Huckabee and Those WMD in Jordan

Following the GOP debate on Thursday night, Huckabee showed both his ignorance and his willingness to believe fairy tales, regardless of whether he heard them or made them up himself.

During the debate, the Huckster said that Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (a meaningless term covering everything from WWI-era mustard gas to nukes) were like Easter eggs that we never found, “it doesn’t mean they’re not there.”

Questioned by Chris Matthews following the debate, Huckabee suggested that the WMD were moved to Jordan. When Matthews pointed out that Jordan is a close ally of the US, Huckabee started spinning his fairy tale. Instead of realizing his mistake (he probably meant Syria, not Jordan), he explained that these elusive little WMD could have ended up anywhere, and without the knowledge of the King of Jordan.

The idea that Saddam moved his weapons out of the country before his regime fell never made sense to me, unless you believe that he was so moral as to refuse to use the weapons to save himself and defend his rule.

  • Huckabee truly is an out to lunch village idiot and clearly not a student of history. He says the Iraqis "believe we will not abandon them, and leave them to the slaughter they would likely be subject to," yet that is just what happened in the first Gulf War. He tries to speak for the Iraqi people without even knowing how they really feel, or the connection to recent history.

    Then confusing Jordan for Syria in the now infamous right-wing fable of the traveling wmds is comedy material that couldn't be made up.

    And not to be overlooked is his schoolyard argument that it wasn't only Republicans who believed the Bush government lies, it was the Democrats as well – as if that makes everything better.

  • Stanley Laham

    I have this unnerving feeling that most of these republican candidates are cartoon characters brought to life. If Ron Paul does not make minced meat out of these apocryphal humanoids, then something is wrong.

  • brad smith

    I have always found it amazing how politicians can speak total nonsense and make it sound like fact. Anyone who has done any research can see that Saddam was telling the truth and Bush, Chenny, Powell etc. where the ones lying. Bush lied and Saddam’s people died. But Huckabee doesn’t care about that. Did you hear his response about sending Muslims to Hell. He is a Theocrat and does believe in the Rapture and that bombing the middle east for Israel the Chosen People will bring this about. It’s a foolish and scary thought. And we sit around worried about the Islamic fanatics, but at the same time we have one running for office.

  • Frank Snively

    It is interesting to compare the (reported) attitudes of that splinter sect of Shiites in Iraq, who killed some of their co-religionists, and were shut down by the “mainstream” Shiite civil authorities, with the Rapturists here in the US. They both believe that The End Is Coming Soon, and that peace will reign forever after the return of the leader – after all the infidels have been killed, of course.

    Makes me wish I read Farsi or Arabic, so I could see for myself what their doctrine really is. Come to think of it, I don’t read Greek or Aramic, either, but then neither do the believers in Rapture, so I can read the English translation of the Bible without worrying about missing something in the original text.

    Well, I’m certain that Mike Huckabee hasn’t read original texts, either!

    • brad smith

      Great point I read the Koran years ago as well as the book of Revelations. I don’t remember there being a whole lot of difference other that the huge amount of rules in the Koran. I have no idea how good my translated copy was. I’m sure we have all played or heard of the game telephone, seems like about the same thing to me.

      I also remember being taken as a child (1970’s) to see a film about the end times. It scared the heck out of me I can tell you. Jesus came down, the good people (Christians) left, people were marked with the sign of the beast 666, the seven horsemen of the apocalypse let loose and only the people who didn’t take the number got to go to heaven. It was scary stuff then and now.

    • Shams Khan

      Hi Frank Snively,

      You can get Quran with simple english translation in any book store in USA. Quran does not mention of any coming back of any one. It only states the end of time.
      Believe in Coming of Messiah by Muslims (Jaffar by Shites and Jesus by Sunnis) is word of mouth spread over centuries.

      I am 52 now and was born in a muslim country as a muslim and was always taught to be peaceful and use force only if you are attacked, never be aggressor. We used to joke with our christian friends about Jesus saying that if some one slap you on one side offer second to him.

      It seems like my adopted beloved country is going down the hill since Bush got into White house and I have feeling that it will be John Mccain in White house nest 4 years. He is another Muslim hater like Huckabee, Mitt and Rudy.
      Republicans using Muslims and Islam to instill fear and get elected.

      • brad smith

        Hi, Shams Khan

        I completely agree with you. I am very disappointed with the way the fear mongering leaders of this country are using Moslems as scapegoats. I know very little about your religion but for what I have heard from friends and the little reading I have done. Obviously I need to go out and buy a new copy of the Quran. I’m sure I could learn a lot.

        I consider myself a Christian in that I believe in the teachings’ of Christ. Turn the other cheek is definitely one of the most important lessons. As is the story of the good Sumerian, as well as the golden rule. These are truly words to live by. I only wish our leaders would live by the words of Christ and not their own agendas. I have never understood why anyone could believe in violence other than for defense. The only way to make a better world is with peace, understanding, and tolerance for all. Thanks for setting the record straight.

      • FirstCasualty

        If McCain wins the Gop nomination he will lose to Clinton because Sadr’s truce will end Feb 29th and the Iraq war will again become the #1 issue of the debates. Funny about the date eh?. Clinton I was almost as bad as Bush and I would imagine Clinton II will be worse. We’ll be in a recession, she’ll find some way to attack Iran for israel and she will further erode civil liberites in America out of need. One of two things can save America: A RP win in the primaries or a revolution.

  • Skulz Fontaine

    The good Rev. Huckster is mostly ‘out to lunch’. Working for six or seven different pimps just might do that to a good Rev. Huckster. “Jesus” must be ever so proud of the good Rev. Huckster.

