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Anti-Americans should stop masquerading as anti-war [SECOND UPDATE]

by Frank Schnittger Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 07:47:46 AM EST

My letter to the Editor on the South Ossetia crisis was published by both the Irish Times (today) and as the featured Letter in Saturday's Irish Independent, the largest circulation newspaper in Ireland.

It has also drawn a vituperative response in today's Irish Independent.
Another case of America-bashing - Letters, Opinion - Independent.ie

...the letters by Frank Schnittger and John Gunning attempting to link America to the catastrophe were ludicrous.

The former's insinuations about a supposed role played by the McCain campaign in fomenting unrest in the region, would be laughable if they weren't so serious.

Both letters [UPDATE - and a string of further Letters to the Editor which have been published in the Irish Times and Irish Independent since] are reproduced in full below.  Perhaps ET readers might like to suggest an appropriate response.


Firstly, my letter:

Aftermath of war in the Caucasus - The Irish Times - Tue, Aug 19, 2008

Madam, - Randy Scheunemann, Senator John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser, is a friend of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and was for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government. He ended his official lobbying connection only last March, months after starting to work for McCain. He also worked on McCain's 2000 presidential campaign, after which he headed the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which championed the US Iraq invasion.

In 2005, while registered as a paid lobbyist for Georgia, Scheunemann worked with McCain to draft a congressional resolution pushing for Georgia's membership of Nato. A year later, while still on the Georgian payroll, Scheunemann accompanied McCain on a trip to that country, where they met Saakashvili and supported his hard-line views toward Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Now, at a time when McCain's presidential election campaign is floundering, Saakashvili launches an attack on South Ossetia, killing hundreds if not thousands of civilians and drawing the inevitable Russian military response. McCain has now recast his entire campaign around "Russian aggression" and the need to return to Cold War vigilance and values -- drawing attention to Barack Obama's lack of experience and grounding in those values in the process.

It is not necessary to be a conspiracy theorist to ask, "Cui bono?" regarding the invasion of South Ossetia and the ensuing deaths. - Yours, etc,

FRANK SCHNITTGER

Secondly, the response in today's Irish Independent to the same letter published there on Saturday:

Another case of America-bashing - Letters, Opinion - Independent.ie

After a week in which Russia repeatedly violated the sovereignty of a small neighbour, targeted civilian infrastructure, occupied several towns and villages in Georgia proper, ordered their tanks to within 20km of Tbilisi, and topped it all off by threatening a nuclear strike on Poland, the letters by Frank Schnittger and John Gunning attempting to link America to the catastrophe were ludicrous.

The former's insinuations about a supposed role played by the McCain campaign in fomenting unrest in the region, would be laughable if they weren't so serious.

For his part, Mr Gunning claims to despise war -- a noble sentiment no doubt, yet one that seems in his case to be surpassed by a virulent anti-Americanism.

His assertion that we are witnessing, not a Russian invasion of a sovereign state, but an "American war by proxy" exposes a somewhat casual acquaintance with reality.

It seems that he is concerned, not with the suffering of the people in the region, or with the brutal contempt shown by the Russians for international law, and the sovereignty of its neighbours, but with using the conflict as a means to spread his anti-American innuendo.

Mr Schnittger asks 'Cui bono from the invasion of South Ossetia?, to which I would answer that both he and Mr Gunning seem determined to spin the appalling situation in an effort to benefit and further their own anti-American agendas.

Indeed, concern or solidarity for the ordinary civilians caught up in the conflict are conspicuous only by their absence in both letters.

While both men are entitled to their opinions, they have very little to do with being anti-war, and I would ask that they, and others who espouse the same views, would cease masquerading as such.

EMMET DUNPHY

LOUGHBOY, KILKENNY

I haven't been able to locate the letter by John Gunning which also draws Emmet Dunphy's ire, so I will leave that part of Mr. Dunphy's response to one side.

In my own defence, I would note the following:

  1. My letter drew attention to the close links between the McCain presidential campaign and President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili - and said nothing, good, bad or indifferent about the US as whole.

  2.  My letter said nothing about Putin's intentions or whether the Russian intervention can be construed as over-reaction - that scenario is still unfolding in any case.

  3.  Given that almost all commentators, from all sides, seem to agree that a Russian response to the Georgian attack on South Ossettia was forseeable, if not inevitable, it seems reasonable to ask why Mikheil Saakashvili would engage in such an adventure.

  4. Mr. Dunphy then claims that I am a beneficiary of the invasion of South Ossetia in that it enables me to spin my "anti-American" agenda and that "concern or solidarity for the ordinary civilians caught up in the conflict are conspicuous only by their absence in both letters" and that we should "cease masquerading" as anti-war.  

  5. I would have thought that concern for the innocent civilians caught up in this conflict was obviously the primary concern expressed in my letter together with a fear that their misfortune might have been occasioned, at least in part, by the dynamics of the US Presidential campaign.

That is the nub of my letter which Emmet Dunphy dismisses as "ludicrous" and "laughable if they weren't so serious".  Yet he does not challenge any of the facts which I listed in support of my argument.

Blanket accusations of anti-Americanism masquerading as anti-war are of course the stock in trade of apologists for the neo-con project of the "New American Century".  Perhaps I shouldn't even bother responding.  However I feel that Emmet Dunphy articulates a widely held view - often reflected in, or created by the MSM - and I feel we should challenge it at every opportunity.

For the record I do feel that it seems likely that Putin seized on the opportunity created by Saakashvili's stupidy or naivity to over-react and lay down a marker for other former Soviet Republics who are seeking membership of Nato or allowing the siting of American bases on their territory.  I would be surprised if that were not the case.  However the reasonableness or otherwise of Russia's actions in this enfolding tragedy are a different matter entirely, and one not touched on in my letter.

I feel it is important that the causes of this conflict - and particularly any attempts to gain political/economic/personal advantage from a re-kindling of Cold War tensions need to be highlighted and exposed before they are lost in the welter of the usual "tit-for-tat" over-generalised arguments that are characteristic of the neo-con project.

So once again, I feel like asking the question, which has not been addressed by Emmet Dunphy's response: Did members of McCain's campaign staff use their connections in Georgia (for which they have been handsomely paid) to foment a crisis that would highlight McCain's perceived strengths just when NcCain's campaign seemed to be floundering?

Why can't we just stick to the facts on this and leave generalised arguments about "anti-Americanism" to the rhetorical dustbin to which they belong?

Perhaps, rather than engaging in defense, I should go on the attack and accuse Mr. Dunphy of mindlessly parroting phrases like "anti-American", ludicrous, and laughable, whilst not being in a position to rebut any of the facts in my letter?

Your advice would be much appreciated.

--------

UPDATE

An edited version of my response has now been published in todays Irish Independent

Stick to facts in Georgia debate - Letters, Opinion - Independent.ie

Emmet Dunphy (Letters, August 19) accuses me of being "anti-American", and making "ludicrous" and "laughable" claims about the links between the McCain presidential campaign and the South Ossetia invasion -- while not being able to refute any of the facts contained in my letter (August 16).

For the record, I am not anti-American or pro-Russian, but let me note that:

1. My letter drew attention to the documented close personal and financial links between the McCain presidential campaign and the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili -- and said nothing, good, bad or indifferent, about the US as whole.

2. My letter said nothing about Mr Putin's intentions, or whether the Russian intervention can be construed as reasonable or opportunistic over-reaction

3. Given that almost all commentators, from all sides, seem to agree that a Russian response to the Georgian attack on South Ossetia was forseeable, if not inevitable, it seems reasonable to ask why Mikheil Saakashvili would engage in such an adventure.

4. Mr Dunphy then claims that I am a beneficiary of the invasion of South Ossetia in that it enables me to spin my "anti-American" agenda and that "concern or solidarity for the ordinary civilians caught up in the conflict are conspicuous only by their absence" in my letter and that I should "cease masquerading" as anti-war.

I would have thought that sympathy for the innocent civilians caught up in this conflict was the obvious primary concern expressed in my letter, together with a fear that their misfortune might have been occasioned, at least in part, by the dynamics of the US presidential campaign.

That is the nub of my letter which Emmet Dunphy dismisses as "ludicrous" and "laughable if they weren't so serious".

