Doctor Cleveland's picture

    I'm With Her

    In 2008, I supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. I would have backed Hillary in the general, happily. But I saw Obama as somewhat to Hillary's left, and I saw him as a superior campaigner who would make a stronger candidate.

    This year, I am voting for Hillary Clinton. She is strongest general election candidate the Democrats have this year, she will make a more effective president than any other Democrat in the field, and she is far better qualified than any other candidate in either party. My decision could not be simpler.

    I am to Hillary Clinton's left myself, just as I was and am to Barack Obama's left. (Nor have I ever been surprised to find myself on Obama's left. I knew who I was voting for in 2008, and Obama has proved to be pretty much who I thought he was.) I accept that I am much more liberal than the median American voter. If I want to see a president of the United States as liberal as I am, the whole country has to move left first. That movement will never happen during a presidential election; the presidential election will ratify a movement that has already happened.

    Do Hillary's centrist instincts sometimes frustrate me? Yup. Absolutely. But the way to move her left is to shift the terms of debate left. And Hillary's long political track record demonstrates, without question, that she moves to the left as the progressive policy consensus moves left. She has done it repeatedly, on issues across the spectrum. Some of Hillary's critics point to positions she once took, often twenty years ago, that contradict her positions today. But that is one of the reasons I'm voting for her. She has moved left. And she does not cling to her former positions out of any rigidity or misguided pride. She will continue to move left as our policy debates evolve. America has real problems that need solving, and almost all the best solutions lie in the left side of the spectrum (simply because almost every workable conservative idea, and more than one unworkable conservative idea, has already been tried). The center is going to move to the left because of reality's liberal bias. Hillary Clinton's realism will move her further to the left over time.

    Bernie Sanders is much closer to me ideologically. I agree with him about where we ought to go as a country, and where we should end up. But he is not great about explaining the details off how we get there, and I am not persuaded that Bernie would get us there. He is no Barack Obama. He has virtues that Obama doesn't, and Obama has strengths that Bernie doesn't. Bernie is not nearly the same campaigner. And Bernie's policy proposals are not built around what he can actually achieve in the near or intermediate future. Bernie's campaign is great about what we ought to do, but much fuzzier about the means. I have more faith in Hillary to get me as much progress as the next four years allow.

    What about the scandals? What about them? I'm old enough at this point to remember twenty-four years of persistent talk about Hillary scandals, scandals that never quite turn into anything solid. Some people say that Hillary isn't trustworthy, that where there is so much smoke there must be some fire. But it's been a quarter century of smoke without fire, so it's fair to ask if the endless smoke isn't something else entirely. It's not that "people" don't trust Hillary. It's that people, specific individuals, work very hard to paint Hillary as untrustworthy. That isn't a reason for me not to trust her. It's a reason for me to rally around her. I'm tired of her being attacked. And after years of all-out, scorched-earth political warfare, I am not about to abandon a seasoned warrior. We're going to fight for everything we get, no matter how big we win in November. And Hillary is the best fighter. She's the best choice, and I'm with her.




    Dr. Cleveland - you write: "And Hillary's long political track record demonstrates, without question, that she moves to the left as the progressive policy consensus moves left."

    Clinton has made many mistakes in her long career, her biggest almost certainly was her support for the war on Iraq.  Could you explain whether you believe she has moved to the left on the issues of military adventurism in the Middle East and "regime change"?  If you do believe she has gained insight from past mistakes could you set out the basis for that belief?  Please consider the following from Scott Ritter, UN weapons inspector in Iraq, in today's Huffington Post:

    What puzzles me are the blinders many supporters of Hillary Clinton wear when it comes to holding her to account for her past record. I feel I am justified to hold up Hillary's journey toward her vote on Iraq as a mirror to judge her subsequent decisions vis-à-vis Libya and Syria. "As much as I have wanted to," Hillary claims in Hard Choices, "I could never change my vote on Iraq. But I could try to help us learn the right lessons from that war ... I was determined to do exactly that when facing future hard choices, with more experience, wisdom, skepticism, and humility." All I could think of after reading that passage was of then-President George W. Bush, speaking in Nashville, Tennessee in September of 2002, proclaiming "Fool me once, shame on ... shame on you. Fool me ... You can't get fooled again!" I, for one, won't allow myself to be fooled again by Hillary Clinton. She claims she is ready "on day one" to be commander-in-chief, and yet her record clearly indicates otherwise. I'm pleased that people like Tulsi Gabbard seem to agree.

