Friday, December 10, 2004

Answers to eight questions by Kevin Drum Answers to eight questions by Kevin Drum

Kevin Drum asks in the The Washington Monthly:
1. Considering how Iraq has gone so far, do you still think that American military power is a good way to promote tolerance and democracy in the Middle East? Has your position on this changed in any way over the past two years?

Yes and no, respectively. Turning the other cheek, or cutting and running, as was done by previous administrations, most notably that of Mr. Clinton, failed utterly in promoting either tolerance or democracy. It only incited Al Qaeda et al. into bigger and bigger attacks on us.
2. Shortly after 9/11, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson said publicly that they thought the attacks were well-deserved retribution from God in response to moral decay — as personified by gays, feminists, the ACLU, and NOW. Do you worry that Falwell and Robertson are identified by many as the face of the Republican party? Do you think President Bush has sufficiently distanced himself from them and their followers?

They are only identified as the face of the Republican Party by the rabid left, who seek an easy way to tar the entire Republican Party. Indeed, identifying Michael Moore as the face of the Democratic Party today would be more accurate, given this last election.
3. Is democracy promotion really one of your core concerns? Just how far are you willing to go to demonstrate your credibility on this subject? Note: President Bush's policy toward either Pakistan or Saudi Arabia would be excellent case studies to bring this question to life.

Yes it is. This is an absurd argument. But in any case, a thriving democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan will affect both countries immensely.
4. On a related note, which do you think is more important to the Bush administration in the short term: preservation of a stable oil supply from the Middle East or spreading freedom and liberty throughout the region? Would you be interested in seeing the records of Dick Cheney's 2001 energy task force to verify this? Please be extra honest with this question.

Before 9/11, I would have said oil. Now, democracy, because it is the only realistic way to combat Islamic terrorism. And of course, oil in the hands of Islamic terrorists would make that problem worse too.
5. A substantial part of the Christian right opposes any compromise with Palestinians because they believe that Jewish domination of the region west of the Jordan River is a precondition for the Second Coming. Is this a reasonable belief? Or do you think these people qualify as loons who should be purged from the Republican party?

In your rabid leftist dreams. This is a gross mischaracterization of the Christian right, with no basis in fact.
6. Yes or no: do you think we should invade Iran if it becomes clear — despite our best efforts — that they are continuing to build nuclear weapons? If this requires a military draft, would you be in favor?

No, and I am not sure if I would even support bombing Iran – I would probably leave that to the Israelis. The reality is that we are to some extent in a race with time in Iran. It is falling apart as we speak. Massive protests, being brutally put down. I expect to see another Iranian revolution in the very near future, esp. if we can get thriving democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan on two of its borders. Esp. if these democracies can maintain some amount of secularization. The problem with invading Iran, above and beyond the practical, is that it would probably be counterproductive, with all of those pro-American Iranian youths rallying behind their flag.

So, no. We shouldn’t invade.
7. If President Bush decides to substantially draw down our troop presence in Iraq after the January 30 elections, will you support that decision? Please answer this question prior to January 30.

Depends on why he does it.
8. Would you agree that people who accept Laurie Mylroie's crackpot theories about Saddam Hussein's involvement in 9/11 might be taking the threat of terrorism a little too seriously? What do you think should be done with them?

No worse than the crackpots who still believe as an article of faith that there were no ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Neither is true.

Maybe I should rephrase your question. Would you agree that people who accept the crackpot theories that there were and continue to be no ties between Saddam Hussein et al. and Al Qaeda might be taking the threat of terrorism not seriously enough?

You appear to be one of those people who want to continue to live in a 9/10 world. The world before a handful of Islamic terrorists attacked us on our own soil and killed more Americans than the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor.

There is no reason to believe that if we did not respond, that the attacks would just go away. Instead, as we continued to ignore attacks on us, including when the Iranian “students� occupied our embassy in Iran for so long, the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the first attack on the WTC, attacks on our embassies in Africa, Black Hawk Down in Somolia, and the attack on the Cole, the attacks just got more brazen and frequent.

While it appears that Saddam Hussein had pretty much dismantled his WMD programs under pressure of sanctions, the CIA report this summer made clear that he was prepared to immediately restart these programs when sanctions were lifted, and there was every indication that his massive bribery was having the desired effect – our putative allies, most notably France and Russia, were not only taking bribes, but were violating sanctions on a routine basis, while working to lift them. And there is some evidence that Al Qaeda was talking with him about WMDs, etc. I think it highly probable that we would have seen an WMD attack in this country utilizing Iraqi WMDs in the next decade or so if we had not invaded.

So, in my view, only someone heavy into denial could ask the question you asked.

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