  • phil

    Huckster is a good example of why I don’t go to church anymore. Ministers should be required to pass some sort of test involving world history, anthropology, geography, ect.

    Most of the ones that I have met, especially the ones who never worked for a living doing something else, I found to be fairly ignorant in many areas and had plenty of blind spots. Many of their parishoners take what they say at face value and don’t recognize that they are just men who make lots of mistakes and really are not that well informed.

    My feeling is that Huckster should back Ron Paul if he is a real Christian. But his ego won’t allow him.

    Mullah Huckster really scares me because I think he is an overly ambitious phoney too.

    • FirstCasualty

      Or pass a test about his feelings on dispensationalism.

  • John Lowell

    It continues to amaze me just how thoroughly taken by the whole concept of Middle Eastern war Evangelicals actually are. Their eschatology notwithstanding, one would think that the whole sense of the faith, its principal thrust and the personal example of Christ Himself, would have introduced a certain disquiet into their reception of war talk but it hasn’t. They embrace it, largely.

    Last week, speaking of those who would instruct South Carolinians in how to dispose of the question of the Confederate flag, Huckabee, in decidedly non-pastoral language, suggested that he had an idea what they might do with the pole to which it was attached. One would have to question whether such treatment would accord well with the “Christian witness”, or example, so many Evangelicals, when asked why they don’t drink, feel it so important to point. Today Evangelicalism is, by-in-large, a reduction of the faith to a kind of biblicist parentalism. Mired in a culture worshipful of the military and the Saturday afternoon college football game, it long ago lost its moorings in the 2000 year old inheritance of the faith. In that sense, it is an
    utter irrelevance.

    • Tim R.

      Speaking of the Christian faithful in the United States, Lowell writes that it is now just about worshipping the military and sat afternoon college footbal games:

      “In that sense, it is an
      utter irrelevance. ”

      Do some reading of American history to see if Christianity is not relevant to this nation from her founding until today.
      Even today over 80% of America identifies as Christian. A common faith, Christianity, is one of the attributes John Jay mentions in Federalist Paper #2. Jay says that Christianity along with the English language and a common European ancestry help to unite this country. Go and read the Inauguration speeches of every President from George Washington to George W. Bush. You will be hard pressed to find one that does not mention God. This country was founded on the Judeo Christian tradition and it remains as relevant today as ever.

  • Susan – NC

    my dental hygienist wants Huckabee for president – latest story going round was that Saddam continued to “fake” having WMDs because he did not really believe bush would invade Iraq….. so, never mind the fact that Saddam repeatedly and publicly said that he did not have WMDs.

    But my favorite all-time lie is when bush claims that Saddam never let UN weapons inspectors into Iraq in 2002. He had said that publicly three times now.

    I work with an idiot who thinks Saddam would move the WMDs somewhere else rather than just use them – just defies common sense and logic completely. She is a supervisor at my government work place.

    • peace

      And my gay hairdresser, my cable guy vet, and a surveyor I need all want to destroy Arabs in the Mid-East for freaky, vengeful, terrifying reasons. So like Susan, I face the devils in my red state.

  • GM

    This is another refutation of the idea that the Huckster is some sort of foreign policy moderate. Just like George, he is an ignorant boob, and what little he knows comes from neocon-type source.

  • Eugene Costa

    See them flyin’ on a ten mile heat!

    Doo-dah! Doo-dah!

    Round the race track, then repeat!

    Oh! doo-dah day!

    [Stephen Foster]

  • Joe Allen

    Governor Huckabee’s opportunistic amoralism and faux Christianity is not what frieghtens me about him. It’s not that he’s an order of magnitude dumber than even George Bush. What frightens me is the number of people who don’t see a lack of intelligence as a serious impediment to acceptable presidential performance. Same goes for Senator McCain. Neither man is smart enough to have a coherent political philosophy to betray.

    Either of these buffons would be an American Hugo Chavez and turn the United States into a Venezuela North.

    • Stanley Laham

      Your comparison of these men you correctly identify as buffoons(though somewhat unfair to buffoons) with Hugo Chavez defies analysis. What exactly do you blame Chavez for?
      Is it:
      1-Defying the empire like no one else dares to?
      2-Getting rid of the corrupt corporate bureaucracy that was in the pay of American oil interests?
      3-Or perhaps challenging the absolute monopolistic tyranny of the IMF and the World Bank by attempting to provide developing countries an alternative with his Bank of the South?

      If what was before Chavez was better than Chavez, how do you explain that a country so rich in petrol remained so backward for the last eighty years? Oil was discovered in 1918 under Lake Maracaibo to the tune of 400 billion barrels of proven reserve. It has made many American companies very rich since. Venezuela should have been a first world country with state of the art infrastructure. The standard of living of its citizens should have been at par with any European country. Instead it was kept at a calculated backwardness and dependence by corrupt leaders sponsored by their North American puppeteers.

      So you don’t like Hugo Chavez? Neither does McCain, Huckabee nor the neocons. Hopefully he will remain in your faces for some time to come. Unless, of course, a lone assassin…

      • Eugene Costa

        I watched a very recent interview with Fidel Castro a short while ago. What struck me was the palpable humility he displayed when asked whether he had ever tried his hand at poetry.

        His answer was “No”.

        Whatever one thinks of Mao, Mao was by far the best poet of modern China.

        To misundertand that is to misunderstand how again and again Chiang Kai-shek was outmaneuvered.

        For raw intelligence was Eugene McCarthy the most intelligent man to have run for president in the last half century?