    Please also consider the decision of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who served two deployments in the Middle East, to leave the DNC to endorse Bernie Sanders.  She explained her decision as follows:

    We need a commander in chief who has foresight, who exercises good judgment, and who understands the need for a robust foreign policy which defends the safety and security of the American people, and who will not waste precious lives and money on interventionist wars of regime change,” Ms. Gabbard said. “We can elect a president who will lead us into more interventionist wars of regime change, or we can elect a president who will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.

    Wow, Hal - thought there'd be someone more sensible and consistent re: Gabbard - guess a loose cannon is good enough for some. Read my comments to Lulu.

    Of course, what we did in Libya is nothing like what happened in Iraq.  It barely even rhymes.  We acted with a coalition and used mostly air and drone power to prevent a human rights atrocity and then to drive Qaddafi into retreat where he was killed by his own people.  That's the opposite of invading a place and trying to set up a replacement government.

    Any serious criticism of Libya should reckon with the potential costs of inaction.  What would have happened had we not intervened?  The situation in Libya could very well have been much worse - see Syria.  After reading the fascinating articles in the NYT over the past few days, I'd say the biggest failure was the reluctance, contrary to HRC's counsel, to take even minimal steps to stabilize the country after Quaddafi's fall.    

    You write: " What would have happened had we not intervened?  The situation in Libya could very well have been much worse - see Syria.:

    In fact, it's virtually impossible to see how the Libya situation could have worked out any worse.  From Foreign Policy:

    In retrospect, Obama’s intervention in Libya was an abject failure, judged even by its own standards. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths and other human rights abuses have increased severalfold. Rather than helping the United States combat terrorism, as Qaddafi did during his last decade in power, Libya now serves as a safe haven for militias affiliated with both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Libya intervention has harmed other U.S. interests as well: undermining nuclear nonproliferation, chilling Russian cooperation at the UN, and fueling Syria’s civil war.

    Despite what defenders of the mission claim, there was a better policy available—not intervening at all, because peaceful Libyan civilians were not actually being targeted. Had the United States and its allies followed that course, they could have spared Libya from the resulting chaos and given it a chance of progress under Qaddafi’s chosen successor: his relatively liberal, Western-educated son Saif al-Islam. Instead, Libya today is riddled with vicious militias and anti-American terrorists—and thus serves as a cautionary tale of how humanitarian intervention can backfire for both the intervener and those it is intended to help.

    You write "the biggest failure was the reluctance, contrary to HRC's counsel, to take even minimal steps to stabilize the country after Quaddafi's fall."  I am unaware of the basis for the claim that Clinton counseled taking steps to stabilize Libya or that such steps would have been any more effective than the ones we took for many years after we toppled Saddam

    It is not hard at all to imagine how the situation could have turned out worse.  Qaddafi uses massive firepower against rebels and civilians alike.  The rebellion spreads and metastasizes, as in Syria: Game on.  Of course it's easy for Monday morning quarterbacks to look back now and claim we should have done nothing, but that's not so easy with a mad despot threatening a bloodbath.  As Maiello points out, the intervention itself was, at least initially, a success in deposing a nasty dictator (current revisionism aside - sure, he helped out a bit with AQ, because it was in his interest) through concerted international action without a ground invasion.  And yes, Clinton did urge greater involvement as the country began to break apart (whether those efforts would have been successful, of course, is an open question, although it's worth pointing out that Libya, with a total population of around 6 million, is not as riven by religious/sectarian hatreds as Iraq).  From the NYT:

    As the months passed and the factional fighting grew worse, Mrs. Clinton pressed for the administration to do more, asking the Pentagon, for example, to help train security forces. But she was boxed in by the president’s strictures and the Libyans’ resistance.

    “It’s like you’re twisting yourself into a pretzel to try to say, ‘O.K., we won’t have boots on the ground, but we know we got to do something,’” Mr. Ross said.

