Networking endorsements....

The world is reported as erupting in antiwar protests, while Kerry the antiwar candidate continues to rack up endorsements. The most notable is of course, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, noted anti-Semitic and anti-homosexual bigot:

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad endorsed Democratic contender John Kerry (news - web sites) in the U.S. presidential race Thursday, saying he would keep the world safer than President Bush (news - web sites).

"I think Kerry would be much more willing to listen to the voices of people and of the rest of the world," Mahathir, who retired in October after 22 years in power, told The Associated Press in an interview.

"But in the U.S., the Jewish lobby is very strong, and any American who wants to become president cannot change the policy toward Palestine radically," he said.

Mahathir, who was one of the most outspoken leaders in the Islamic world, also said the March 11 train bombings in Spain demonstrated that the Iraqi war has aggravated international terrorism and raised hostility toward Washington and its allies. (Via Right Wing News)

(In fairness, it should be noted that Kerry does not want Mohamad's support -- any more than he wanted Ramsey Clark's.)

Silflay Hraka offers a collection of Mohamad's anti-Semitic statements like this one:

The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.

If the Arabs who before were not terrorists are today willing to commit suicide in order to fight against the Israelis or Americans, there must be a reason for it. And the reason is that they feel that Americans and the Jews and the Europeans have been unjust to them."

And I previously posted about Mohamad's virulently anti-homosexual statements.

But let's assume that Mahathir Mohamad were to get his way. Who would he and the antiwar demonstrators have rule the world instead of the Jews and their "proxies"? The answer to the "proxy war" in Iraq is of course total U.S. withdrawal. But al Qaida fighters have been pouring into the place, which, in the post-Saddam power vacuum, would only mean growing terrorist hegemony.

There is said to be "no connection" between al Qaida and Iraq. Then why has al Qaida made Iraq its central focus? I see no one seriously denying that the purpose of the 3-11 attack was to stop Spain from supporting the war in Iraq. I think it is reasonable to assume that their next attack will also be related to the war in Iraq. Which means that to the extent the targeted countries comply with al Qaida's demands as Spain has, al Qaida will be winning.

Unless, of course, one maintains that there is no connection between al Qaida and Iraq, and that this is all some Jewish plot to rule the world by proxy.

Then there's this report from Richard Clarke, that the Iraq war inflamed bin Laden:

Clarke also harshly criticizes Bush over his decision to invade Iraq, saying it helped brew a new wave of anti-American sentiment among supporters of Osama bin Laden (news - web sites).

"Bin Laden had been saying for years, 'America wants to invade an Arab country and occupy it, an oil-rich Arab country.' This is part of his propaganda," Clarke said. "So what did we do after 9/11? We invade ... and occupy an oil-rich Arab country, which was doing nothing to threaten us."

This fits right in with the prevailing meme that the world is more dangerous not because of al Qaida, but because Bush and the war in Iraq pissed off al Qaida.

I have no idea whether Richard Clarke is endorsing Kerry (although his close friend and teaching colleague, Rand Beers, is Kerry's National Security advisor and may have recruited Clarke by now), but if the idea is to realign U.S. foreign policy so as to avoid irritating al Qaida, I think it is fair to ask whether this might work.

Isn't that what so many people call appeasement?

Can appeasement be made to work?

If so, then Kerry is clearly the guy to make a case for it. The problem is that appeasement has not worked before; it only emboldened al Qaida.

In any case, Clarke's job dealt with cyber-security, (see this interview) and I am not sure whether his revelations will be as earth-shaking as the media hoopla might make them appear.

Clarke's was known as the prophet of an "Electronic Pearl Harbor" (which didn't quite pan out as Clarke warned). Maybe that's why he resigned?

In any case, the enemy is al Qaida.

Not WiFi.


UPDATE: ANOTHER ENDORSEMENT of John Kerry, by Noam Chomsky! Chomsky doesn't sound terribly enthusiastic (calling Kerry "Bush-lite") but hell, every little bit helps.

MORE: And here's DICK CHENEY on Clarke:

"The only thing I can say about Dick Clarke," Cheney told radio host Rush Limbaugh, "is he was here throughout those eight years going back to 1993, and the first attack on the World Trade Center in '98 when the embassies were hit in east Africa, in 2000 when the USS Cole was hit.
But that was before he realized the true nature of the WiFi problem now menacing us!


UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking to this post! And a big welcome to all InstaPundit readers.

AND MORE: Via Little Green Footballs, here's Richard Clarke's Legacy of Miscalculation:

The outgoing cybersecurity czar will be remembered for his steadfast belief in the danger of Internet attacks, even while genuine threats developed elsewhere.
I suggest reading it all.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Randy Barnett reviews the Bush administration's response to Dick Clarke, and concludes,

Because valid criticisms will now be hard for the public to distinguish from unfounded politically-motivated assertions, the pervasiveness of rejectionism by Bush haters is likely to retard rather than enhance our understanding of the failures that led to 9/11. (Via Glenn Reynolds.)
Simply getting the facts has become like pulling teeth. Objective analysis of valid criticisms has become almost impossible.


MORE: Noting an additional Clarke remark (contradictory in nature, and so far largely ignored) Glenn Reynolds adds a musical rejoinder:

You want a revolution in antiterrorism? Fine. We'd all love to see the plan.

ANOTHER ENDORSEMENT? I've fallen behind, and I am having trouble keeping track. But Kerry seems to have picked up another endorsement while I wasn't looking. Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela. I'll have to sleep on this for now. Meanwhile, the whole world is watching -- especially CNN, which notes that Kerry is not Chavez-friendly:

Kerry has attacked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a dubious democrat hostile to U.S. interests, delivering a slap in the face to the leftist leader who had portrayed Kerry as a potential friend.
What's the matter with Chavez, anyway? If he wants Kerry to win, why endorse him? Who's he working for? Karl Rove?

posted by Eric on 03.20.04 at 10:12 PM







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Comments

Nice strawman you beat up. Nobody on the left says we should "avoid irritating" al-Qaida, Mr. graduate of the Ann Coulter school of rhetoric. Clarke said we shouldn't have deliberately inflamed the arab world by invading a country that had nothing to do with terrorism, period. Got any more stupid, baseless assertions?

Seriously, one day the blinders are going to fall off your eyes and you'll see that in fact, your fellow Americans who are questioning Bush aren't doing so out of any kind of desire to appease terrorism or because we've fallen victim to seductive and insidious "prevailing memes." It's because Bush's policies haven't worked. I guess the only question left is whether people like you, Lileks, Sullivan, and Instapundit are going to present honest arguments about the risks, dangers, and potential gains from Bush's strategy, or just fall back on accusations of cozying up to al-Qaida and undermining civilization?

Anonymous   ·  March 23, 2004 10:07 AM

Yeah, I have another stupid, baseless assertion. I think commenters from the United States Chamber of Commerce (12.4.20.217) ought to at least have the decency to put their names on comments.

And since you gratuitously lump me with Ann Coulter, I think I'll call you one of Mahathir Mohamad's stooges!

Nyah nyah!

Eric Scheie   ·  March 23, 2004 10:28 AM

There you go, Eric. You're the one equating critics with appeasers, so the comparision with Ann Coulter was inevitable.

Tom Young   ·  March 23, 2004 10:35 AM

Thanks for your comment, Tom. I see your point, although I did not equate all critics with appeasers; I said "if the idea is to realign U.S. foreign policy so as to avoid irritating al Qaida," it is fair to ask a) whether that's appeasement, and b) whether it would work.

(I suspect Ann Coulter would have used stronger language....)

Eric Scheie   ·  March 23, 2004 11:08 AM

You're right, you did say that. And my response is that it is dishonest and miserable to claim that anyone -- anyone -- would have us "realign U.S. foreign policy so as to avoid irritating al Qaida." There is no official, elected or appointed, who holds that position and you know it. I repeat, it's a strawman you set up deliberately to link Clarke and Iraq war critics with "appeasement." So despite your hemming and hawing about how you "did not equate all critics with appeasers," I think it's quite clear why you brought up the concept, Ann Coulter Jr.