        Among the first two or three, and the judgment is not ideological.

        All Kennedy managed was a third-rate dissertation, While England Slept.

    • Eugene Costa

      “CARACAS, Venezuela AP January 26, 2008- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged his Latin American allies on Saturday to begin withdrawing billions of dollars in international reserves from U.S. banks, warning of a looming U.S. economic crisis.”

      Nonsense, Chavez is extremely intelligent by comparison with either Bush, or Cheney, or either Clinton, or even Gore.

    • peace

      My mother taught me that in her experience, prior to Kennedy, if you are too intelligent, you can’t get elected president of the USA.

  • Pingback: Huckabee and Those WMD in Jordan « Progressivist()

  • Amazing, Such insight. was this not the same ignorant man who had no idea wheather Afghanistan was East or West of Pakistan!
    Jordan and King Abdullah, who is half english and his Palestian
    queens Rania must be real pleased with this idiot.

    By the way Jesus changed water into grapejuice and denial is a river in Egypt.

    • Eugene Costa

      Ah, the Moody crowd–oinos as grapejuice.

      There are ironies in that beyond imagination–that part of the same crowd earlier actually invented a process for making grapejuice, that is, for aborting the natural fermentation into wine.

  • Eugene Costa

    It is not as clear as sometimes stated that G.B.Shaw was ever truly socialist, save contingently. Whether he was or not, and whether one agrees or not, the reverberations in the following are signal:

    “Another observation I had made was that good-natured unambitious men are cowards when they have no religion. They are dominated and exploited not only by greedy and often half-witted and half-alive weaklings who will do anything for cigars, champagne, motor cars, and the more childish and
    selfish uses of money, but by able and sound administrators who can do nothing else with them than dominate and exploit them.

    Government and exploitation become synonymous under such circumstances; and the world is finally ruled by the childish, the brigands, and the blackguards.

    Those who refuse to stand in with them are persecuted and occasionally executed when they give any trouble to the exploiters. They fall into poverty when they lack lucrative specific talents.

    At the present moment one half of Europe, having knocked the other half down, is trying to kick it to death, and may succeed: a procedure which is, logically, sound Neo-Darwinism.

    And the good-natured majority are looking on in helpless horror, or allowing themselves to be persuaded by the newspapers of their exploiters that the kicking is not only a sound commercial investment, but an act of divine justice of which they are the ardent instruments.

    But if Man is really incapable of organizing a big civilization, and cannot organize even a village or a tribe any too well, what is the use of giving him a religion? A religion may make him hunger and thirst for righteousness; but will it endow him with the practical capacity to satisfy that appetite?

    Good intentions do not carry with them a grain of political science, which is a very complicated one. The most devoted and
    indefatigable, the most able and disinterested students of this science in England, as far as I know, are my friends Sidney and Beatrice Webb. It has taken them forty years of preliminary work, in the course of which they have published several treatises comparable to Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, to formulate a political constitution adequate to existing needs.

    If this is the measure of what can be done in a
    lifetime by extraordinary ability, keen natural aptitude, exceptional opportunities, and freedom from the preoccupations of bread-winning, what are we to expect from the parliament man to whom political science is as remote and distasteful as the differential calculus, and to whom such an elementary but vital point as the law of economic rent is a pons asinorum never to be approached, much less crossed?

    Or from the common voter who is mostly so hard at work all day earning a living that he cannot keep awake for five minutes over a book?”

    [Back To Mehuselah–paragraphing added]

    • Eugene Costa

      corr: “Methuselah”

  • richard vajs

    The disturbing trend in Christianity (as evidenced by the Huckster) is the backsliding from the teachings of Jesus back to the barbarism of the Old Testament. How the evangelicals love the conquest and retribution of the Old Testament; the sterness of God, his unforgiving of unto many generations, his demand that his Chosen People slaughter the Edomites. They love to see the Ten Commandments posted in public, they would cring seeing the Beatitudes posted in public (too wussy). How the Huckster wants to send Muslims to the “Gates of Hell”. The only part of the New Testament that the evangelicals love is, of course, Revelations. With all of its psychedelic visions of locusts with armor plate, horsemen of death and famine, and rivers of blood up to the horse’s bridle. As it is going, don’t be surprised to see stoning come back.

  • jojo

    If you missed it—‘It’ means America’s blight
    Needed Rico corruption Act
    What the public needs to understand is that FOX, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and the other established *mainstream ” mass media”/news sources [*see definition @] are perpetrating criminal fraud (via omissions, distortions and outright lies) and a deliberate censorship of Dr. Ron Paul in 2008 Presidential race—with malice and aforethought and evil intent to control the 2008 presidential elections. This is an outrage and “We the People” need to organize against this dangerous plot and TAKE ACTION by filing “class action” criminal charges and civil suits against the owners and executives of these news sources. This illegal censorship is not only harming Americans because they wield the power to control the outcome of elections via the quantity and quality of the news coverage they provide the candidates; it constitutes an unAmerican and antiAmerican criminal enterprise; not to fail to mention a violation of the first amendment/freedom of the press. These accused individuals—the elitist media executives—exercise monopolized and Fascist-control over media/news sources with intent to get the candidate preferred by them elected while simultaneously wrongfully hiding and/or playing down the true facts, popularity and success of the Ron Paul campaign.