    Even modest proposals foundered. When Mrs. Clinton proposed sending a hospital ship to treat wounded Libyan fighters, the National Security Council rejected the idea, aides said.

    But whatever her misgivings, Mrs. Clinton prized her relationship with the president and respected his authority to set policy. So she went along, as disciplined as ever.


    I'm always amazed by self-appointed experts who proclaim with certainty positions that are diametrically opposite to those of true experts in a field.

    You'll have to explain that one, Hal, because at the moment your "true expert" seems to be lining up pretty well with Fox News, a development you should find shocking, while believe it or not, there are other "true experts" as people who have spent time fighting or handling diplomacy who find Gabbard quite out in left field. After rather short skimming, I think she's a pretty big minus for the Sanders team, except for a pretty shallow Sarah Palinish "support the troops" meme and the publicity a cute youngish woman in uniform might bring. Even pissing off the DNC doesn't seem to have many advantages aside from holding on to the anti-establishment brand, which is already set anyway.

    I do it accept that Hillary Clinton was a prime mover, or indeed a serious backer, of the Iraq War. That is not an excuse for her vote in its support. But it means that I don't think the Iraq War represents something she would do on her own dime,

    Clinton, like much of the Democratic Senate establishment, voted for the Iraq War from fear of being squeezed politically for opposing it. Kerry did the same thing, and I have never suspected that Kerry would start a similar war. COI to 's calculation was unlovely, and certainly not brave. But she might have read the short-term political necessities right. The point is that she caved on the Iraq War. She didn't start it.

    Neither has she proposed anything like that as Secretary of State or as a candidate. She never proposes ground invasions.. She doesn't talk about boots on the ground.

    And going back to my point, because reality has a liberal bias, Clinton is not going to start another Iraq War because the Iraq War was a spectacular failure and Clinton knows it. She does learn her lessons.

    I'm with you, Doc.  I wish I could have articulated my reasons for supporting Hillary Clinton as well as you did here.  All I can do is thank you for writing this.  Thank you.

    PP and Maiello launch barely gloved attacks on me and and PP takes the gloves off when discussing Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.  They also disregard wholly the opinion of UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter who "won't be fooled again by Hillary Clinton." What they don't do is provide any evidence in support of Dr. Cleveland's claim that "she has moved left" in the foreign policy arena, which is specifically what I asked about, or in any other. 

    In any event, in at least one area, Clinton has moved right - healthcare.  Where she used to support the idea of universal health coverage now she seems of the opinion any sort of government mandate is would be too expensive. It is an innate characteristic of the Clinton campaign and her supporters to rely almost exclusively on boilerplate statements, like she's walked the walk, or she has moved left, or she's had to put up with more than any man, or she's the most experienced person ever to run for President. 

    How unfortunate that we can't have a real discussion comparing the actual platforms and accomplishments of the two leading candidates.  But such a conversation would not suit the front runner or her supporters in the DNC, on Wall Street, and in boardrooms around the world.

    Hal, 5 minutes of Googling tells me Tulsi Gabbard is a real piece of work. For you, someone said something bad about HIllary, so you're super eager to welcome them on board - bad move.

    But I pointed out what I saw as problematic with Gabbard's flip-flopping solutions - "How unfortunate that we can't have a real discussion comparing the actual platforms" - well, get your ass over to Lulu's thread and discuss - I made 3 comments with particulars, and you've still never said boo about what kind of military response you think is ethical and proper and what isn't, nor anything specific on Israel, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, etc. on when they should be defending themselves, when their behavior is intorable, and what kind of course the US can pursue that's not "interventionist" but performs whatever role you think it should be playing. Instead you toss out an "expert" that's supposed to somehow stand for all the things you didn't say.

    Scott Ritter showed up and waited for HIllary in her office and no one took him in. He says that's extremely unusual, I've no idea - seems to me he could have managed a referral to get that done or something more effective. Yes, it could have helped shape Hillary's response more than the more hawkish Diane Feinstein - what different options she could have actually chosen, I don't know. Supposedly Hussein was also trying to get hold of people to make an exit from office before the attacks - more opportunities missed.