Yet he does not challenge any of the facts which I listed in support of my argument.

FRANK SCHNITTGER

BLESSINGTON, CO WICKLOW

A LTE Response drafted by ARGeezer has not yet been published

ARGeezer:

Re: Revised LTE in response to Dunphy (4.00 / 3) A letter by Emmet Dunphy on the 19th said "the letters by Frank Schnittger and John Gunning attempting to link America to the catastrophe (in Georgia) were ludicrous", that "insinuations about a supposed role played by the McCain campaign in fomenting unrest in the region, would be laughable if they weren't so serious" and implied that such concerns expressed "a virulent anti-Americanism."  As he offered no substantive arguments in support of these statements, I presume you enjoyed the overall tone of his response.

Mr. Dunphy seems to argue that the ferocity of the Russian Bear's roar and bite when provoked some how constitute a justification for that provocation.  Curious logic that.  Rather like the small boy who goes running to his mommy crying that the dog growled, barked and bit him when he stomped on its tail.  Bad dog!  The little boy is obviously upset.  BBC recently showed him, (Saakashvili), on TV chewing on his necktie!

As a citizen of the USA whose most recent immigrant ancestors were the parents of my great, great grandmother, America McInnis, from northern Ireland, I will inform you that there are very many other US citizens who are equally disgusted with the crude and destructive uses to which foreign troubles are put by US politicians for domestic US political purposes.

It is the civic duty of a citizen of a true democracy to speak out and oppose actions by his country that he sees as detrimental to that nation's good name and to the prospect for the survival of democracy in that nation.  Mr. Dunphy obviously disagrees.

Mr. Dunphy's tone seems more appropriate to a loyal subject of an imperial monarchy than to a citizen of a republic.  He wants everyone to fall in line and not question the alliance leader.  Ireland and Europe are entitled to look to their own interests, especially when those interests are put at risk by US politicians posturing for purposes of domestic US politics.

Georgia had been a member of the Soviet Union and a province of the Tsarist Russian Empire before that, for almost a century longer than has Puerto Rico been a US territory.  Both Georgia and Puerto Rico were obtained by force from previous empires in decline, Georgia from the Persian Empire and Puerto Rico from the Spanish Empire.  Imagine the response from the US should the Governor of Puerto Rico try to use a local militia to seize US military bases and/or corporate facilities.

There is no shortage of US media critics of the conduct of John McCain and the Bush Administrations' conduct in Georgia.  Bush and McCain tell Saakashvili that they will stand behind him.  In GWB's case he is standing behind him while on vacation in Crawford.  He has and had no available troops to send.  All he can do is bluster.

Who benefits?  Possibly Mr. McCain, by raising the profile of US NATIONAL SECURITY during an election.   Certainly not the US.  When you have a weak hand and are overplaying it it is not a good idea to put your cards on the table.  I cannot see how this debacle benefits Ireland or the EU.  I will leave that to Mr. Dunphy. Perhaps Mr. McCain's advisors, such as Karl Rove or Randy Scheunemann, could explain those advantages to him. .

If sanity be culturally normative, then by the norms of this culture I claim insanity. by ARGeezer (argeezer@yahoo.com)

Meanwhile the Irish Times has also published a letter highly critical of my original missive:

Aftermath of war in the Caucasus - The Irish Times - Wed, Aug 20, 2008

Madam, - It seems that in a more and more desperate attempt to excuse Russian aggression against Georgia, some of your letter-writers are scraping ever harder at the bottom of the barrel.

Frank Schnittger (August 19th) tells us that - shock, horror! - Georgia has a paid lobbyist in the US. And that lobbyist is close to presidential candidate John McCain, thereby accounting for McCain's strong position on Georgia.

Well, it seems that in having a paid lobbyist in Washington, Georgian deviousness knows no bounds. What Mr Schnittger doesn't tell us, of course, is why a relatively impoverished country like Georgia feels the need to have a paid lobbyist in the US in the first place or why it feels the need to join Nato. Perhaps the television pictures of Russian troops bombing and looting Georgia and terrorising its citizens might answer that question.

As for Mr McCain, he has a long and honourable record of standing by smaller nations in eastern Europe. During the Bosnian war, when Russia openly flouted the UN arms embargo on former Yugoslavia to arm Serbia and let it slaughter Bosnia's largely defenceless Muslims, Senator McCain was foremost in calling for the lifting of the embargo so that Bosnia could defend itself. And he did this without prompting from a lobbyist.

I get the feeling that some of those justifying Russia's aggression still haven't recovered from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism. Perhaps that is why, once events move east of the Danube, their moral compass goes haywire.

Most East Europeans, by contrast, having endured decades of Communist dictatorship, overthrew their repressive governments and have repeatedly shown that they prefer Western-style democracy to the despotism of Vladimir Putin.

- Yours, etc,

SEAN STEELE, Kilfenora Road, Kimmage, Dublin 12.

My response (below) has not yet been published [SECOND UPDATE] has just been published after a complaint by me claiming a right of reply:

The Irish Times - Letters

Madam - Seán Steele (August 20th) accuses me of "scraping ever harder at the bottom of the barrel" in a "desperate attempt to excuse [ the] Russian aggression against Georgia" and claims that the Russian bombing of Georgia explains why Georgia feels the need to employ lobbyists in Washington.

He rather misses my point on both counts. I am not in the business of excusing Russian or any country's aggression against another, nor am I naive about the lobbying processes that go on in Washington.

Quite the reverse: the evidence indicates that Randy Scheunemann, Senator John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser, may have used his influence on Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili to persuade him that "Washington would have his back" if he invaded South Ossetia - especially during a US presidential election campaign.

In so doing, he handed his current employer, Senator John McCain, a badly needed boost to his floundering presidential campaign at the cost of another embarrassing defeat for "the West" in the battle for supremacy (or stability) in world affairs.

It is not in Ireland's or in Europe's interest to rekindle the Cold War just for some perhaps fleeting advantage in a domestic US political campaign. There is an ever-increasing economic, political, energy and environmental interdependency between western and eastern Europe (including Russia) and the fanning of Cold War embers by either Georgia invading South Ossetia supported by "the West", or by Russia invading Georgia , is the very last thing we need.

Already this has led to Poland and the US signing an agreement to site US anti-ballistic missiles on Polish territory, allegedly aimed at rogue states or Al-Qaeda, when, in practice, only Russia has ballistic missiles capable of reaching Europe.

The successful enlargement of the EU was achieved in large measure by the ending of the Cold War.

Why ever would we want to restart it - even if it does play well in some sections of domestic US politics and keeps the arms industry going strong? - Yours, etc,

FRANK SCHNITTGER,

My thanks to MillMan and martingale for their advice and guidance in drafting the above response (some of which I have taken on board!)

My original question was Cui Bono (who benefits) from the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia. As McCain takes the lead in some opinion polls after a week when not much else was happening in the campaign, I would have thought that the answer was increasingly obvious. For more on the links between McCain, Scheunemann, and Mikheil Saakashvili see And None Dare Call It Treason, and Georgia War: A Neocon Election Ploy?, also McCain's Ties with Lobbyist Scheunemann, and RealClearPolitics - Articles - The Risk of McCain's Zingers

Display:
I thought your letter was right on.  Dunphy's incoherence in response is more revealing than anything, and once more: Why is a supposed violation of Georgia's sovereignty by Russia something to denounce while a violation of Iraq's by America and its pushover allies not?

Playing the anti-Americanism card here just makes the guy laughable.  There's anti-Americanism out there for a variety of reasons, but perhaps neocon apologists like Dunphy ought to sit the fuck down and let thinking people here in America figure out when the term applies.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 08:19:08 AM EST
Thanks for your support.  Perhaps, if you had the time, you could draft a letter in response and send it directly to the Irish Independent?  A letter from an address in the US might be more effective in rebutting charges of anti-Americanism and would also increase your chances of being published as Irish newspapers like to think they have some "global reach".

The e-mail address for LTEs is 'independent.letters@independent.ie'

It's time I got out of this game....

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 08:29:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, I'll give it a shot.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 08:41:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As an American, let me just say that criticism of America during these last eight years, whether it be called America-bashing or just anti-Americanism, is perfectly justified. This present on-the-way-out administration has functioned under the influence of a Neocon idealogy that has been variously interpreted as being under the thumb of Big Oil and Israel. Whatever the case, probably both, the Neocons have dragged America into an abyss, and it will not help us to crawl out of this mess without the criticism of our former friends around the world.

