fighters is spit! Nary a speed bump the Israeli’s will glide over. And think about it - If the Israelis commit to such an atack, do you really think any Saudi opposition will deter them? Really??? (No need to answer - rhetorical question)

  13. 13
    michael reynolds Said:
    4:14 pm 

    I’m well aware of Israeli aircraft and their capabilities. You should be aware that unless they plan to deliver nuclear weapons they will need many missions to accomplish this. It’s not a simple dash to Tehran and back. There may be dozens, maybe many dozens of targets. Targets must be hit and then overflown to judge effectiveness then hit again if necessary. Many of these are very hard targets and will require many strikes.

    While they’re busily dropping bombs they also have to suppress or evade Iranian missiles and planes. This isn’t a one night affair, it’s a days-long affair — if they plan to do the job right.

    If you add to that inherent difficulty level the need to suppress Jordanian and Saudi countermeasures you raise the bar higher still. If you add mid-air refueling over the Red Sea you add another level of difficulty. For example, you need to be sure your refueling planes aren’t themselves targeted, which means more fighters expended for that purpose alone.

    F-15 and 16’s cannot all stay in the air all the time. Nor can their pilots. The planes need repair, re-arming, refueling. The pilots need sleep.

    All of which is why any rational observer taking a look at it would agree with what I said: they will be operating at the very limits of their capacity.

    I note you avoid addressing the possible damage to US interests. But then what does the Cheney clique care about US interests?

  14. 14
    c3 Said:
    5:25 pm 

    I’m no Limbaugh fan but in this case: ER visit for chest pain by “high risk” male, he’s probably correct; the system worked fine and he got the same care as anyone would have, insured or otherwise.

    Now, unfortunately not all medical problems are such. If he were a diabetic with a slightly infected foot, a blood sugar of 340 and evidence of mildly failing kidneys I would wager he would have received decidedly different care based on his insurance status (and many other factors)

    And finally, who cares what Limbaugh says about the American Health Care system. How did he get elevated to such status?

  15. 15
    SShiell Said:
    8:00 pm 

    “I note you avoid addressing the possible damage to US interests. But then what does the Cheney clique care about US interests?”

    On the points you made, Very simply:

    1. You said they couldn’t get there. I just proved to you they can.

    2. You said they had to have US approval. I just showed you they do not neeed it.

    3. The Israelis have hundreds of trained fighter pilots. Some of them are probably among the best in the world. 24/7 operaions like what would be entailed here is just the kind of surge operations the Israelis have practiced for their entire history.

    4. I did not adress the effect such an attack would have on the US - regardless of your piss poor assumption that I did. I happen to agree with Rick and (believe it or not) you that it would be disasterous to the US for them to attack and have stated so on numerous occasions in the past.

    But I also believe that Israel is going to have to make the decision - without at least conferring with the US. Our “soured” relationship with the Israelis have put us out of the decison loop for this issue. Israel believes that Obama is so intent on attaining some level of detente with Iran that he will do so at the expense of Israel. And as a result, Israel will not turn to us for guidance or even permission - they will do what they see is in their best interest - period!

    (Note: And as far as you dismissing me as a member of the Cheney Clique - Do the one thing you people on the left are good at - Go Fuck Yourself!!!)

  16. 16
    mannning Said:
    9:44 pm 

    America in the 21st century is a great, big, raucous, tumbling, jumbling place that has moved far beyond what these self-described conservatives believe her to be - or think she should be.

    In what way has America moved “far beyond?”? Without specifics going into substance further than raucous, tumbling, jumbling” this is a throwaway statement.

    Has Natural Law been rescinded?

    Is the Constitution out of date? How so?

    Are civil laws passe?

    Why do you think that our 300 million citizens cannot be governed by the same laws we have had for a long time?

    Are the basic principles of Conservatism, such as you have espoused, out of date? How so?

    Are the moral principles of Christianity out of date?

    If not, why shouldn’t the ones flaunting them be made to understand that their behavior is unacceptable in oue society and thagt they will reap the consequences for it. Do we bend our lives and our laws to suit the atheists, hedonists and nihilists, the bad parents, and the out-of-control children now grown up–physically at least?

    What does that statement of yours really mean?