    I would be more concerned if Ritter had actually managed a talk with her and presented clear evidence like Richard Clarke and others did to Bush, including the "okay, you've covered your ass now" briefing and the "Bin Laden determined to strike in US" memo.

    As for Bernie's "accomplishments", they're decent enough, but not quite up there with Lawrence of Arabia or Gandhi. Let's just stick with ideas and ability to implement.

    PS - re Scott Ritter, maybe I figured out why Hillary's staff might not have responded -

    Even as Mr. Ritter has criticized Ms. Albright and others in the Administration, he has faced criticism himself from his two former bosses at the United Nations.

    Earlier this week Richard Butler, the chief United Nations arms inspector for Iraq said Mr. Ritter's testimony on Capitol Hill was often inaccurate in chronology and detail and had damaged the commission.

    And in an interview today, Mr. Butler's predecessor, Rolf Ekeus, who is now Sweden's ambassador to the United States, said Mr. Ritter had sometimes lacked an understanding of the ''big picture'' of dealing with Iraq.

    ''I don't want to denigrate him at all, because he's a very, very solid person,'' Ambassador Ekeus said. ''But he's not in a position to know all of the considerations that go into decision making on the commission.'' He said that in his dealings with Ms. Albright, ''I had always found her to be a strong supporter of Unscom.''

    In testimony today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Martin Indyk, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, said Mr. Ritter's allegations against the United States ''had profoundly undermined the perception that Unscom is independent -- and that will make it harder for Unscom to do its job.''


    JERUSALEM, Sept. 9 (Agence France-Presse) -- Iraq is hiding three ''technologically complete'' nuclear bombs that lack only the fissile material to make them operational, Scott Ritter, the former United Nations arms inspector, was quoted today as saying in the newspaper Haaretz.

    Haaretz said Mr. Ritter made the disclosure at a recent closed-door meeting of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    Mr. Ritter was quoted as saying that the United Nations inspections committee knew where the three nuclear devices were being hidden and had information on how they were concealed and which officers were guarding them, but had not received an order to inspect the site.

    He described the bombs as ''technologically complete'' and needing only the fissile nuclear material to become operational. Haaretz made no mention of whether Ritter believes Iraq has obtained any such nuclear material.

    Mr. Ritter, an American citizen, quit the United Nations inspection team in Iraq last month, saying it was no longer carrying out its task aggressively enough.

    He said the United States wanted to avoid new confrontations with President Saddam Hussein and had intervened to keep the United Nations teams from carrying out surprise inspections.

    Photo: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright defended the Administration's Iraq policy at an American Legion meeting yesterday in New Orleans. (Associated Press)

    But I thought that Iraq had no nuclear weapons nor capability, so we went to war on false pretenses? Not much help here.

    Perhaps she didn't want to meet with Ritter because he was charged with soliciting sex from minors?  Or perhaps because he hadn't been in Iraq since 1998?  Or perhaps it was because the actual UN inspector at the time, Hans Blix (who opposed the invasion), pushed for the AUMF, believing the threat of force was critical to get inspectors back into Iraq under UN conditions? 

    Suggest we leave the sex charges out of it - came later. Pete Townsend got convicted for child pornography, but that doesn't mean Who's Next and My Generation aren't great.

    But updated my post above with more on Ritter's pissing in the punchbowl in 1998.

    + Hans Blix thought Saddam had WMDs (not nukes) until January 2003, and yes, I think he was much more keyed in than Ritter by that point.

    It was a low blow, to be sure.  He was apparently charged in June 2001 and did 6 months probation.  The record was sealed, though, and did not become public until 2003, so that wouldn't seem to be the reason.  Still, it reinforces the fact that the guy was a bit of a whacko.  

    You write "the actual UN inspector at the time, Hans Blix (who opposed the invasion), pushed for the AUMF."  The source for this claim may have been Clinton's contention at the February 3, 2016, NH Town Hall that "Hans Blix, said give us the time, we will find out, give us the hammer over their head, namely the vote, and we will be able to find out what they still have in terms of (weapons of mass destruction)."  In fact, CNN ruled this Clinton claim to be false.  Per CNN, "Clinton's statement seems to suggest that Blix requested the Senate vote to aid inspections. There appears to be no evidence of this."