Keep it up, Frank.

by shergald on Tue Aug 26th, 2008 at 09:41:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please be assured that we are current friends as well!

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 26th, 2008 at 09:51:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Emmett Dunphy accuses me of being "anti-American", and making ludicrous and laughable claims about the links between the McCain Presidential Campaign and the South Ossetia invasion - whilst not being able to rebut any of the facts contained in my letter (published 16/8/08).  For the record, let me note that:

   1. My letter drew attention to the close personal and financial links between the McCain presidential campaign and President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili - and said nothing, good, bad or indifferent about the US as whole.

   2.  My letter said nothing about Putin's intentions or whether the Russian intervention can be construed as reasonable or over-reaction

   3.  Given that almost all commentators, from all sides, seem to agree that a Russian response to the Georgian attack on South Ossettia was forseeable, if not inevitable, it seems reasonable to ask why Mikheil Saakashvili would engage in such an adventure.

   4. Mr. Dunphy then claims that I am a beneficiary of the invasion of South Ossetia in that it enables me to spin my "anti-American" agenda and that "concern or solidarity for the ordinary civilians caught up in the conflict are conspicuous only by their absence" in my letter and that I should "cease masquerading" as anti-war.  

   5. I would have thought that concern for the innocent civilians caught up in this conflict was obviously the primary concern expressed in my letter together with a fear that their misfortune might have been occasioned, at least in part, by the dynamics of the US Presidential campaign.

That is the nub of my letter which Emmett Dunphy dismisses as "ludicrous" and "laughable if they weren't so serious".  At least he does acknowledge that it is a serious charge, yet he does not challenge any of the facts which I listed in support of my argument.

Blanket accusations of anti-Americanism masquerading as anti-war activism are of course the stock in trade of militarists and apologists for the neo-con project of the "New American Century" everywhere.  However I feel it is important that the causes of this conflict - and particularly any attempts to gain political/economic/personal advantage from a re-kindling of Cold War tensions needs to be highlighted and exposed before they are lost in the propaganda battles that characterise any war.

As a famous American once said: "The first casualty of war is truth." Senator Hiram Warren Johnson.

I urge Emmett Dunphy not to participate in the slaughter.



It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 08:23:23 AM EST
I can't help but think that there is no response to the letter.

It's entire premise is emotional. It's content is innuendo. It's delivery is slander. It is completely obvious that it ignored all facts, as you point out. Anyone who remembers what you are responding to will also remember your original letter. Most people will probably scratch their heads and say "What?"

That's the point - facts are hard to remember while emotions are much easier.

What is interesting is that the paper decided to publish the response to your letter in the first place.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:21:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Papers like to stoke controversy - it gets people emotionally involved and talking about their paper

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:34:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find your LTE excellent. Pointing to the facts when he uses only innuendo. You should definitely send it.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 10:25:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks - I have sent a slightly amended version as follows:
Emmet Dunphy (Letters, 19/8/08) accuses me of being "anti-American", and making "ludicrous" and "laughable" claims about the links between the McCain Presidential Campaign and the South Ossetia invasion - whilst not being able to refute any of the facts contained in my letter (published 16/8/08).   For the record, I am not anti-American nor pro-Russian, but let me note that:

   1. My letter drew attention to the documented close personal and financial links between the McCain presidential campaign and the  President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili - and said nothing, good, bad or indifferent about the US as whole.

   2.  My letter said nothing about Putin's intentions or whether the Russian intervention can be construed as reasonable or opportunistic over-reaction

   3.  Given that almost all commentators, from all sides, seem to agree that a Russian response to the Georgian attack on South Ossettia was forseeable, if not inevitable, it seems reasonable to ask why Mikheil Saakashvili would engage in such an adventure.

   4. Mr. Dunphy then claims that I am a beneficiary of the invasion of South Ossetia in that it enables me to spin my "anti-American" agenda and that "concern or solidarity for the ordinary civilians caught up in the conflict are conspicuous only by their absence" in my letter and that I should "cease masquerading" as anti-war.  

I would have thought that sympathy for the innocent civilians caught up in this conflict was the obvious primary concern expressed in my letter together with a fear that their misfortune might have been occasioned, at least in part, by the dynamics of the US Presidential campaign.

That is the nub of my letter which Emmett Dunphy dismisses as "ludicrous" and "laughable if they weren't so serious".  At least he does acknowledge that it is a serious charge, yet he does not challenge any of the facts which I listed in support of my argument.  There are many more such facts contained in McCain's Senate record and Randy Scheunemann's Lobbyist record if he would care to do some research.

Blanket accusations of anti-Americanism masquerading as anti-war activism are of course the stock in trade of militarists and apologists for the neo-con project of the "New American Century" everywhere.  However I feel it is important that the causes of this conflict - and particularly any attempts to gain political/economic/personal advantage from a re-kindling of Cold War tensions - be highlighted and exposed before they are lost in the propaganda battles that characterise any war.

As a famous American, Senator Hiram Warren Johnson,  once said: "The first casualty of war is truth."  I urge Emmet Dunphy and the Irish Independent not to participate in the slaughter.

Kinds regards,

Frank Schnittger



It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 10:32:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about short and sweet?

Given the lies, slander, and innuendo present in Emmet Dunphy's letter one could only assume he is a Bush supporter.


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 06:20:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why Bush?  Is it not McCain he is defending against charges of having close links with the guys who started the South Ossetian conflict and handed Russia a military victory on a plate?  

Even McCain doesn't have a monopoly on "lies, slander and innuedo"  

It is  ad hominem to attack someone on the basis of being an xxxx supporter.  You have to address the substance (or lack of) of their argument.  Being a Bush supporter, is not, of itself, a capital offence - especially as it doesn't look like the Dems are going to impeach him...

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 06:50:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I question if there is any substance behind the "anti-Americanism" concept in this case; there IS a lot of "pro-McCain, don't you DARE blame him or link him to this situation" sentiment and these people will drag up ANY argument, good, bad, idiotic, to protect their person (McCain in this instance).  I hear a lot of this kind of crap from the callers on Washington Journal (CSPAN) every morning.  That's why they invented the MUTE button.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 08:58:31 AM EST
He was a POW.  End of story.

Or something.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:02:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, McCain is the latest Trojan horse on our road to an absolute police state.

Question: Do you think a series of diaries on "the embryonic police state" would be of interest here at ET?  For the first time yesterday I heard Olbermann use that term and I thought, I can't stop it so why not document it in a series of diaries?  What think you?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:08:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I say go for it.

McCain is, more than anything, a statist.  So the police state jibes with his philosophy.  Not as bad as Rudy Mussolini, but being better than Rudy! on the police state is like beating a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:15:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank You.  Let's see how other folks ring in.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:21:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
go for it!

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:35:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely. Go for it!

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 01:22:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Start slow. Make the definition clear. Keep each essay short, and you will have something.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 at 03:23:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And don't forget ET rules: focus on facts and data, always mention (and link to) sources, etc...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 at 04:42:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you think a series of diaries on "the embryonic police state" would be of interest here at ET?

Definitely yes. It would be a good idea.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:24:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely. Among other things, the same tendencies can be seen in Canada as well. We aren't nearly as far down the road as the US is, but we are still on that road.

I have a hunch we aren't the only other country considering toying with the implementation of police state.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:53:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK has more surveillance cameras than anyone else...

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:55:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Singing:

The British police are the best in the world,
I don't believe none of these stories I've heard...

by PIGL (stevec@boreal.gmail@com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 11:16:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And our own government is definitely trying to put more police in the French state: surveillance cameras, speed cameras, military in the airports and train stations, ISPs enrolled as content cops, frequent ID checks on everyone black or brown, you name it...