  17. 17
    mannning Said:
    10:00 pm 

    MR:

    Uninformed as usual and willing to write about it!

    Has anyone told you that the Israelis now have significant in-air refueling capability? KC-10’s for example? Has anyone told you of the very substantial long-range guided missile capability they have, with either nuclear or conventional warheads? Do you believe that the US (Obama) would shoot down Israeli a/c if they overflew Iraq? Few do! If they did, that would be the end of Obama and Co. rather quickly, and good riddance.

    Once this first strike by Israel begins, Iran will retaliate on both Israel and the US wherever possible. Obama and Co. will be forced to respond in kind by his own people–us. He would have to show up in Congress and declare that war is upon us, and the Congress would agree.

  18. 18
    Postagoras Said:
    10:06 pm 

    Obama failed in appreciating the nature of the attack on Christmas day. He miscalculated the mood of the American people and came off looking weak and disengaged when he strolled to the podium more than 48 hours after the attack and read a rote statement that could have been delivered by a press flunkie.

    Oh my gosh, the American people were just in a tizzy after this bombing, wondering when President Obama would make a speech.

    But he didn’t have to hurry, because Republicans filled the breach and leapt to the defense of their country by immediately starting the blame game. These stalwart patriots did not let an attack on the country pass without using it to score partisan points.

    We’ll see who miscalculated the mood of the American people here.

  19. 19
    mannning Said:
    10:30 pm 

    The one correct thing you said, MR, is that it would be a campaign, not a single pass over the targets. Any fool would take out the Iranian air defenses and Communications, Command and Control facilities first and foremost. Only then could the nuclear target set be hit over and over with impunity. Since the Iranian defenses and targets are set in or near populous cities, there would be considerable civilian casualties well before the strikes on nuclear targets. Iran would declare war on Israel and the US, whether or not the Israeli raid is successful in knocking out the nuke sites.

    So, we are hung on what the Israelis will do, and they will not be deterred by us once they have decided to strike. They will probably give us some warning before launching the attacks, and even an invitation to join them to make it really effective. We should take the offer, since not taking it will not prevent Iran from declaring war and attacking us where possible, and it could prevent loss of our lives by destroying their attacker capabilities first.

  20. 20
    michael reynolds Said:
    10:59 pm 

    Manning:

    I referenced the inflight refueling capacity. Has anyone mentioned to you that the Saudis have AWACS and their own fighter jets and that a 707 tanker is a big, fat, slow target?

    The Israeli missiles are popguns against hardened targets. We’re not talking 1967 and hitting aircraft on runways. We’re talking targets buried under a lot of hardened concrete.

    Once this first strike by Israel begins, Iran will retaliate on both Israel and the US wherever possible. Obama and Co. will be forced to respond in kind by his own people–us. He would have to show up in Congress and declare that war is upon us, and the Congress would agree.

    WTF? Can you possibly make sense of that?

  21. 21
    funny man Said:
    11:42 pm 

    before dwelling to long on possible Israeli air strikes here is something lighter. The Somali would be assassin going after a Danish cartoonist with an axe pleaded innocent. Maybe he wanted to apply for a job chopping fire wood…

    All I can say is that the islamist wackos will remain a problem but we will survive. Obama, Bush, doesn’t make an ounce of a difference for their war against the kaffirs. That is why I always plead for unity (some degree) between liberals and conservatives in this area. You have a problem with Palin or Pelosi?, try Abdul Madschid al-Sandani (some red bearded extremist preacher in Yemen).

  22. 22
    Renovator Said:
    12:03 am 

    “Judeo-Christian”?!?

    Dictionaries define “Judeo” as a combinative form. Thus, the compound word “Judeo-Christian” implies that Judaism (Torah) is no more than a dependent element of Christianity.

    In typical supersessionist and displacement Christian tradition, Christians thoughtlessly presume the prefix “Judeo-” to lay false claim to Judaism (Torah) by means of an impossible union of “Judeo-” (pro-Torah) with “Christian” (supersessionist and displacement antinomian=anti-Torah=misojudaism).

    Where values are shared, the accurate (and honest) way would be to state “Judaic and Christian…” (values, traditions, etc.) instead of “Judeo-Christian.”