No one -- rightly -- suggested that Bush was an appeaser when he pulled our troops out of Saudi Arabia. Why? Because though it may have coincided with Bin Laden's objectives, it was clear that Bush was doing it out of our own self interest. Yet when Americans suggest that Bush's Iraq policy may have made things less safe for us by giving al-Qaida a fertile recruitment ground and a new front in the war, we're called appeasers and Saddam apologists by the likes of you and Glen Reynolds. And I'm fed up with it.

Tom Young   ·  March 23, 2004 12:05 PM

Tom, you're using the word "we" pretty loosely. I was talking about Richard Clarke, and I don't recall calling anyone a "Saddam apologist" (whether you're "fed up" or not!)

If Clarke "harshly criticizes Bush over his decision to invade Iraq, saying it helped brew a new wave of anti-American sentiment among supporters of Osama bin Laden" I think it's hardly dishonest (or miserable) to ask whether that's a call to "realign U.S. foreign policy so as to avoid irritating al Qaida."

But I am glad to hear that there is no official, elected or appointed, who holds that position.

What a relief!

Should I call off my "mom"?

Eric Scheie   ·  March 23, 2004 12:52 PM

"If Clarke "harshly criticizes Bush over his decision to invade Iraq, saying it helped brew a new wave of anti-American sentiment among supporters of Osama bin Laden" I think it's hardly dishonest (or miserable) to ask whether that's a call to "realign U.S. foreign policy so as to avoid irritating al Qaida."

Eric:

what you wrote was indeed both dishonest and miserable, and you should take it back.

I agree that Clarke called for a realignment of U.S. foreign policy. But you went a step further, questioning whether it was done "to avoid irritating al Qaida." What I'm saying is that in the absence of any evidence, any non-Coulter-esque person would assume Clarke's position as being motivated by a sincere desire to improve our counter-terrorism policy (as you assumed with Bush pulling troops out of Saudi) and address it on that basis. You, on the other hand, characterize it in the most slanderous, sinister, and cowardly light, based on no evidence or reason at all except for your apparent wish for a strawman to abuse. That is Coulter-level dishonesty, period.

But you didn't just stop there, Eric, as your quote would imply. You left off the best part. After you questioned whether your invented Clarke was motivated by such cowardly, America-hating desires, you then compounded your error with slander by using your baseless characterization as a springboard to make your tenous link to appeasement and Clarke's theoretical support for it. You even went so far as to label John Kerry "clearly the guy to make a case for" such. That's not logic, that's a smear job. You associated both Clarke and Kerry with appeasement and cowardice based on nothing more than your imagination. It's miserable and vile, and any honorable person would withdraw the statement. Will you?

But let's look at your strawman Clarke more closely, so we can expose your cognitive dissonance. You suspect that Clarke on the one hand might be motivated by a cowardly desire "to avoid irritating al-Qaida." How do you square that with the fact that he also wanted us to invade Afghanistan? Wouldn't that also irritate al-Qaida? Do you actually believe Clarke thinks he can curry favor with Bin Laden while at the same time trying to kill him? Really? How does appeasement work while we're bombing the people we're trying to appease, exactly? It doesn't, because that person doesn't exist outside of the minds of the war-hawks.

The saddest part is this, Eric. As you wrote: "Objective analysis of valid criticisms has become almost impossible." And you, Glen Reynolds, and others, by willfully condoning and participating in these smear jobs and appeaser witch hunts, are actively a part of that problem.

Anonymous   ·  March 23, 2004 3:02 PM

To be fair, as far as I know, you never called war critics Saddam apologists. Lileks, Little Green Footballs, and Reynolds are better for that. And I visit Andrew Sullivan for all my fifth column needs.

Tom   ·  March 23, 2004 3:25 PM

There are a lot of words put in my mouth and a lot of name calling. (Dishonest, miserable, vile, dishonorable, etc.)

Complaining of "smear jobs" strikes me as a little disingenous under the circumstances.

If you don't appease me by retracting what you said, do I get to call you dishonorable?

Eric Scheie   ·  March 23, 2004 4:15 PM

Hey, clearly Kerry's the best guy to make the case for appeasement, what do I know?

Anonymous   ·  March 23, 2004 4:46 PM

Call me what you like, just don't imply that Clarke or Kerry are appeasers if you have no evidence or reasoning to back it up. And definitely don't do it if you're simultaneously trying to complain about the degradation of political discourse.