Don't forget to bring "vos papiers" at next month's meet-up in Paris (and don't tell Mr Dunphy you're going to France...)

by Bernard on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 04:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well! - We've got our very own no fly list!! And in a couple of days I'll get to find out if I am on it.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 08:38:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea but this is Ireland and there is no evidence that this guy is a McCain supporter as such.  Criticise any aspect of US policy and you will draw charges of anti-Americanism from some quarters here.  I'm not quite sure what turns them on.  Of course there are close links between Ireland and America and we have a lot in common.  But any idiot can distinguish between a factual critique of the activities of one candidate and his key staffer and the US as a whole.  So "anti-American" is just a rhetorical device to try and type cast me as yer typical anti-American, peacenik, lunatic fringe - in contrast to the sensible types who think the US is generally a good thing.  I need to refute the stereotype because the evidence points to some serious concerns which should be alarming to all - regardless of their political views vis a vis the US.

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:06:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, you're just getting warmed up, assuming you have the time to invest.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:11:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This Emmet Dunphy fella seems to write this sort of thing to the Irish press, e.g. here and here , and elsewhere. And everywhere he gets the same kinds of responses.

Looks to me like you've been baited by an LTE troll.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:09:53 AM EST
OK, I'm still a newbie.  LTE ?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:12:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Letter to the Editor"

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:16:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.  Such service ... ET should be a restaurant.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:23:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's mostly self-service, but we give the occasional dig-out!

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:56:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good research.  He seems to have a real problem with anti-war types - whoever they are - anyone pro-war?

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 09:29:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, back to your situation.

I'm not an expert on the whole Georgia/Russia situation, nor do I have the time to invest to be that person.  However, when it comes to phrases like:

"... the letters by Frank Schnittger and John Gunning attempting to link America to the catastrophe were ludicrous."

"...would be laughable if they weren't so serious."

"...in his case to be surpassed by a virulent anti-Americanism."

"... exposes a somewhat casual acquaintance with reality."

"...he and Mr Gunning seem determined to spin the appalling situation in an effort to benefit and further their own anti-American agendas."

"...I would ask that they, and others who espouse the same views, would cease masquerading as such."

This sounds like the kind of crap you would learn in Debating 101 or out of Karl Rove's playbook.  If a person had hard irrefutable evidence to counter your letter, they would use it.  You see this kind of bullshit arguing from the ultrawealthy neofascists all the time.  "If you don't have the facts on your side, dazzle them with bullshit".  My ex-father-in law IMB typewriter salesman's motto.

This person is looking for attention in any form; should or how should you respond?  How do you treat a misbehaving 2 year old who wants your attention at any cost?  How do you spank this person?

Not my field.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 10:03:17 AM EST
I don't really care about Emmet Dunphy one way or the other.  It is the attitudes he expresses - which are quite widespread - which I want to refute.  Most people aren't experts in the South Ossetia situation.  They will form their opinion based on their perceptions of the protagonists.  If they feel its only the usual anti-war protesters who are making a fuss about the McCain angle, they will not pay much attention.  The conlicts of interest which the evidence suggests should concern and democrat, anywhere.  I have to present my argument as the mainstream fact based narrative - whereas he is just venting spleen.

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 10:12:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just got back from a long walk.  My back needs rest.  Will be back in a few hours.

(Lot of backs)

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 12:08:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Despite all the links between McCain and Saakashvili, I don't think at all, that McCain has ordered the war. The question Cui bono is much overblown. Things just happen and some are lucky to take advantage others have bad luck.

  • When McCain said 'Now we are all Geogians', Saakashvili said, words are nice, but what he needs is action.
  • The US gov was completely surprised and much slower in its reaction than European govs. Wouldn't McCain have said a word to the US gov?
  • Obama is not quite against Georgia.
  • If McCain and Saakashvili would have worked together, Saakashvili would have known, that no major western response would be coming. Now he is complaining, and not only he, about the much too mild western response. I think this is the key issue. Saakashvili thought, he would get much more support and thought he can retake whole Geogia
  • Finally Saakashvili has paid a McCain aide, not vice versa. Why should Saakashvili sacrifice Georgia's people, Georgia's souvereignity, and Georgia's chances to become member of the EU, for helping McCain to become president?

The signs of support came before. Georgia was granted military cooperation as if it would be a NATO member by the US before. The NATO summit said, Georgia will be one day in the NATO. The general support for west orientation of former Soviet Republics....
I think Saakashvili acted on its own, and miscalculated, that a real war would bring the tipping point.


Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 10:06:24 AM EST
I accept that it is most unlikely that McCain had, personally, anything to do with it.  The most that might be implied is that Randy Scheunemann - in trying to justify his $800,000 fee and talk up his own influence - might have given Saakashvili an over blown estimate of the likely US response should Russia re-act.

Saakashvili  might also have calculated that it was now or never - Bush is a lame duck, and McCain's campaign was going nowhere, so if he wanted US support he was more likely to get it during, and not after, the hyperventilated atmosphere of a Presidential Election campaign.

Even Obama -as you noted - has had to sharpen his anti-Russian rhetoric despite his willingness to talk to US enemies as in Iran.

But all of that is not my point.  Is it appropriate and proper for a Presidential Election candidate to employ as a close adviser someone with close links to a foreign power, and who is a player in the ongoing development of that relationship?  Obama was criticised for acting as if he were already President when he was in Berlin.  But here we have McCain aides actually becoming major players in a war situation.

You cannot have Presidential candidates benefiting from the exacerbation of conflicts by their own people.  The least McCain should do is sack Scheunemann  - for a possible conflict of interest.  (Scheunemann partner in a two man Lobbying consultancy is still drawing fees from the Georgian Government).

This has nothing to do with left, right, Democrat or Republican.  It is the basic ethical principle that should apply in a democracy.

It's time I got out of this game....

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 10:25:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This has nothing to do with left, right, Democrat or Republican.  It is the basic ethical principle that should apply in a democracy.

It is abundantly clear that a significant fraction (at least in terms of influence, even if possibly not in terms of numbers) of the Right either doesn't give a damn about democracy and rule of law or are openly hostile to it. There are no such organised anti-democratic forces in the Left (such as it is and what there is left of it), hence the constant need for wingnut apparatchiks to slander the democratic left with the crimes of extinct Stalinists.

In my considered opinion, that makes it a left-right issue.

Now, it may not be productive to start that discussion in the current LTE exchange, but there is no reason to not acknowledge it in our own discourse.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 24th, 2008 at 05:22:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am concerned that this is too long.  I could cut out the second and fourth paragraphs, possibly the third.  Any thoughts criticisms or suggestions?

Mr. Dunphy seems to argue that the ferocity of the Russian Bear's roar and bite when provoked some how constitute a justification for that provocation.  Curious logic that.  Rather like the small boy who goes running to his mommy crying that the dog growled, barked and bit him when he stomped on its tail.  Bad dog!  The little boy is obviously upset.  BBC recently showed him on TV chewing on his necktie!

Mr. Dunphy's tone seems more appropriate to a loyal subject of an imperial monarchy than to a citizen of a republic.  He wants everyone to fall in line and not question the alliance leader.  Ireland and Europe are entitled to look to their own interests, especially when those interests are put at risk by US politicians posturing for purposes of domestic US politics.

As a citizen of the USA whose most recent immigrant ancestors were the parents of my great, great grandmother, America McInnis, from northern Ireland I will inform you that there are very many other US citizens who are equally disgusted with the crude and destructive uses to which foreign troubles are exploited by US politicians for domestic US political purposes.

Georgia had been a member of the Soviet Union and a province of the Tsarist Russian Empire before that, in fact, for almost a century longer than has Puerto Rico been a US territory.  Both Georgia and Puerto Rico were obtained by force from previous empires in decline, Georgia from the Persian Empire and Puerto Rico from the Spanish Empire.  Imagine the response from the US should the Governor of Puerto Rico try to use a local militia to seize US military bases and/or corporate facilities.

There is no shortage of US media critics of the conduct of John McCain and the Bush Administrations' conduct in Georgia.  Bush and McCain tell Saakashvili that they will stand behind him.  In GWB's case he is standing behind him while on vacation in Crawford.  He has and had no available troops to send.  All he can do is bluster.

Who benefits?  Possibly Mr. McCain, by raising the profile of US NATIONAL SECURITY during an election.   Certainly not the US.  When you have a weak hand and are overplaying it it is not a good idea to put your cards on the table.  How this debacle benefits Ireland or the EU I will leave to others.