  23. 23
    RepentNLive! Said:
    12:27 am 

    LOL! This site is mis-named, it is a left-wing nuthouse populated by the spiritually and psysiologically impared! I don’t know if it’s Prozac or some more modern version, but you guys need your dosages adjusted. From the godless to the heirs of the Sadducees, what a bunch of poisonous, depraved (in the Calvinistic/Puritanical theological sense), absolute loons.

    And just to froth up the inmates here a bit, the W didn’t lie, his CIA full of liberals, some probably registered inmates of this fine asylum, did the lying. W’s mistake was thinking their word was trustworthy - LOL! He trusted lefties who all make a career from government - that is they are self-important parasites living off the productivity extorted from private citizens at governmental gunpoint.

  24. 24
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    1:25 am 

    manning said:

    Do we bend our lives and our laws to suit the atheists, hedonists and nihilists, the bad parents, and the out-of-control children now grown up–physically at least?

    Because atheism and bad parenting go hand in hand. You are a douche.

  25. 25
    Joe Said:
    6:13 am 

    Since when did Obama start “downplaying terrorism” ? Nice Dick Cheney impersonation Rick.Limbaugh is an out of touch blowhard, your batting .500 now Rick.Al Queda is capable of sriking, we should hunt them down,but,I won’t hide under my bed wetting my pants about them.Thats how they win. If Israel strikes Iran it will rally the people around their government and oil will hit $200, and still the nuclear threat could survive with their facilities buried underground.

  26. 26
    Gayle Miller Said:
    11:30 am 

    I was hospitalized 3 times during 2009, for a stroke and for two surgeries related to that event! In all cases, my care was first rate. The hospital staff was caring and professional and highly skilled. I am anything BUT rich and this class envy crap has got to stop! I don’t have anything special in the way of coverage - HMO coverage is what I’ve got, the cheapest coverage available.

    Haters will always and forever find a reason to continue and expand on their nonsense. It should stop here and now!

  27. 27
    funny man Said:
    11:54 am 

    Gayle,
    we might disagree sometimes but I wish you all the best for 2010.

  28. 28
    mannning Said:
    1:03 pm 

    Oh dear, there you go again!

    Conventional warheaded missiles are to be used against surface targets such as AA missile sites, radar sites, airfields, offensive missile sites, C4I stuff, entrances to underground sites, and such, where their payloads are quite adequate indeed to destroy what they hit, including revetted aircraft and runways.

    The missile attack will preceed any penetration of Iranian airspace, and should help considerably to clear the way for surface strike aircraft in the first waves that will finish the job of clearing out air defenses and any airborne threats. Once air defences are reduced, and other missiles sites as well, then the nuclear site strikes will begin, and the tankers will be quite safe orbiting over Iraq. the US will not shoot them down, even if ordered to by the madman in the WH. There would be massive “equipment malfunctions!”

    If you believe that the Saudis will come into this, you are really ignorant; they will stay home because they are smart enough to understand that in the war following, they could lose far too much. With US carriers nearby, and USAF assets in Iraq and elsewhere, plus the ever-present threat of our various missiles on ships and subs, they would be totally intimidated. As an earlier poster stated, they pose little threat anyway to the superbly trained pilots of the Israelis and the US, and they know it.

    What so many do not want to recognize is that we will be forced into this war on the Israeli side, and any ME nation that decides to support Iran will be our enemy also, which means they could lose just as Iraq lost.

    This simple and fateful trigger decision to attack is in the hands of the Israelis, not us. Every nation in the ME is aware of the danger this poses to them. That is also true for many in our Congress of late, and the President.

  29. 29
    Drongo Said:
    1:07 pm 

    “This simple and fateful trigger decision to attack is in the hands of the Israelis, not us. ”

    Interesting observation. So the decision whether America goes to war lies with the Israeli government.

    Mearsheimer and Walt must feel at least a little vindicated.

  30. 30
    SShiell Said:
    2:12 pm 

    “Mearsheimer and Walt must feel at least a little vindicated.”