    You write Ritter "hadn't been in Iraq since 1998".  From Matt Bai in the NY Times Magazine February 2012:

    In a bizarre moment in 2002, Ritter even made the long journey back to Baghdad to address the Iraqi Parliament as a private citizen, warning that his own country was about to make a “historical mistake” and urging the Iraqis to allow inspections to resume. For this, and for his relentless insistence that the presence of hidden W.M.D.’s was nothing but a political pretense for war, Ritter was dismissed and even mocked by much of the media establishment (including writers for this magazine and The New York Times).

    Yes, the soliciting sex allegations and the conviction demonstrate he is a sexual predator.  I condemn the action of which he was convicted - "masturbating in front of a putative 15-year old online".  But reprehensible though this may be, Scott Ritter, as Matt Bai noted, "emerged, during the long period that led to the war, as the loudest and most credible skeptic of the Bush administration’s contention that Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction."


    I was, perhaps, a bit careless in suggesting Blix actually took a specific position on the AUMF, but there is no doubt Blix believed a credible threat of force was necessary to get Saddam to comply with the inspections.  He came to Washington in October 2002 to meet with administration officials, including Colin Powell, and expressed this view.  It is laid out in his book, relevant excerpts here

    The CNN link is an odd parsing of Clinton's statement.  It focuses a snippet of what Clinton said ("And the U.N. inspector, Hans Blix, said give us the time, we will find out, give us the hammer over their head, namely the vote...") as demonstrating the falsity of her entire answer.  It's not clear to me whether "the vote" Clinton was referring to was the AUMF or Security Council, but either way, the main point of her statement, is that Blix did in fact support the threat of force as leverage to obtain compliance with inspections.  The CNN "fact check" asserts that because Blix did not support a unilateral US invasion (neither did Clinton and this is not what she said, in any event), Clinton's statement is false because she voted against the Levin Amendment, which would have required the administration to go back to the UN before using force.  Clinton, however, along with other Democratic Senators, opposed the Levin Amendment, not because they favored a unilateral US invasion, but because, (1) Russia and China (and possibly France) would veto any Security Council resolution authorizing military force, and (2) as Sen. Feingold noted in opposition, it would cede to the UN the decision on whether to send US troop into combat.  

    The "fact check" is casually dismissive of Clinton's stated opposition to unilateral military action.  In fact, she was quite clear.  Why not look at what she said in her floor speech.  

    Some people favor attacking Saddam Hussein now, with any allies we can muster, in the belief that one more round of weapons inspections would not produce the required disarmament, and that deposing Saddam would be a positive good for the Iraqi people and would create the possibility of a secular democratic state in the Middle East, one which could perhaps move the entire region toward democratic reform.

    This view has appeal to some, because it would assure disarmament; because it would right old wrongs after our abandonment of the Shiites and Kurds in 1991, and our support for Saddam Hussein in the 1980's when he was using chemical weapons and terrorizing his people; and because it would give the Iraqi people a chance to build a future in freedom.

    However, this course is fraught with danger. We and our NATO allies did not depose Mr. Milosevic, who was responsible for more than a quarter of a million people being killed in the 1990s. Instead, by stopping his aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo, and keeping on the tough sanctions, we created the conditions in which his own people threw him out and led to his being in the dock being tried for war crimes as we speak.

    If we were to attack Iraq now, alone or with few allies, it would set a precedent that could come back to haunt us. In recent days, Russia has talked of an invasion of Georgia to attack Chechen rebels. India has mentioned the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Pakistan. And what if China were to perceive a threat from Taiwan?

    So Mr. President, for all its appeal, a unilateral attack, while it cannot be ruled out, on the present facts is not a good option.


    Even though the resolution before the Senate is not as strong as I would like in requiring the diplomatic route first and placing highest priority on a simple, clear requirement for unlimited inspections, I will take the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible.

    Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely, and therefore, war less likely, and because a good faith effort by the United States, even if it fails, will bring more allies and legitimacy to our cause, I have concluded, after careful and serious consideration, that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation. If we were to defeat this resolution or pass it with only a few Democrats, I am concerned that those who want to pretend this problem will go way with delay will oppose any UN resolution calling for unrestricted inspections.