Anonymous   ·  March 23, 2004 5:45 PM

It's my blog and I'll imply if I want to!

But why should I imply anything? Kerry himself stated that he wants a return to Clinton policies: "he'll treat terrorist acts against the U.S. as a law enforcement problem rather than as acts of war - the approach favored by President Clinton throughout the 1990s as Osama bin Laden repeatedly struck U.S. targets with impunity."

Simply put, I disagree with that strategy. So what's to imply?

Eric Scheie   ·  March 23, 2004 7:31 PM

Congratulations, Eric, you have hit the trifecta!

1) Failure to address my arguments? Check.
2) Introducing new evidence in an attempt to disguise that failure? Check.
3) Unable to be bothered to do the basic research, instead using NewsMax (!) as a source for your unsubstantiated, paranoid, Kerry=appeasement assertions? Check.

You have truly earned the right to be called Ann Coulter Jr.! (Or for the classically-minded, Cleon Jr. Wait, I take it back. Even he wouldn't have read NewsMax, much less relied on it for evidence.) Way to elevate the discourse today through the classical values of slander and dishonesty! Me, I'm going to actually read the speech and decide for myself. Adios!

Tom   ·  March 24, 2004 10:35 AM

Tom, Thanks for coming back! I have no obligation to respond to you at all, but even if I did, insults aren't worth taking seriously as arguments. Scorn, abuse, ridicule, putting words in my mouth, plus repeated gratuitous attacks on other bloggers who are not here to defend themselves -- these things speak for themselves.

Characterizing someone as "Coulter-esque" is ad hominem argument, and telling me what I assume about Bush and the Saudis (when I said nothing about that) is not worth a serious answer.

If you feel that asking whether appeasement has worked before and whether it will work again is "slanderous, sinister, and cowardly," I don't consider that to be logical argument.

Wouldn't it be more productive to start your own blog? A lot of people enjoy theatrics. (Check.)

I enjoyed your attack on Newsmax but it might be better to refute the article than attack the source. You're not preaching to any choir here.

Would you prefer WorldNetDaily?

Check!

Tom, you have criticized my research, but you forget that I don't work for you. But even so, I took the time to find a more thorough discussion than the Newsmax article.

-- JUST FOR YOU --
http://www.rightwingnews.com/category.php?ent=1845

Now be nice and don't say I never did anything for you!

Eric Scheie   ·  March 24, 2004 11:23 AM

I've enjoyed this whole thing, Eric, really I have. But you must understand my frustration. And if I've gotten too far afield of your original post with my "scorn and abuse," and by bringing the innocent Lileks and Instapundit into it, it's because your responses have been so light on actual content that I haven't had much to work with.

You assert (at first you tiptoed, then stated openly) that your dislike of Kerry's (and Clarke's) positions as being ineffectual or indecisive on terror has led you to conclude that he is an appeaser. I feel that while you are incorrect in your assesment of the effectiveness of Kerry's positions, it is a subject on which reasonable people can disagree. "Appeaser," though, has a very specific and inflammatory meaning: that one is trying to buy off one's enemy. And the subtext, of course, is that one is a feckless coward, perhaps even a traitor, let alone the Nazi connotations.

And so I repeat, highlight, underscore, underline, my following and as-yet totally ignored point: that never have you produced one shred of evidence or reasoning to support that appeasement, the desire to buy off our enemies, is Kerry's (or Clarke's, or anyone's, for that matter) motivation. This is simply your *imagined* motivation. The fact that you're so quick to first suspect, then definitively assign such an inflammatory motivation in the total absence of evidence is what makes you so... how shall I say it... dishonorable, dishonest, and anti-democratic. In my opinion, this impulse that you're giving into is one of the most disgusting forces in American politics today: the attempt to portray reasonable critics of Bush as cowards. This is an impulse that rightly deserves our scorn and abuse. At it's root, it's the same impulse that convinces some dumb anti-war activists to call Bush a Nazi. The fact that you're now trying to hide behind the defense of "just asking whether appeasement works" is really sad and unconvincing. It's like a leftist saying "I'm just questioning whether Bush thinks Nazism works, I'm not calling him a Nazi." And then you go and claim to want to elevate the discourse. Well, you've been pissing in the pool, so you have no right to complain about the taste.