    Why? Israel is faced with making this decision on her own for one reason only - Israel sees little or no backbone behind the rhetoric from the US that Iranian Nuclear weapons are not to be tolerated. And if the US does not have her back, then Israel will go it alone. She did so over 20 years ago when she took out Iraq’s nuclear facility. She’ll do it again if she feels her survival is at stake.

  31. 31
    michael reynolds Said:
    3:33 pm 

    Manning:

    You live in a fantasy world. It’s very hard to debate people who just invent a world.

  32. 32
    mannning Said:
    3:36 pm 

    Well, Drongo, I believe that the American people will demand that we respond to Iran’s counterattacks on our people and facilities worldwide, including here in the US itself.

    I also believe that if the Israelis do not get a satisfactory conclusion to the demand that Iran divest itself of its nuclear weapons programs, they will attack—most thoroughly, and soon now. We cannot stop them.

    Ergo, we will be at war with Iran when the Israelis start it by hitting Iran, and Iran responds by hitting Israel and us.

  33. 33
    mannning Said:
    3:39 pm 

    All you have to do is sit on your ass and wait, MR, just as our Leader is doing. It is impossible to be civil to someone that rants and raves without reason on their side.

  34. 34
    mannning Said:
    4:49 pm 

    CT:

    You think there are no atheists that are bad parents? You think there are no bad parents that are not atheists? Etc. Etc. Etc. Silly!

  35. 35
    michael reynolds Said:
    8:11 pm 

    I note that our host Rick has still not supplied a single one of the “facts” he said “speak for themselves.”

    Neither have any of the right-wing commenters above.

    Imagine my surprise. It’s almost as if none of you has the slightest idea what you’re talking about. It’s almost as if you’re just making stuff up. Like you just really don’t even give a damn about the truth but substitute partisan rage for reality. Yep, it’s almost like that.

  36. 36
    sota Said:
    6:27 am 

    Imagine my surprise. It’s almost as if none of you has the slightest idea what you’re talking about. It’s almost as if you’re just making stuff up. Like you just really don’t even give a damn about the truth but substitute partisan rage for reality. Yep, it’s almost like that.

    It’s becoming more and more difficult to resist my inner snarkiness with your responses, but I’ll do it again.

    I note that our host Rick has still not supplied a single one of the “facts” he said “speak for themselves.”

    I assume it’s your contention that Obama is giving counter-terrorism the same priority that Bush gave it? How does that jive with terrorism being an overblown threat that the GOP is just hyperventilating over?

  37. 37
    SShiell Said:
    8:28 am 

    “Like you just really don’t even give a damn about the truth but substitute partisan rage for reality.”

    Rick made the following points:

    1. Obama’s failure to reassure the American public.

    If he is wrong, why is it still an issue to this day. Why did the President have to come out more than once to make his statement. We didn’t hear him the first time? Or his first statement did nothing to alleviate the question. Any facts there in dispute?

    “The facts of Obama’s terror policy speak for themselves. He has downgraded it as a priority in government, yes?” Can you refute this? Then do so.

    2. Rush Limbaugh’s strange comments on Health Care.

    Even a member of the Cheney Cabal like myself found his statements confusing. Any facts there in dispute?

    3. Primal thrust of Global Jihad.

    Are you saying there isn’t a potential threat there? Rick postulated about the potential head-to-head confrontations on various stages of Jihad versus the West. What facts did he leave out?

    4. Conservatism’s Test.

    A short discussion of where Conservatism is going and the forces that may bring the ideology down. He did not offer any facts but more so posed questions that may or may not be answered in the coming year.

    LOL!!! The only partisan rage being demonstrated in these comments come from people like MR, DrKrbyLuv, and Dick Butt and company. They take a piece by Rick and attack the premise. They offer no facts themselves and when their points are refuted with fact, their only recourse is to charge Rick’s use of the facts.

  38. 38
    Eric Said:
    12:23 pm 

    Rick,

    Thanks as always for a thoughtful post. I wish you and your fellows all the best in your struggle to take back your party from the likes of Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity. We need the best ideas from the entire political spectrum if we’re to succeed in the many challenges facing the country.