    Please spread this message and let’s get criminal charges and a class action lawsuit executed against this dangerous organized crime syndicate identified as the present mainstream media outlets which are collaborating in a RICO [ Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1961-1968; reference:] conspiracy to censor Dr. Ron Paul and control the outcome of the 2008 Presidential Election. This is definitely “RICO” if it can be shown that any of the accused media executives have donated money to any of the other presidential candidates, directly or indirectly! The accused individuals herein have wrongfully utilized their outrageous MONOPOLY over the media across America to injure Dr. Ron Paul and his millions of supporters; all Americans, in fact. These accused individuals need to go to prison upon conviction. They need to be criminally prosecuted and have their personal assets seized. They need to have their Federal FCC licenses revoked for participating in this criminal conspiracy. Help us spread this felony information far and wide. Let’s get these elitist outlaws criminally prosecuted and civilly sued.

    • peace

      I support this measure, JoJo, and thanks so much. These tv cretins brag among themselves how they can make or break a candidate, and even edit to do so. I am sick to heart at hearing these tv employees say, the three R candidates (as if Paul was not one), naming the other three, and make sure the camera is not on Ron Paul, as if he hasn’t bested two of them in some state primaries.

      Bresschecktv has a video that it says proves why the MSM is doing all in their power to prevent the most intelligent, the people’s candidate on the R side, Ron Paul, from being heard or seen, and that is one where Paul is making statements about the errors the US made before and after Sept. 11, which are the exact opposite of what the media has been regurgitating to the American public.

  • David Banks

    Yes, this is the neocons’ Straussian “meme” nearly seven years into the unfolding catastrophe of Mission Not-Yet-Accomplished.

    We never found Saddam’s dreaded WMDs? Ah, that’s because with incredible cunning and duplicity (there go those neocons, projecting again) he MOVED THEM OUT OF THE COUNTRY instead of using them when his back was against the wall and he and his clan were about to be annihilated. Syria is the favorite putative destination.

    But remember that some neocons still insist that Saddam also had a fully-fledged program to build nuclear warheads for his 45-minutes-to-Cyprus missiles, and that he tested nukes in the desert long after Madeleine Albright had launched her program of humanitarian child starvation.

    So believing that the Wickedest Man in the World would rather hide his WMDs so thoroughly that they cannot be found any more than, you know, set a few off… that’s no stretch. If you’re a fully fledged graduate of the school of Leo, that is.

  • Survivor

    Huckabee, what a complete idiot. Unfortunately, most of the Republican base believe this crap. Huckabee could have said the WMDs were actually sent to Iran and this ignorant Republican base would believe it. Huckabee’s, along with McCain’s, continuous praise for Petreaus and the surge is another example of ignorance. The surge was nothing more than political cover for the neocon Republican presidential run. The neocons had to subdue the violence and one way of doing this was to cut a deal with the very same baathist insurgents whom the neocons were calling the new nazis and terrorists of today just a few years ago. Its amazing how the Huckabee’s and the McCain’s support former insurgents (for now) who have killed almost 4,000 of our soldiers. And please, stop with the Al Qaida crap. The former insurgents were Al Qaida in name only. Only the die hard Iraqi Salafists (whom Saddam suppressed and whom have the same ideology as Al Qaida) are continuing the resistance under the name of Al Qaida, and they make up a tiny fraction of the insurgency. Again, McCain and Huckabee support the former baathist government. Oh, I am sorry they are called concerned citizens now. What a sham!

  • Kirk Hayes

    With northern and southern no fly zones in effect since the end of GW1 up to GW2, where absolutely nothing could move in Iraq without the knowledge of our imperial forces, it is absurd that those seeking the highest office in the land would be unaware of this reality and still claim that WMD’s were moved. Is he misinformed? or banking on the ignorance of the majority in this nation?

    Is anyone else tired of being spoken to in such a manner?

  • Tim R.

    Two points:

    1) An absense of evidence is not, necessarily, evidence of absense. The weapons were not found. They may or may not have been there. Just because they were not found does not, necessarily, mean they were not there.

    2) Reminder! President Bill Clinton throughout is two terms firmly declared that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. If you say Bush lied, fine. But then you have to also say Clinton lied.

    • Eugene Costa

      A imagines and invents x.

      A cannot locate any existent instance of x.

      A argues absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

      Ergo: x existed and was moved.


    • Kenneth

      1) That’s “absence”, Timmy. Whilst it is impossible to prove a negative from a strict epistemic standpoint the absence of evidence is, scientifically, valid reason for rejecting a hypothesis, because the alternative is intellectual anarchy and the scientific process demands a winnowing of superfluous and unproven elements.

      Secondly, allowing for the presence of such weapons, they would be of no consequence. He would have no motive for using them, and plenty of reason not to. Bear in mind as well that Saddam’s secular regime was an opponent of both Al-Qaeda and Iran. Merely collocating “Saddam” and “WMD” in an exclamatory tone does not an argument for intervention make.

      2) I think you’d be extremely hard pressed to find apologists for Clinton on this site, especially given the extensive criticisms made of him in the past. If you’re going to make an issue of this, go do something useful and annoy the Democratic hacks at DailyKos with it. I’m sure some truly lulzworthy rejoinders will ensue.

      • Eugene Costa

        You arrive at the crux of the bisuit, in Zappa’s phrase.

        Had Hussein developed nuclear weapons, he would not have been able to use them, perhaps not even against Iran, which was the prospective target.

        And certainly not against Israel or Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.

        Too, with Hussein as an American ally, even with a few nuclear weapons he could not use, Israel would now be much safer than it is and has been under the Likud.

        Or ever will be again.

        Hussein’s main miscalculation in my analysis, writ many years ago, was reckoning that the US was rational and was acting in the gulf in US foreign policy interests–would therefore do no more in the Second Gulf War than in the first.