    This is a very difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make -- any vote that may lead to war should be hard -- but I cast it with conviction.


    My vote is not, however, a vote for any new doctrine of pre-emption, or for uni-lateralism, or for the arrogance of American power or purpose -- all of which carry grave dangers for our nation, for the rule of international law and for the peace and security of people throughout the world.


    Oh, but she's a warmonger who actively supported Bush's war and only into intervention. (cliff notes edition)

    Excellent post


    I just pointed out that the U.S. intervention with Libya isn't really comparable to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  I'm not sure how this registers as an attack on you.

    Libya is a great subject to discuss, though, as it really cements Hillary Clinton's bona fides as a progressive foreign policy thinker as it accomplished the following lefty objectives:

    1) It prevented the mass murder of civilians by Qadafi.

    2) It removed a long-ensconced tyrant from power.

    3) The U.S. worked in concert with willing allies, often following the lead of other democracies.

    4) The U.S. was able to accomplish its goals without over-committing ground forces.

    I think any thoughtful lefty can happily vote for Clinton on foreign policy grounds and that there's a lot to admire about what she accomplished in Libya.

    For a long time, I wrongly thought the initial decision to bomb the road to Benghazi was justified, although the continued air assaults were not.  Responding to each of your defenses:

    1) "It prevented the mass murder of civilians by Qadafi."

    From the New Republic (5/7/15):

    [A]ccording to members of the intelligence community who spoke with the right-wing Washington Times in a series of stories earlier this year, is that no solid intelligence existed to back up Clinton’s statements of the impending bloodbath in Benghazi. U.S. officials said that the Pentagon believed “Gadhafi was unlikely to risk world outrage by inflicting large civilian casualties as he cracked down on the rebels based in Benghazi,” according to the reports.


    Human Rights Watch (HRW) also didn’t find strong evidence suggesting an impending slaughter by the time NATO intervened. “Our assessment was that up until that point, the casualty figures—around 350 protesters killed by indiscriminate fire of government security forces—didn’t rise to the level of indicating that a genocide or genocide-like mass atrocities were imminent,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Division. Based on HRW’s figures, Alan Kuperman of the University of Texas pointed out that less than 3 percent of the 949 people wounded in the city of Misrata were women in the first two months of the conflict, suggesting—despite the many horrible crimes committed—security forces did not simply indiscriminately target civilians, another rebuke of the Rwanda comparison.

    From Foreign Affairs (March/April 2015)

    As bad as Libya’s human rights situation was under Qaddafi, it has gotten worse since NATO ousted him. Immediately after taking power, the rebels perpetrated scores of reprisal killings, in addition to torturing, beating, and arbitrarily detaining thousands of suspected Qaddafi supporters. The rebels also expelled 30,000 mostly black residents from the town of Tawergha and burned or looted their homes and shops, on the grounds that some of them supposedly had been mercenaries. Six months after the war, Human Rights Watch declared that the abuses “appear to be so widespread and systematic that they may amount to crimes against humanity.”

    2) "It removed a long-ensconced tyrant from power."

    Okay.  But did the removal serve the interests of the people of Libya or our own interests or the interests of Libya's neighbors.  The answer to all three is obviously no.  Also, Foreign Affairs notes Gaddafi's son Saif, Gaddafi's chosen successor, was a moderate.  In fact, Clinton herself had welcomed him in Washington only two years earlier.

    3) The U.S. worked in concert with willing allies, often following the lead of other democracies.

    They accomplished an absolute disaster.

    4) The U.S. was able to accomplish its goals without over-committing ground forces.

    The short-term goal was accomplished but we are now facing calls from neocons and old-style hawks to commit troops and forces to fight terrorists in Syria and Iraq who were trained in Libya.

    1. 350 dead, by your own account.  I think any leader who kills 350 of his own people is in need of a little intervention.  I buy that Qadafi might have done worse, even in the face of the world's disapproval because the world's disapproval has meant nothing so often in the past and once you've spent decades lording over people, you really can't afford to just let things go unless you have some sort of Ferdinand Marcos style retirement plan and he didn't.