    On the question of terrorism, however, I have to disagree to some degree. While we need to work to avoid the serious threat of a terrorist attack with WMD or standard weapons employed as such, we also need to remember what the ideal of terrorism is: to use fear as a weapon to keep us from living our lives with boldness and freedom. Taking the threat seriously doesn’t mean overreacting in law or force of arms. we have to take a cold hard look at what’s effective and, yes, the tradeoffs in terms of our rights as well as our economic system. Personally I disagree with many of the steps now being taken to deal with the latest threat but I don’t think the administration is “downplaying” the the threat so much as trying to fit it into our ongoing understanding of daily business. Terrorism isn’t going anywhere and while we must fight it on all fronts we can’t give in to its debilitating goals of creating a fearful reactive society willing to compromise its most fundamental principles on an ongoing basis.

  39. 39
    Richard bottoms Said:
    12:45 pm 

    Teabaggers, the gift that keeps on giving.

    Dale Robertson, a Tea Party activist who operates TeaParty.org, is getting stung for an old photo — taken at the Feb. 27, 2009 Tea Party in Houston — in which he holds a sign reading “Congress = Slaveowner, Taxpayer = Niggar.”

    And giving.

    Mike Parry, Minnesota State Senate Candidate, Defends Racist Twitter Message

    Last week, Minnesota State Senate candidate Mike Parry scrubbed from his Twitter account messages calling President Obama a “power hungry arrogant black man” and linking Democrats to pedophiles.

    Back in the day racists knew how to spell.

  40. 40
    michael reynolds Said:
    12:57 pm 

    Sota:

    A non-response. Do you have an actual response? One containg, say, a fact?

  41. 41
    michael reynolds Said:
    1:00 pm 

    SShiel:

    I love it when you try to defend Rick’s positions because, unlike you, he’s not an idiot. So when he sees you write something like:

    “The facts of Obama’s terror policy speak for themselves. He has downgraded it as a priority in government, yes?” Can you refute this? Then do so.

    He has to groan and die a little inside.

    The burden of proof is on your end. Rick offered an assertion. You second it. And I sit here tapping my fingers waiting for a single fact to back it up.

    So far you have rhetorical questions and a lame attempt at burden-shifting. In other words: nada.

  42. 42
    SShiell Said:
    1:17 pm 

    “So far you have rhetorical questions and a lame attempt at burden-shifting. In other words: nada.”

    So Fucking Sue Me!

  43. 43
    sota Said:
    6:08 pm 

    A non-response. Do you have an actual response? One containg, say, a fact?

    For you? Maybe when you show a reasonable desire to debate a topic.

    Until then?

    Nope.

  44. 44
    mannning Said:
    8:13 am 

    But if there was ever an example of why conservatism has become irrelevant it was Limbaugh’s monumentally stupid remarks about the American health care system:

    From the personal experiences of my family, the medical systems that we have availed ourselves of are excellent. I am no multi-millionaire, and I do not subscribe to any gold-plated medical insurance, merely those that bring down my out-of-pocket costs. Medicare has been a live-saver, but I fear that it will suffer a big hit from Obamacare.

    However, I am continually amazed at the ability of Medicare and the various insurance companies to negotiate far less fees for my medical services from both hospitals and doctors.

    For instance, my wife’s last stay in a hospital was charged at $20,000 for two days, but after submission to the insurance company, the hospital accepted a rate of $675 per day! Something is amiss here!

    This pattern continues for every bill that I receive from doctors and hospitals. If these exorbitant rate structures are applied to those without insurance, most people could not afford care.

    The bottom line seems to me to be that while the medical services themselves are very good, the costs and rate structures are totally out of whack. The fact that a very large percentage of ER services are given free of charge at public hospitals (by law!)is forcing hospitals to distort their rates to make up the differences. Defensive medicine practices also drive up costs: my primary physician is very quick to order up CT scans, blood work, and whatever else he can think of when presented with an illness.

    While that satisfies me, some real number of those tests are actually not necessary: the doctor has already made an accurate diagnosis. He simply wants the backup that tests will show in case of a dispute. That is a good reason for us to be looking into tort law very carefully to reduce costs.

  45. 45
    SShiell Said:
    12:21 pm 

    “That is a good reason for us to be looking into tort law very carefully to reduce costs.”

    That will not happen so long as Obama and the Democrats are in charge and they are in the pockets of the trial lawyers!

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