        This is now confirmed by the the FBI agent’s recent witness about Hussein as prisoner or war.

        Having realized the Iraq War would be a complete disaster for the US, long before it happened, and having predicted its course in great detail, mainly on the basis of historically derived models, I confess to one major surprise.

        It is this.

        I quite thought Saddam Hussein would be laughing uproariously at the Americans as he was hanged.

        Instead, he was merely defiant and abusive, mainly to taunting Shi’ites.

        One serious omission that still stands: there is great need of a detailed biography of Hussein, done with serious, critical, and exhaustive scholarship, and available in English or a European language.

        Meanwhile the Mother of Battles endures, both as prophecy and genitivally.

        • Kenneth

          So where are we now? To purloin a book title, is another century of war upon us?

        • Eugene Costa

          Another century of war? That’s fairly easy as a general question. “War’ in that context might mean:

          (1) War by the United States against others

          (2) War by others against the United States

          (3) Both of the above

          (4) Neither of the above.

          Briefly, the United States will not last, perhaps even as a political entity in name only, for a hundred years under any serious and sustained occurrence of (1), (2), or (3).

          Fifty years?

          Very unlikely.

          Ten–possible but that depends on many contingencies and I doubt it.

          So, no–no war by or against the United States for another century.

          Anything more detailed than that becomes very complex, and dependent on a few still unresolved contingencies.

        • Kenneth

          No, I mean a century of chaos and bloody inter- and intrastate warfare that extends throughout the third world and perhaps spills over into the first.

        • Eugene Costa

          The “First world” no longer exists.

          The entity that defined it, the United States, is now itself on the verge of “Second World Status” financially and economically.

          The closest to a “First World” now, if anything ever existed outside the vocabulary of self-deluding American jingoists, is perhaps Europe and Japan.

          I’ll give you one item–what is cell phone communication in Europe like, or in much of the supposed “Third World”, for example, compared to the United States.

          Simple answer–much more efficient and more reliable.


        • Kenneth

          You haven’t answered my question. Does the “coming anarchy” thesis apply here?

  • Eugene Costa

    When someone asks about a century into the future, the best reply is always to send them back an equal length of time into the past.

    It’s not foolproof, but it gives an idea of context.

    What did what is called “the United States” look like a century ago–economically, financially, population-wise, territorially, “culturally”, and so forth?

    This can be done usefully only in great detail and without ideology.

    What were communications and transportation like, for example?

    Were railways the equivalent of highways, and what was the expenditure of energy to move item of weight or size x over distance d on land? On water?

    Who was employed at what?

    It goes on and on.

    Look at the US in 1907, and abstract categories that still exist or do not exist.

    Get rid of the idea of inevitable progress, technologically or otherwise.

    Interestingly enough, in that context, perhaps the least important item a century ago in the United States was any sort of large and dominant military establishment.

    Another thought experiment that is useful: having learned what an abstracted version of the US looked like a century ago, is there another entity in the contemporary world that looks anything like it now?

    These are just loosening up exercises in the end.

  • Eugene Costa

    “No, I mean a century of chaos and bloody inter- and intrastate warfare that extends throughout the third world and perhaps spills over into the first.”

    Depends on the area and whether there are any “states” in the first place.

    How much of the “inter- and intrastate warfare’ of the Twentieth Century was caused by rather calculating British imperialists who, losing colonies, coined “states” that they thought they could manipulate and control?

    Is mainland “China” really a “state” at all, or Iran or France or Britain or Afghanistan?

    Were the thirteen colonies really formed into a “state”?

    In fact what is a “state” in the first place? In modern times, you might find an interesting byway, central to any answer, in Burckhardt’s history of Renaissance Italy.

    But it requires flexible, open mind and careful reading and thinking.

  • Survivor


    Tim, I absolutely agree with you about Bill Clinton and his constant mantra against Saddam during his tenure. However, Tim, please don’t be one of those typical neocons, that is, if someone rightly criticizes republicans, oh, then, they must be a Clinton lover. Listen, understand this that both republican and democrat establishment types believe in the samething at the end of the day and that is: EMPIRE. These two constitutionally deficient parties need boogey men to justify this continuing empire abroad and the continuing dissolving of our constitutional rights at home.

    Right now the establishment (both R’s and D’s) is whipping up the war rhetoric against the current boogey man, that is, Iran. You see, Iran is not a compliant client of ours like the despots of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan; therefore, propaganda is used to justify an attack on Iran. Just like the propaganda was used against Saddam (from both Clinton and Bush) i.e., WMD and Al Qaida. It would had been and would be today Pakistan but unfortunately Pakistan has something that Saddam and Iran did not, Nuclear Weapons.

    Tim, the bottom line is do not play that game of if you call Bush a name you better call Clinton a name and vice versa. This mentality which permeates throughout our voting public allows the R’s and the D’s to continue this dangerous adventure of empire.

    Oh and by the way, the UN weapon inspectors were in Iraq for four months until Bush pulled them out and began this illegal war of aggression. Why? because there were no WMDs!

    • Tim R.

      Survivor writes:

      ” Right now the establishment (both R’s and D’s) is whipping up the war rhetoric against the current boogey man, that is, Iran. You see, Iran is not a compliant client of ours like the despots of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan; therefore, propaganda is used to justify an attack on Iran.”

      You make a valid point. I think it is DISGUSTING that our government supports nations like Saudi Arabia Jordan, and Egypt. ( In particular Saudi Arabia since they have fomented Islamic radicals for so long and most of the 9/11 killers came from there.)