As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 11:12:06 AM EST
Some drafting comments/queries:

The letter presupposes the reader remembers Dunphy's letter - which is unlikely.  You may have to quote the specific points you disagree with.

Who did the BBC show chewing on his necktie?

ARGeezer:

America McInnis, from northern Ireland
 - was her name really America?

By the logic of Dunphy's letter, the majority of American's who oppose McCain/War in Iraq etc. are anti-Americans.  How dare he accuse you of being anti-American!

I would put para. 3 at the top

Para. 4 gives good historical perspective

Could mention other "October surprises" - Reagon seeking to prevent Iranian Hostage release before election, Nixon delaying 1968 Paris Peace negotiations until after election in support of proposition that it is not ludicrous to suggest that domestic US politics impacts on the conduct of foreign policy.

Otherwise reads very well.

Please send it!

It's time I got out of this game....

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 11:50:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
America was the first US born offspring of her immigrant parents, so named in honor of their new home.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 12:02:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who did the BBC show chewing on his necktie?

Courtesy of poemless

A recent classic, public display of unconscious behavior.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 12:18:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow - has all sorts of Freudian connotations.  Is he devouring himself in a suicidal mission?

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 12:24:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A letter by Emmet Dunphy on the 19th said "the letters by Frank Schnittger and John Gunning attempting to link America to the catastrophe (in Georgia) were ludicrous", that "insinuations about a supposed role played by the McCain campaign in fomenting unrest in the region, would be laughable if they weren't so serious" and implied that such concerns expressed "a virulent anti-Americanism."  As he offered no substantive arguments in support of these statements, I presume you enjoyed the overall tone of his response.

Mr. Dunphy seems to argue that the ferocity of the Russian Bear's roar and bite when provoked some how constitute a justification for that provocation.  Curious logic that.  Rather like the small boy who goes running to his mommy crying that the dog growled, barked and bit him when he stomped on its tail.  Bad dog!  The little boy is obviously upset.  BBC recently showed him, (Saakashvili), on TV chewing on his necktie!

As a citizen of the USA whose most recent immigrant ancestors were the parents of my great, great grandmother, America McInnis, from northern Ireland, I will inform you that there are very many other US citizens who are equally disgusted with the crude and destructive uses to which foreign troubles are put by US politicians for domestic US political purposes.

It is the civic duty of a citizen of a true democracy to speak out and oppose actions by his country that he sees as detrimental to that nation's good name and to the prospect for the survival of democracy in that nation.  Mr. Dunphy obviously disagrees.

Mr. Dunphy's tone seems more appropriate to a loyal subject of an imperial monarchy than to a citizen of a republic.  He wants everyone to fall in line and not question the alliance leader.  Ireland and Europe are entitled to look to their own interests, especially when those interests are put at risk by US politicians posturing for purposes of domestic US politics.

Georgia had been a member of the Soviet Union and a province of the Tsarist Russian Empire before that, for almost a century longer than has Puerto Rico been a US territory.  Both Georgia and Puerto Rico were obtained by force from previous empires in decline, Georgia from the Persian Empire and Puerto Rico from the Spanish Empire.  Imagine the response from the US should the Governor of Puerto Rico try to use a local militia to seize US military bases and/or corporate facilities.

There is no shortage of US media critics of the conduct of John McCain and the Bush Administrations' conduct in Georgia.  Bush and McCain tell Saakashvili that they will stand behind him.  In GWB's case he is standing behind him while on vacation in Crawford.  He has and had no available troops to send.  All he can do is bluster.

Who benefits?  Possibly Mr. McCain, by raising the profile of US NATIONAL SECURITY during an election.   Certainly not the US.  When you have a weak hand and are overplaying it it is not a good idea to put your cards on the table.  I cannot see how this debacle benefits Ireland or the EU.  I will leave to others.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 01:00:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reads well.  Probably too long, - but they can alway cut a paragraph if they want - The Irish Times certainly does cut letters - not sure whether Independent does.  Don't forget to put postal address on letter or they may not publish.

Last line is unclear.  What message do you want to end on?

It's time I got out of this game....

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 01:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably paras 2, 4 and 7 are the ones which could be cut without damaging the core argument too much

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 01:26:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you noted this yourself on a previous occasion: Mr. Gunning's letter is here, tacked on to the end of your letter.
by det on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 11:52:59 AM EST
Thanks - when I went back to search for it I couldn't find it!  I don't find the Irish Independent site very easy to navigate - the search doesn't work well and its difficult to find older editions...

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 12:19:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank,

I agree with you about the site.  I cannot find a place to post my letter to the editor.  Do you know the secret? I do intend to clean up the last sentence.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 01:30:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
E-mail, with your name and postal address to 'independent.letters@independent.ie'

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 01:32:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Letter sent by email with the following final sentence: I will leave that to Mr. Dunphy.  Perhaps Mr. McCain's advisors, such as Karl Rove or Randy Scheunemann, could explain those advantages to him.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 02:12:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds Good.  Is Karl Rove a McCain adviser?  I thought one of his proteges had taken over?

It's time I got out of this game....
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 04:01:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reports are circulating that Rove is advising the McCain Campaign.  I have little doubt of it on an informal level.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 04:10:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rove protégés are running the McCain campaign.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 at 10:19:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to reframe his arguments or you lose. Facts aren't enough.

After a week in which Russia repeatedly violated the sovereignty of a small neighbour, targeted civilian infrastructure, occupied several towns and villages in Georgia proper, ordered their tanks to within 20km of Tbilisi, and topped it all off by threatening a nuclear strike on Poland, the letters by Frank Schnittger and John Gunning attempting to link America to the catastrophe were ludicrous.

He's framed Russia as evil freedom haters and America as heroic freedom defenders, and as such speaking out against America means you are on the side of evil.

The former's insinuations about a supposed role played by the McCain campaign in fomenting unrest in the region, would be laughable if they weren't so serious.

Because you are on the side of evil, your main point can be dismissed without consideration.

For his part, Mr Gunning claims to despise war -- a noble sentiment no doubt, yet one that seems in his case to be surpassed by a virulent anti-Americanism.

America good, Russia bad.

His assertion that we are witnessing, not a Russian invasion of a sovereign state, but an "American war by proxy" exposes a somewhat casual acquaintance with reality.

In reality: America good, Russia bad.

It seems that he is concerned, not with the suffering of the people in the region, or with the brutal contempt shown by the Russians for international law, and the sovereignty of its neighbours, but with using the conflict as a means to spread his anti-American innuendo.

America good, Russia bad - and you're a heartless ideologue on the side of evil.

Mr Schnittger asks 'Cui bono from the invasion of South Ossetia?, to which I would answer that both he and Mr Gunning seem determined to spin the appalling situation in an effort to benefit and further their own anti-American agendas.

America good, Russia bad - and you're a heartless ideologue on the side of evil.

Indeed, concern or solidarity for the ordinary civilians caught up in the conflict are conspicuous only by their absence in both letters.

You're a heartless ideologue on the side of evil.

While both men are entitled to their opinions, they have very little to do with being anti-war, and I would ask that they, and others who espouse the same views, would cease masquerading as such.

You're a heartless ideologue on the side of evil.

He set up his frame in the first sentence, then bashed you with it seven times. If you reply using facts as evidence, he will do the same thing again. You have to turn it around and frame him and his cohorts as the folks that are anti-freedom, anti-democratic, and anti-Georgian citizens if you want your reply to work on the public.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 04:11:03 PM EST
You are right that I haven't challenged his fundamental framing, because i DIDN'T HAVE TO.  Even people who accept that fundamental framing (the vast majority of the readers of said publication)  can see that he gave no facts to back up his allegation that:

  1. I am an anti-American, and

  2. gave no facts to refute my evidence of a connection between the McCain campaign and the Georgian President, and

  3. used abusive language

I thus win the argument even with people who accept his framing.

Of course there is a larger argument - that the US has provocatively installed military bases and missiles right around Russia (and in over 100 "sovereign" countries world-wide) and used those bases to ensure that the often corrupt and dictatorial Governments in those countries remain in power and cannot act in their own national interest if this is against US strategic and commercial interests.

In this context, it appears reasonable that Putin should grab an opportunity to send a signal to the former Soviet republics that further alignment with Russia's enemies will not be tolerated, and that they will wait in vain if they expect the US to come to their aid.