    2. The "what the rebels then did," argument is interesting... I suppose the way to try to prevent that is to then occupy the country of the dictator you deposed, but isn't that what we agree is a bad move?  Where does this leave us?  I think the notion that you can't remove a human rights violating dictator because, if you do, somebody else might violate human rights, doesn't make a ton of sense.  If you dig through the Dag archives (and I don't recommend doing it for this purpose) you'll see that I've evolved on this issue over time.  It ultimately amounts to arguing that the Avengers shouldn't take down Doctor Doom because, if they do, Kang the Conqueror is going to show up to do crimes. I don't buy it anymore.

    3. What was there before was a disaster. Absolutes are rare.

    4. If neocons and old style hawks want us to commit ground troops to Syria, we can always say no.  Cutthroats and violent extremists will always learn their craft somewhere.  Iraq and Libya and Syria are places where people have learned the art of the war.  But they have also learned in Chechnya and Afghanistan and Somalia. The world is full of dark places for those who seek them and the U.S. has not created them all.

    .  I think any leader who kills 350 of his own people is in need of a little intervention


    That's a pretty low threshold for starting down a path that ends , logically, with the possibility of regime change.


    I can see I'll have my work cut out for me on that adjacent thread if I want to preach restraint when sovereign states interfere with the monopoly on the use of force enjoyed within the lines defining states.

    OTOH I am sanguine about enlisting you in support of a world government

    I don't know what a "barely gloved attack" means, Hal, unless it simply means a legitimate disagreement you don't happen to like.

    Certainly, Gabbard is fair game, since she's a public political figure and because you appealed to her authority to bolster your position. If Gabbard is a member of our Dagblog community who needs to be treated collegiality, it's news to me.

    Maiello did not attack you either. He raised a legitimate point of disagreement. Disagreement is not a personal attack; none of us are Trump here. We are actually having a conversation; saying that we are not does not serve you, or your preferred candidate, well.

    Bernie's policy proposals are not built around what he can actually achieve in the near or intermediate future. Bernie's campaign is great about what we ought to do, but much fuzzier about the means.

    This has been the point I've tried to make to Bernie supporters. He can't impose his will on the House of Representatives. The house will remain under Republican control no matter what happens in the general. It's naive to think obstinate Republicans will suddenly want to negotiate with Bernie.


    Bernie has never had to deal with random events in a national election---events which can overtake the election process itself if not defused. On the other hand, Hillary has had to deal with road blocks most of her career. In my opinion she is far less likely than Bernie to either get caught off guard or be late with counter moves. She is the best candidate to deal with the Republican opposition as well as crises which appear one week before the election. This primary has not tested Bernie because Republicans are not hammering him---and for good reason.

    The answers to an exit poll question asking why people voted for HCR instead of Sanders, I think in Georgia, produced telling results free of the coding or apology. Many of the respondents stated clearly they rejected a more liberal change in direction for the country supposedly represented by Sanders. They did support the Center Right Obama regime and expected HRC to continue in that direction.

    These are revealing candid statements about how far to the Right many Democrats have drifted and their acceptance if not support of the neoliberal economic and  militaristic hegemony in foreign policy  offered by HRC  and the Democrat Party elite.

    More killing of  Muslims, further degrading the lives of the Working Class, police violence aimed at minorities, Panopticon surveillance in the Homeland and general Authoritarian Rule are the status quo too many people seem to be submitting to with their championing of HRC.

    Leisure Class Democrats  expect some protections under this type of regime and some even benefit from it. This may be why they code their words about supporting the status quo with  illusions of integrity when referring to HRC as the strongest, qualified and effective leader.



    I found a Georgia poll about the African-American exit poll

    I can't  find your poll. ​i think you have now resorted to just making stuff up, hoping that you won't get called out.

    Edit to add:

    Given your poor track record on accuracy, I will bet that you don't know the sources of the poll you think you read.

    Naive analysis that was all too common and was a tribal blindness for Democrats (as opposed to liberals and centrists).  This is why we end up with such a weak candidate and will quite possibly see President Trump.   Fill in the blank: (Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, _______).   Democrats often don't learn.   I wonder if Clinton noticed Romney recorded being frank in his contempt of real people when he laughed about them with donors.  

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