      If it were up to me, I would do exactly what Pres. Bush said he would do in his address to the nation shortly after the attacks of September 11th 2001. We should make no distinctions between terrorists and states that support them. I think we should be willing to go to war with ANY nation that directly or indirectly supports Islamic terrorism. Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran would be at the top of my list. These governments are made up of uncivilized barbarians. But we, in the stupidity of political correctness, multi culturalism, and moral relativism are too dumb to admit it. We are not at war with any one nation or group. We are at war with radical Islam as a whole. People need to wake up to that fact. The Muslim fanatics understand it well. In that way they are a lot smarter than we are.

      • Kenneth

        America is not “at war” with anyone, much less the entire Islamic. What it has to deal with is, at most, a small band of criminals easily mopped up by a few policing operations which have been opportunistically exploited by certain states for political ends without martial intent, as said states depend on America and Israel for funding and legitimacy respectively.

        But we, in the stupidity of political correctness, multi culturalism, and moral relativism are too dumb to admit it.

        No, elementary logic militates against bombing an economically vital region back into the stone age and fanning the flames of Islamic radicalism. That, and the happy confluence of interests between the Saudi and American elites. Ideology has nothing to do with it.

      • The mirror

        I bet many countries would see the American government as being “made up of uncivilized barbarians.” And I would agree for what it’s worth.

  • Eugene Costa

    Another good example is the Kurds? Are the Kurds a “state”?

    In fact, you can find the Kurds in Xenophon functioning in most essentials as they do now, which is fighting both whoever happens to dominate Mesopotamia and also everyone else who comes into their mountains.

    Will that change? I seriously doubt it. “Kurdistan” is a realer and more persistent entity than most of the “states” of the modern world.

    Now try to define “chaos” or “interstate warfare” in relation to Kurds or Kurdistan for the last three millennia.

    • Kenneth

      “State” here is understood to mean a conventional polity with all the accoutrements of government- the monopoly on force, some kind of legitimacy, bureaucracy, a standing army, etc- whether de jure (in China’s case) or de facto in Kurdistan’s case. In this political microcosm “chaos” might simply be a state of conflict between Kurdistan and its neighbours. Intrastate warfare simply involves conflict between non-state actors- a more or less unremitting state of low- to mid- level violence in the less developed parts of the world.

      • Eugene Costa

        That definition of conventional “polity” does not define the Kurds at all.

        As I am fairly sure you must know, “polity” itself ultimately derives from “polis”, which most in English translate as “city-state”.

        The same root appears in “political”.

        Aristotle’s famous dictum is actually better translated as:
        “Man is an animal best fit to live in a polis”.

        In that sense, no moderns, living in territorial states or exclusively or mainly in tribes are “political” at all.

        • Kenneth

          That definition of conventional “polity” does not define the Kurds at all.

          Why not?

          As I am fairly sure you must know, “polity” itself ultimately derives from “polis”, which most in English translate as “city-state”.

          Aye, it refers to a political unit, which the Kurds have become.

        • Eugene Costa

          No, the Kurds remain a “political” unit, in the modern sense, only to outsiders.

          You might do better with the Turks, but even there “state” is recent, enforced by Ataturk.

          Were the Kurds in Turkey only willing to be “Turks”, for example, they would likely be extremely well treated.

          But they are not so willing. And to Kurds the Turks remain new kids on the block.

        • Kenneth

          In what sense, then, do they deviate from standard political models?

      • Eugene Costa

        The gist here is that you must do better than to inquire about anarchy or chaos or war in terms of a world already defined in terms of “states” or “nation states”.

        Britain, for example, is a very peculiar entity legally and otherwise, not because it is an island, but because of the Norman Conquest.

        • Kenneth

          I don’t conceptualize “chaos” in strictly legal terms. I’m simply referring to a political vacuum marked by strife and conflict.

        • Eugene Costa

          I follow what you are trying to get at to a certain extent. But you seem to define “political vacuum” strictly in terms of the lack of items defined in terms of conventional “state” authority.

          The Turks, obviously, very much want to be considered a “nation state’ on the what they perceive as the European model.

          Are they really?

          Not at all in regard to the Kurds.

        • Eugene Costa

          Approached in a different way, one might ask–what do you consider “chaos” in terms of an entity named, “the United Nations”?

          Is the United Nations also trying to define the earth in terms of recognized “nation states”.

          This is not picking over words. I have been areas where there is no idea of any “state” at all, or where what is imposed from the outside as “state” is laughed at as silly by its very nature.

        • Eugene Costa

          Merely by the way, Israel too, like the Turks, or at least some of the Israeli leadership, are masters at manipulating different ideas of “state” and “polity” and “tribe” as it suits their purposes, just as the older Neo-cons manipulated the supposed concept “Jew”, now defined religiously, now ethnically, now tribally, and so forth.

        • Kenneth

          I follow what you are trying to get at to a certain extent. But you seem to define “political vacuum” strictly in terms of the lack of items defined in terms of conventional “state” authority.

          Very much so, because the concept of a “state” is a capacious one and can potentially encompass any formal, organized structure with a wide demographic purview- really, any recognized sovereign that operates outside a tribal radius. Perhaps this isn’t applicable to many areas of the world, but where it is its disintegration marks a stark change in extant socioeconomic patterns.

          The Turks, obviously, very much want to be considered a “nation state’ on the what they perceive as the European model.

          Are they really?

          Not at all in regard to the Kurds.

          In what respect?

          Approached in a different way, one might ask–what do you consider “chaos” in terms of an entity named, “the United Nations”?

          I have defined “chaos” as a generalized state of conflict characterized by the absence of any permanent political order.