That is a perfectly valid strategic argument which speaks to a real politic world-view rather than a pro-Russian bias, per se.  However it is a much larger argument than can be made in a short letter to the Editor and would distract from the central point that I was making: That McCain has some very dubious advisers and friends indeed, and one of them has just dished up another humiliating defeat for the US.

Vote McCain if you want the US to become embroiled in more embarrassing disasters caused by dubious leaders in places you have never heard of.  

Vote McCain for war without gain


It's time I got out of this game....

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 05:09:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in this context, it appears reasonable that Putin should grab an opportunity to send a signal to the former Soviet republics that further alignment with Russia's enemies will not be tolerated

Hmmh, interesting implications for Poland's policy towards Belarus, and for an eventual pro-Russian Ukraine. Not to mention towards Russia itself. And I presume you just agreed that it is unacceptable for Syria or Lebanon to be anti Israeli, or for Serbia to be anti Kosovar or anti-Croat, or... the list can go on, and on.  

From a realpolitik perspective Putin's policy makes sense, but if you're going to look at it that way, then accept that Russia's neighbours will act accordingly.

by MarekNYC on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 05:43:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How would the US react if Russia put military bases on Cuba, Mexico, most Latin and central American countries, Canada and Greenland?  Pretty robustly I would expect - as the US has consistently overthrown or undermined even mildly nationalistic or social democratic latin American regimes.

So why would you expect Russia to react differently to its former allies, current neighbours, and now hosts to US military /missile bases?

Obviously I would hope both the US and Russia would respect the sovereignty of those nations.  But Russia doesn't have its troops in over 100 Sovereign states - so if you are to criticise it for relatively marginal incursions into Georgiam, you must also criticise the Bush doctrine that the US can attack almost anywhere it pleases, when it pleases, if that county is deemed to be hostile to US interests.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 05:54:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think one can as well put up the question, what are we discussing, likely realistic answers or how far Russia's action could go morally justified, stretching this term as far as possible.

Even if you disagree with Marek's description under the moral aspect, it describes likely reality.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 06:01:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not in the business of justify any countries actions, I'm just trying to understand them, and one framework for doing so is to work on the real political assumption that each state acts in its own self-interest.

I don't believe Georgia acted in its own self interest in attack South Ossetia (and Russian peace keepers there) and so I have to look for another explanation - e.g. Saakashvili is a fool or he was misled by his American advisers.

I can understand why Russia seized on this opportunity to reassert its influence in the region and it might even put further pressure on Georgia to get rid of Saakashvili and the US base there.

I can also understand that this wll make all Russia's other neighbours extremely nervous.  They have to decide whether they want to develop good neighbourly relations with Russia or risk further antagonising Russia by joining Nato.

Realistically, is Poland/Nato/US going to go to war with Russia if it invades Ukraine, Bylorussia, Georgia, Crimea?  If the answer is no, then it is in those countries interest to develop friendly relation with Russia.

Is it in the EU's interest to to foment a return to the Cold War?  If not, then it is in the EU's interest to promote friendly relations with Russia and distance itself from a Neo-con led US.

(Politics 101 for small nations.  If your neighbouring state is much more powerful militarily than you are, it is best to develop economic and political relationships which reduce the risk of militarism becoming the dominant MO between your countries.)

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 06:16:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Realistically, is Poland/Nato/US going to go to war with Russia if it invades Ukraine, Bylorussia, Georgia, Crimea?  If the answer is no, then it is in those countries interest to develop friendly relation with Russia.

There seem quite some influential people in the US, who would be willing to order the defense of Georgia and Ukraine, if they could get them into NATO. As I interprete Marek's comments, Poland would act as well, because they would see an agression of Russia against Georgia or Ukraine as a possible prelude to an attack of Poland.

As for your last paragraph, with US backing, eastern Europeans are not THAT small, that they would have to go along with everything Russia does.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 06:34:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is in no country's interest to have a major war - that's true of Russia over a Ukraine in NATO and the US or Poland over a Russian dominated Ukraine. Would Russia do so nonetheless? I don't know. Would the Poles and the US, I very much doubt they would do so directly, but they would certainly adopt a radically harsher policy towards Russia which could easily lead to a spiral of escalation.

As for EU interests. Ummh, last I checked Poland and the Baltics were part of the EU, something you seem to be forgetting. If you mean the Western EU countries - that depends. To the extent that they adopt the kind of policy you and others here are suggesting, they can forget about any sort of EU-Russia cooperation that requires unanimity, they can also forget about any sort of treaties strengthening the EU. They also have to depend on the US deciding it will not agree to take up Poland and the Baltics on their request for closer military cooperation and US bases, and a more hostile policy towards Russia. Or to put it differently, if the US is as recklessly imperialist as you think it is, then your policy has a very good chance of leading to a European war. Also keep in mind that Russian can't supply the rest of Europe with energy if it doesn't supply Poland, unless the Europeans agree to compensate Poland for that situation with energy supplies at a similar price - all those pipelines, existing or proposed, run through or right next to Poland.

As for your politics 101 - the more accurate version would be, if you're in a region claimed by one power as its sphere of interest, and without another great power able and willing to back you up enough so you can make it too painful to ever attack, then you're better advised to do as you say. Think Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, Lebanon, Syria, Vietnam, Korea, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, etc. Georgia made the wrong calculation.

The Ukrainian population isn't interested in joining NATO - if it were, then the risks for Russia would be far higher. Ukraine is a far bigger and more powerful country in it's own right, and it is much easier to help geographically. Russia would face a problem that makes the American task in Iraq look like a, ummh cakewalk (pardon the expression). But again, the Ukrainians aren't into the idea of paying a major price to be firmly in the US camp, so the issue is moot.

The Belarussians are being tolerated by the Poles, Balts, and Americans.

by MarekNYC on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 11:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MarekNYC:
It is in no country's interest to have a major war - that's true of Russia over a Ukraine in NATO and the US or Poland over a Russian dominated Ukraine.

No, but certainly some people would profit from increased tensions - just as they've profited from Iraq, while the rest of the US has bled itself white, and just as they profited from WWII.

It goes without saying that there are people in the US who stand to profit hugely from Cold War II.

So far, this isn't so true of Russia. There's a lot of face saving and penis waving happening at the moment, but naked profit doesn't seem to be quite such a motivation.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 at 07:42:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cuba - Russia defended it, but agreed not to station nukes. Nicaragua - contras. Chile - Pinochet (Chile used East Bloc military advisors). Small and wanting to be independent of the US but carefully avoiding any security relationship with the East Bloc, oops, sorry Guatemala. Big, doing the same - Mexico did fine under the PRI.
by MarekNYC on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 11:19:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And again, other than the power difference, installing missiles in Russia's neighbours with their approval is no more provocative than Russia installing missiles next to itself. Russia is asking for further anti-Russian security arrangements among its neighbours just as surely as Georgia was asking for a nasty Russian counterattack.
by MarekNYC on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 05:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But are the Russians actually installing new strategic weapons?

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 24th, 2008 at 05:59:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thus win the argument even with people who accept his framing.

No you don't. They're not agreeing with you.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 07:46:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should read Lakoff's recent book titled The Political Mind if you haven't already. It's been strongly promoted here a couple of times.

It comes down to whether or not you are fine with "just" being correct on a factual basis or if you want to influence the public. Sadly they are not the same thing.

Again:

I thus win the argument even with people who accept his framing.

You absolutely lost with the folks who accept his framing. As long as the public accepts his framing, the terms of winning an argument run through his worldview.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 07:52:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You seem to have sent your reply already, but I'd still like to add to the framing aspect as follows (I also think your reply is too long, but that's another issue):

As you and MillMan already pointed out, Dunphy skips facts and argues emotionally, by asking readers to view your letter through the America=Good prism.

This will always work, simply because people in Western Europe do have a lingering "America is better than Russia" attitude, and putting a few facts down cannot change that. In many people's minds, 1. America, 2. Russia.

I'm unconvinced that you win the argument by trying to ignore this point, because it speaks to people's fundamental self-interest, whereas you're ("merely") speaking to people's sense of fairness in argument.