We both know you think Kerry's an appeaser (what's to imply?), and you have no basis in logic or evidence to even introduce the concept except as a smear. That's wrong. So I called you on it, and you've never even provided a response. Will you ever?

Tom   ·  March 24, 2004 2:02 PM

"Appeaser," though, has a very specific and inflammatory meaning: that one is trying to buy off one's enemy.

Actually, appeasement sometimes works, and is not always dishonorable.

The following definition comes from

http://www.yourencyclopedia.net/Appeasement

"Appeasement is the strategic maneuver, based on either pragmatism, fear of war, or moral conviction, that leads to the adopting a non-aggressive or non-retaliative stance towards aggressors.

Appeasement is probably a learned behaviour or strategy, often shaped by negative experience when aggression was used in the past."

I don't think appeasement has worked in the past, and I do NOT know whether Kerry wants to pursue such a policy. Frankly, it's hard to know what he wants to do. Thus I raised the question. You dislike my raising the question, and you have hurled innumerable insults at me for raising it.

While I dislike Kerry in general and suspect that he would favor appeasement, a lot could happen to change his mind -- or mine, for that matter.

If you dislike me or my blog, fine!

I'll continue to raise whatever questions I want, and your tone not only fails to persuade me, but I think it departs from civility.

("inflammatory motivation, dishonorable, dishonest, and anti-democratic, one of the most disgusting forces in American politics today....")

Come on! It's simply name-calling, and I don't think it elevates discourse at all.

I would agree to disagree, but I doubt it's possible.

By the way, if you speculated that Bush is a Nazi, I would disagree with you as politely as I could -- even though I don't think wondering whether Kerry is an appeaser rises to quite the same level. Obviously, you disagree.

Eric Scheie   ·  March 24, 2004 2:44 PM

Wow, well, so your whole case rests on your claim that you called John Kerry an appeaser, but in a clinical, non-judgmental way, all in the spirit of free-minded inquiry. I guess there are some people out there for whom "appeaser" is an objective, value-neutral descriptor, for whom the term fails to conjure up any negative connotations of cowardice or folly. I just don't believe that you meant it that way, or that you or your readers are such people. I think you meant it as a slur. Casually slurring Kerry and Democrats as appeasers is a "prevailing meme," too, in case you were wondering.

But at least we agree that you have no evidence for it. And anyway, as I said before, your conceit of Kerry trying to appease Al-Qaida while simultaneously trying to bomb and kill them simply makes no sense, something you left unchallenged. In fact, it makes so little sense, that the simplest and best explanation for why you brought up the concept remains that you were tossing off a casual drive-by tarring. I'm not trying to deny you the right to ask whatever questions you want, Eric. I just think you went over the line with your appeaser rhetoric, and deserve to recieve comments that "depart from civility" for it.

Tom   ·  March 25, 2004 1:49 PM

Tom, this is getting really tired, but once again, I see nothing dishonest in speculating that Kerry might favor a policy of appeasement.

Others have made a case for the proposition that Kerry does in fact favor appeasement. I don't have to do that, and I really don't have to cite a single source for my own speculations.

But since you keep bringing it up, it is unreasonable to claim that there's nothing more to the Kerry-as-appeaser meme than my unsupported speculation.

Here are a few:

-- Kenneth R. Timmerman.

-- Michael Barone

-- Cox & Forkum

(I did not cite my "mom" because I frown on nepotism.)

Feel free to slam them all as vile, miserable, dishonest or disgusting. And I suppose you can call me dishonest for not citing them before. (Your complaint that I was "introducing new evidence" was a real gem, by the way -- as if I'm on trial by you at my own blog, and have no right to say anything once your "deadline" has passed.)

In any case, whether Kerry favors appeasement does not depend solely on MY speculations -- whether supported or not. I'm just blogging, and I consider the issue an open topic.

Would you be happier if I just came out and called Kerry an appeaser? The reason I didn't do that is I am not entirely convinced he still thinks as he did in the 1970s. I will reserve judgment, and I'll speculate as much as I want.

Eric Scheie   ·  March 25, 2004 2:33 PM

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