          This is not picking over words. I have been areas where there is no idea of any “state” at all, or where what is imposed from the outside as “state” is laughed at as silly by its very nature.

          Then I’ve missed something fundamental, because I find your phrasing entirely too vague.

        • Eugene Costa

          We are going around in circles.

          I don’t accept the definition of polity or state you gave above as universally applicable, namely–“all the accoutrements of government-the monopoly on force, some kind of legitimacy, bureaucracy, a standing army, etc-whether de jure (in China’s case) or de facto in Kurdistan’s case”

          Also “chaos” as “a state of conflict between Kurdistan and its neighbours” is a very broad brush indeed.

          Do you, for example, consider “territoriality” an essential aspect of “government”?

        • Eugene Costa

          Merely by the way, “territoriality” was not an essential part of the ancient Greek polis, a few of which just picked up and moved.

        • Kenneth

          In principal, states need not preside over a fixed territory, so no, it is not an necessary component of statehood. I don’t believe the conventional state to be operative at all times and in all places- I have simply said that its breakdown will impact upon those whom it regiments. I realize that “chaos” is a broad word, but since it corresponds to weak or absent authority and associated ills such as a dissolution of civil order it is still a useful analytic device.

        • Eugene Costa

          How about the reverse–is there inhabited “territory” without polity or government, and is that necessarily “chaos” if it does not have all the accouterments you credit as part of “polity”?

        • Eugene Costa

          A good example–do you define the Sami in terms of “conventional polity”, thus loosely, a “state”?

          Or are they by definition according to you Norwegians or Swedes or Finns because these territorial states claim them to be such?

        • Eugene Costa

          In short, do the Sami as Sami have “civil polity” according to your definition?

          I am not trying to engage in debate by the way–just trying to clarify terms.

        • Kenneth

          How about the reverse–is there inhabited “territory” without polity or government, and is that necessarily “chaos” if it does not have all the accouterments you credit as part of “polity”?

          Yes- Somalia is one such example.

          In short, do the Sami as Sami have “civil polity” according to your definition?

          No, because the Sami parliament is not sovereign and not a separate entity from Norway. It is a subset of the Norwegian state, part of a dual power system.

        • Eugene Costa

          I don’t agree. The Sami are not confined to Norway.

          In fact they are in some ways analogous with the Kurds, though a very different social and cultural and linguistic group.

          At any rate I consider “culture” in the anthropological sense primary, and the “state”, and many different “polities”, including those that claim territoriality, as cultural artifacts.

          I also have a very specific definition of “civilization”, which is close to your seeming definition of “polity”, but with no necessary value added upon it, save as a type of culture.

          I would add writing, for example, as a characteristic of “civilization”, though in some cases, as with the Navajo, there might be oral equivalents.

          “Culture” also manifests itself in “tribe” or “religion” or “class”, and in many other ways.

          Looking at matters in this fashion makes defining “war” or “conflict” in terms of conventional western political concepts no simple matter.

          Certain types of external warfare, for example, are clearly a consequence of the existence of a “state” in the first place. But there are also states of internal conflict and chaos masquerading as conventional polities.

        • Eugene Costa

          In fact, serveral have suggested that “China” is a good example of internal conflict and endemic chaos masquerading, through the modern era, as conventional polity.

        • Kenneth

          Perhaps they aren’t so trammeled, but the normal rules of political interaction operate with them as they do with everyone else.

          Looking at matters in this fashion makes defining “war” or “conflict” in terms of conventional western political concepts no simple matter.

          Certain types of external warfare, for example, are clearly a consequence of the existence of a “state” in the first place. But there are also states of internal conflict and chaos masquerading as conventional polities.

          Explicate. No offense, but you have a tendency to speak in generalities without listing observable phenomena of this nature.

        • Eugene Costa

          I am being general because of the venue.

          You seem to define “normal rules” in terms of your conventional polity, with which I disagree.

          And your definition of “political” seems too wide to mean much. I tend to be very specific about what I call “political” and it pertains only to a certain type of culture and polity.

          How do you define “consensus”, for example?

          I can be very specific about the second point but it will not be brief or necessarily and easily transparent. What is “China”? Who is “Chinese”?

        • Kenneth

          You seem to define “normal rules” in terms of your conventional polity, with which I disagree.

          I mean political dynamics that aren’t particular to any one culture or set of historical conditions- namely, those revolving around basic notions such as power, interest, conflict, and so forth inflected by the prevailing political climate.

          How do you define “consensus”, for example?

          A basic agreement among regnant social forces on an array of issues.

          I can be very specific about the second point but it will not be brief or necessarily and easily transparent. What is “China”? Who is “Chinese”?

          The question of culture is always a difficult one, but for analytical purposes “China” is simply the state corresponding to a particular people and expanse of territory.

        • Eugene Costa

          Your definitions are very informal and also culturally determined, indeed, probably bcause you take some ocnventional notions of polity and state as a given.

          In each case, your terms don’t glaring facts or are too wide to mean much.

          Let me take three points one by one.

          (1)”Power”: what do you mean by power? A ancient Roman looks you straight in the eye and says–imperium, potestas, or auctoritas? And that’s just one example.
          You say “law”, and he asks lex or jus? Are you talking of physical force? The right of life and death over someone? Yourself? In the group or out of it? the power of paterfamilias? Of a magistrate? It goes on–there is no such simple concept as “power” covering every culture or polity.

          (2) “Consensus”: there are several slightly differing technical uses here. One is quite specific: a kind of agreement to act in which every participant has the power to veto any agreement at all. No “votes” taken and no “majority” rule obviously, and ranging from what some have seen among Berbers in North Africa to a very specifically defined legal veto among the Romans and others.