In the end, America has been and still is the formal guarantor of European security. No amount of direct arguing is going to bring people to the alternative idea 1. America, 1.Russia, ie that America and Russia should be measured with equal weights, or god forbid 1.Russia 2.America.

However, you can (IMHO) win by appealing to people's self-interest. The only thing that trumps America's 1. position is Ireland's (or possibly Europe's if you like) 0. position:

0. Ireland.
1. America.
2. Russia.

To apply this approach, you'd have to counter accusations of anti-Americanism not by denying them, but by showing their logical equivalence to pro-Irelandism. Most readers of Irish newspapers will not put America before Ireland, they can only do so if America's actions are seen as good for Ireland, or if Ireland is not mentioned in the debate. By keeping the debate with Dunphy on the America/Russia plane, you're not using this.

Dunphy's underlying argument is "don't attack America, because America is good for us". If you reply "X is good for Ireland, America is not doing X", you can be (more, IMHO) persuasive. Moreover, if it so happens that X implies a more even handed America/Russia point of view, that can't be helped, IYKWIM.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 10:46:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could also point to this recent column in the NYT, quoted in part:

Washington Post
August 19, 2008 Pg. 13
Is Ossetia Essential?
By Richard Cohen

...When Russia invaded Georgia, the brief war ignited an immense barrage of analogies and comparisons... But one that occurs to me is the Hungarian revolt of 1956 and how the Soviets brutally extinguished it. Afterward, some inquiring minds in the U.S. government wondered whether the Hungarians had been led to expect U.S. help. They found, in the records of Radio Free Europe, several broadcasts that "implied that foreign aid would be forthcoming."

Yet another analogy occurs -- the speech that Secretary of State Dean Acheson delivered to the National Press Club in 1950 excluding South Korea from the U.S. defensive perimeter in Asia. Later that year, the North Koreans went over the 38th parallel and the Korean War began. Had the North Koreans been listening?

Both analogies -- Hungary and Korea -- are examples of the intense interest that foreign governments and other parties abroad show in the subtleties of American policy. In the case of Georgia, the body language of the Bush administration -- as well as of John McCain and others --suggested an affinity that was unconnected to America's national interest.


by asdf on Tue Aug 19th, 2008 at 10:33:49 PM EST
Another blast for being a Russia lover - maybe I can get a few bob for being a Putin apologist like those other lobbyists in Washington?

Aftermath of war in the Caucasus - The Irish Times - Wed, Aug 20, 2008

Madam, - It seems that in a more and more desperate attempt to excuse Russian aggression against Georgia, some of your letter-writers are scraping ever harder at the bottom of the barrel.

Frank Schnittger (August 19th) tells us that - shock, horror! - Georgia has a paid lobbyist in the US. And that lobbyist is close to presidential candidate John McCain, thereby accounting for McCain's strong position on Georgia.

Well, it seems that in having a paid lobbyist in Washington, Georgian deviousness knows no bounds. What Mr Schnittger doesn't tell us, of course, is why a relatively impoverished country like Georgia feels the need to have a paid lobbyist in the US in the first place or why it feels the need to join Nato. Perhaps the television pictures of Russian troops bombing and looting Georgia and terrorising its citizens might answer that question.

As for Mr McCain, he has a long and honourable record of standing by smaller nations in eastern Europe. During the Bosnian war, when Russia openly flouted the UN arms embargo on former Yugoslavia to arm Serbia and let it slaughter Bosnia's largely defenceless Muslims, Senator McCain was foremost in calling for the lifting of the embargo so that Bosnia could defend itself. And he did this without prompting from a lobbyist.

I get the feeling that some of those justifying Russia's aggression still haven't recovered from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism. Perhaps that is why, once events move east of the Danube, their moral compass goes haywire.

Most East Europeans, by contrast, having endured decades of Communist dictatorship, overthrew their repressive governments and have repeatedly shown that they prefer Western-style democracy to the despotism of Vladimir Putin.

- Yours, etc,

SEAN STEELE, Kilfenora Road, Kimmage, Dublin 12.



Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 at 06:40:41 AM EST
I will try and bear Millman's and Martingale's comments in mind in drafting a response to another scathing response to my letter in today's Irish Times, above.

My concern with trying to challenge the whole framing of Russia bad, US good is that Challenging a whole paradigm like that is very difficult to do in a short letter which is generally only allowed to make one point if it is to have a good chance of publication.  However I will do my best:

draft response


Madam - Sean Steele, Letters 20/8/08, accuses me of "scraping ever harder at the bottom of the barrel" in a  "desperate attempt to excuse (the) Russian aggression against Georgia" and that the Russian bombing of Georgia explains why Georgia feels the need to employ lobbyists in Washington.

He rather misses my point on both counts.  I am not in business of excusing Russian or any other Countries' aggression against a smaller country or territory, nor am I naive about the lobbying processes that go on in Washington.

Quite the reverse: the evidence indicates Randy Scheunemann, Senator John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser, may have used his influence on Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to persuade him that "Washington would have his back" if he invaded South Ossetia - especially during a US Presidential election campaign.

In so doing he handed his current employer, Senator John McCain, a badly needed boost to his floundering Presidential campaign at the cost of another embarrassing defeat for "the West" in the battle for supremacy (or stability) in world affairs.

It is not in Ireland's or in Europe's interest to rekindle the Cold War just for some perhaps fleeting advantage in a domestic US political campaign.  There is an ever increasing economic, political, energy and environmental interdependency between western and eastern Europe (including Russia) and the fanning of Cold War embers by either Georgia invading South Ossetia supported by "the West", or by Russia invading Georgia is the very last thing we need.

Already this has resulted in Poland and the US today signing an agreement to site US anti anti-ballistic missiles on Polish territory, allegedly aimed at rogue states or Al Qaeda - when in practice, only Russia has ballistic missiles capable of reaching Europe.

The successful enlargement of the EU was achieved in large measure by the ending of the Cold War.  Why ever would we want to re-start it - even if it does play well in some sections of domestic US politics?



Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 at 07:39:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Edited version of my response published in Irish Independent today: Stick to facts in Georgia debate - Letters, Opinion - Independent.ie
Emmet Dunphy (Letters, August 19) accuses me of being "anti-American", and making "ludicrous" and "laughable" claims about the links between the McCain presidential campaign and the South Ossetia invasion -- while not being able to refute any of the facts contained in my letter (August 16).

For the record, I am not anti-American or pro-Russian, but let me note that:

1. My letter drew attention to the documented close personal and financial links between the McCain presidential campaign and the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili -- and said nothing, good, bad or indifferent, about the US as whole.

2. My letter said nothing about Mr Putin's intentions, or whether the Russian intervention can be construed as reasonable or opportunistic over-reaction

3. Given that almost all commentators, from all sides, seem to agree that a Russian response to the Georgian attack on South Ossetia was forseeable, if not inevitable, it seems reasonable to ask why Mikheil Saakashvili would engage in such an adventure.

4. Mr Dunphy then claims that I am a beneficiary of the invasion of South Ossetia in that it enables me to spin my "anti-American" agenda and that "concern or solidarity for the ordinary civilians caught up in the conflict are conspicuous only by their absence" in my letter and that I should "cease masquerading" as anti-war.

I would have thought that sympathy for the innocent civilians caught up in this conflict was the obvious primary concern expressed in my letter, together with a fear that their misfortune might have been occasioned, at least in part, by the dynamics of the US presidential campaign.

That is the nub of my letter which Emmet Dunphy dismisses as "ludicrous" and "laughable if they weren't so serious".

Yet he does not challenge any of the facts which I listed in support of my argument.

FRANK SCHNITTGER

BLESSINGTON, CO WICKLOW

The paragraphs omitted were:


There are many more such facts contained in McCain's Senate record and Randy Scheunemann's Lobbyist record if he would care to do some research.

Blanket accusations of anti-Americanism masquerading as anti-war activism are of course the stock in trade of militarists and apologists for the neo-con project of the "New American Century" everywhere.  However I feel it is important that the causes of this conflict - and particularly any attempts to gain political/economic/personal advantage from a re-kindling of Cold War tensions - be highlighted and exposed before they are lost in the propaganda battles that characterise any war.

As a famous American, Senator Hiram Warren Johnson,  once said: "The first casualty of war is truth."  I urge Emmet Dunphy and the Irish Independent not to participate in the slaughter.



Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 21st, 2008 at 09:15:41 AM EST
My response to Sean Steele's letter has been published today - following a complaint by me claiming a right of reply: The Irish Times - Letters

Madam - Seán Steele (August 20th) accuses me of "scraping ever harder at the bottom of the barrel" in a "desperate attempt to excuse [ the] Russian aggression against Georgia" and claims that the Russian bombing of Georgia explains why Georgia feels the need to employ lobbyists in Washington.

He rather misses my point on both counts. I am not in the business of excusing Russian or any country's aggression against another, nor am I naive about the lobbying processes that go on in Washington.

Quite the reverse: the evidence indicates that Randy Scheunemann, Senator John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser, may have used his influence on Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili to persuade him that "Washington would have his back" if he invaded South Ossetia - especially during a US presidential election campaign.

In so doing, he handed his current employer, Senator John McCain, a badly needed boost to his floundering presidential campaign at the cost of another embarrassing defeat for "the West" in the battle for supremacy (or stability) in world affairs.

It is not in Ireland's or in Europe's interest to rekindle the Cold War just for some perhaps fleeting advantage in a domestic US political campaign. There is an ever-increasing economic, political, energy and environmental interdependency between western and eastern Europe (including Russia) and the fanning of Cold War embers by either Georgia invading South Ossetia supported by "the West", or by Russia invading Georgia , is the very last thing we need.

Already this has led to Poland and the US signing an agreement to site US anti-ballistic missiles on Polish territory, allegedly aimed at rogue states or Al-Qaeda, when, in practice, only Russia has ballistic missiles capable of reaching Europe.

The successful enlargement of the EU was achieved in large measure by the ending of the Cold War.

Why ever would we want to restart it - even if it does play well in some sections of domestic US politics and keeps the arms industry going strong? - Yours, etc,

FRANK SCHNITTGER,



Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 24th, 2008 at 09:15:58 PM EST
When the Irish Times didn't publish my initial draft, I sent a longer version substantiating my contention that Randy Sheeunemann played a key role in encouraging Georgia to invade South Ossetia by reference to an absolutely scathing article by Pat Buchanan which is well worth reading and also referenced by ARGeezer.

The additional paragraphs (not published) which I inserted read as follows:


Well, if he doesn't believe me, perhaps he will believe Pat Buchanan, doyen of US conservatives since Ronald Reagan, who has accused Randy Sheeunemann of Treason  and written that Sheeunemann " is a dual loyalist, a foreign agent whose assignment is to get America committed to spilling the blood of her sons for client regimes who have made this moral mercenary a rich man".  ..Not only did Scheunemann's two-man lobbying firm receive $730,000 since 2001 to get Georgia a NATO war guarantee, he was paid by Romania and Latvia to do the same. And he succeeded"

Scheunemann also came close to succeeding with Georgia. "Had he done so, U.S. soldiers and Marines from Idaho and West Virginia would be killing Russians in the Caucasus, and dying to protect Scheunemann's client, who launched this idiotic war the night of Aug. 7. That people like Scheunemann hire themselves out to put American lives on the line for their clients is a classic corruption of American democracy. " Pat Buchanan - Yahoo news, 22 August



Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 24th, 2008 at 09:23:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A fuller quote reads as follows:

And None Dare Call It Treason - Yahoo! News

Who is Randy Scheunemann?  

He is the principal foreign policy adviser to John McCain and potential successor to Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski as national security adviser to the president of the United States.

But Randy Scheunemann has another identity, another role.

He is a dual loyalist, a foreign agent whose assignment is to get America committed to spilling the blood of her sons for client regimes who have made this moral mercenary a rich man.

From January 2007 to March 2008, the McCain campaign paid Scheunemann $70,000 -- pocket change compared to the $290,000 his Orion Strategies banked in those same 15 months from the Georgian regime of Mikheil Saakashvili.

What were Mikheil's marching orders to Tbilisi's man in Washington? Get Georgia a NATO war guarantee. Get America committed to fight Russia, if necessary, on behalf of Georgia.

Scheunemann came close to succeeding.

Had he done so, U.S. soldiers and Marines from Idaho and West Virginia would be killing Russians in the Caucasus, and dying to protect Scheunemann's client, who launched this idiotic war the night of Aug. 7. That people like Scheunemann hire themselves out to put American lives on the line for their clients is a classic corruption of American democracy.

U.S. backing for his campaign to retrieve his lost provinces is what Saakashvili paid Scheunemann to produce. But why should Americans fight Russians to force 70,000 South Ossetians back into the custody of a regime they detest? Why not let the South Ossetians decide their own future in free elections?

Not only is the folly of the Bush interventionist policy on display in the Caucasus, so, too, is its manifest incoherence.



Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 24th, 2008 at 09:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Problem is that Buchanan doesn't have much credibility, like a great many of the paleocons he's pretty openly racist.
by MarekNYC on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 at 02:29:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No credibility to people in the reality-based community, certainly. No credibility to the letter's target audience? I'm not so sure.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 at 02:52:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I quote Pat Buchanan because:

  1. Of all the articles on Scheunemann that I have read, his is the most scathing

  2.  It is precisely because his politics is so far removed from the progressive/reality based community that makes his scathing critique of McCain and his advisor so interesting.  Had it been written by a "progressive", it would just have been par for the course, if rather more outspoken than usual.

  3. Obama and the progressive left seem to have given McCain a pass on this one.  I find the lack of moral outrage astonishing.

  4.  Discredited in the US or no, he is one of the few conservatives in the US who is well enough known this side of the pond to ring a few bells.  Given my credibility on this issue was called into question in both the Irish Times, and Irish Independent, it seriously undermines charges that I am pro-Russian if someone like Buchanan is making the same or similar argument.

  5.  I fund it interesting that many of the older conservatives (non-neo) seem to be moving to Obama.


Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 at 07:01:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, given that Buchanan is so isolationist that he believes that we shouldn't have fought Nazi Germany, I'm not sure how much credibility we're talking about.
by MarekNYC on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 at 12:19:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I obviously don't agree with Buchanan on Nazi Germany, but right now, a little more isolationist influence in the USA would be quite welcome - given that US interventions abroad under Cheney/Bush have been almost wholly negative.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 at 12:59:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually Buchanan was on the McLaughlin Group this week emphasizing the need for cooperation, not isolations, between Russia and the US.  I really don't see any truth in the assertion that Buchanan has no credibilty on this issue.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 at 01:05:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you suggesting his argument is racially motivated?  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 at 01:10:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite possibly - not necessarily this specific one, but his general stance on the neocons. White supremacists with a history of loving human rights violating US allies who get all exercised about Israel's human rights violations and the neocons... well let's just say I'm a bit suspicious.
by MarekNYC on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 at 02:12:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's both interesting and informative. However, the target audience of the LTE cannot be expected to know this. I doubt that most Europeans could tell the difference between Buchanan's brand of US wingnuttery and the Bush/Cheney line.

My own first association when I hear the name is "just another fundagelical" - if I didn't know better, I'd mark him down as being in Bush/Cheney's camp. And judging by what gets published plagiarised in the Danish press, that's probably the reaction of most Danes...

My guess would be that it doesn't make much difference that Buchannan is not an authority on the matter: Anybody in the target audience who's sufficiently well informed about US politics to recognise the difference between Cheney and Buchannan would probably recognise that argument from authority isn't a valid way of arguing in the first place. So bothering to dig out a bona fide authority is a waste of time.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 at 02:51:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not living in America, and not bing close to US domestic politics, I obviously can't speak to Buchanan's current level of influence or credibility, or even where he is coming from politically, except insofar as it is from some very conservative place.

However his criticisms of Scheunemann seemed to me to be consistent with the realist school of international relations - that Nations should act in their own self-interest - and that Scheunemann's activities were tantamount to Treason because they were encouraging the US to put its lives and treasure at risk in the interests of a rather rash regime in Georgia, which arguably has no great democratic legitimacy even in Georgia, and certainly no great claim the American loyalty except perhaps on the basis of the "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

It has been characteristic of the neo-con project that the US Government has been suborned to act in the interests of a small commercial/political/industrial and military elite - and not in the interests of the US as a whole.  Surely, in that context, a return to real politique is an improvement?

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 at 02:01:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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