          (3) “China”: “China” is not a state at all, even conventionally and in the modern western and territorial sense–but several at the very least, including Singapore. But the cultural aspect is wider than that. What do all who call themselves Chinese in, say, mainland “China” have in common, if anything?

          You may well think this is overprecise, but that may be because you take “state” and “conventional polity” as universal and as given, thus as useful tools of what you call “analysis”.

          I find them too conventional and general to be useful, even in defining chaos or conflict.

        • Eugene Costa

          corr:”conventional”, “don’t fit glaring facts”. Pardon these and any other typos.

        • Eugene Costa

          Not that I say you have that position, but consider some typically moronic American trying to preach “democracy’ and “majority rule” to a cultural group governed by consensus.

          It’s an interesting exercise.

        • Kenneth

          By “power” I mean the ability to effect one’s desired ends through social institutions in the face of opposition. “Consensus” has different meanings in different contexts, but this is hardly grounds for believing its content is culturally specific. These two concepts are universal, even if they are instantiated in different ways. What do you mean when you say China isn’t a “conventional” nation state? For that matter, what is meant here by “conventional nation state”?

        • Eugene Costa

          “Power” universal? With its reference in English, or do you somehow speak independently of the language you use?

          Even “to effect one’s desired ends” runs into trouble, not even to mention the concept of “ability”.

          “China” is not and has never been a “nation”, ” a nation-state”, ” a conventional polity”, or anything else along the conceptions Westerners have tried to impose upon it, including very westernized Communists like Mao.

        • Eugene Costa

          Even western terms like left and right come to grief. right now, the mainland unit is both Communist and Fascist, since the CP owns or controls all the corporations.

          There is no concept of “law” among the Chinese–in the western sense.

          The pre-Communists did have the concept of private property, but that no longer holds on the mainland under the Communists.

          This is just scratching the surface.

          The mainland looks on the surface like a conventional polity, but the surface is mostly for show.

        • Eugene Costa

          Another aspect of “China”, Taiwan, is no closer to a “nation-state” than mainland China under the Communists.

          Singapore is yet another model.

        • Eugene Costa

          Anyway–a century of “chaos” and “anarchy”? Really depends on one’s definitions.

        • Kenneth

          “Power” universal? With its reference in English, or do you somehow speak independently of the language you use?

          I don’t know what is meant by this.

          Even “to effect one’s desired ends” runs into trouble, not even to mention the concept of “ability”.

          In what way?

          There is no concept of “law” among the Chinese–in the western sense.

          The pre-Communists did have the concept of private property, but that no longer holds on the mainland under the Communists.

          This is just scratching the surface.

          The mainland looks on the surface like a conventional polity, but the surface is mostly for show.

          Surely the pre-Maoist military-bureaucratic apparatus qualifies as a “state” in the normal sense? How does it differ?

        • Eugene Costa

          No, it does not. There is no “normal sense” the way you seem to mean it.

          There was no one “military-bureaucratic apparatus” before Mao on the mainland.

          Both Mao and Chiang in some sense considered themselves heirs of Sun. Interesting question most westerners never get to the point of asking–was Sun “Cantonese” or even “Chinese” (Han) in the ordinary meaning of either?

          Neither Mao nor Chiang was operating in a world that fits your definitions.

          Of the two Mao was perhaps the more conscious westernizer, but that was quite limited, and his western “consciousness” was, how best to put it–an external and artificial construct.

        • Kenneth

          What, then, distinguishes China from western states?

        • Eugene Costa

          Which western “state”.

        • Kenneth

          The western notion of a “state”, then. For that matter, how do you define that? Your statements thus far have been rather lacking in lexigraphy, to be frank.

        • Eugene Costa

          Really? Lexigraphy?

          Also I have in effect answered some of your later questions in my earlier comments, had you been paying close attention.

          I have no inclination to debate.

          To be frank, I have said enough for anyone who wants to follow to be able to follow.

          And if you are not among them, it saves me the time it takes to explain. Your definitions are, for the most part, conventional and ethnocentric.

          If you wish to consider “China” a “state”, please be my guest. No doubt from that point of view Mao’s doctrine of continuous revolution, just for one example, will look like complete lunacy to you, as it has to so many other westerners seeking states and conventional polities that are as static in practice as they are in their own mind.

  • Eugene Costa

    I say this only half humorously–the biggest threat to the survival of the Kurds for the next millennia might well be being formed into an independent political “state”, with “state citizenship”, and having a few centuries of “peace” with their “neighbors”.

    The other way to look at it is this–does such an independent political unit have the possibility of becomong a new Switzerland?

    • Eugene Costa

      corr “becoming”. Pardon this and other typos.

  • Eugene Costa

    One of my more persistent images for the US invasion and occupation Iraq many seem to dismiss as a joke.

    It is: “American suburbs invade Mesopotamia”.

    Wry perhaps, buts no joke at all, and it was not constructed lightly.

    One must be intimately familiar with both elements, American suburbs and Mesopotamia.

    I can say with some certainty that no one in charge of the US invasion, political or military, has any idea what I am talking about.

    And that is exactly why Iraq is close to an insoluble mess, and at least partly because the American military that invaded and tried to occupy had no idea either what Mesopotamia might be, or what they themselves might be or look like to Mesopatamians.

    In fact to the locals they are looking more and more like the Mongols, but cowards who kill women and children into the bargain.

  • peace

    The interview was aired on 60 Minutes last night.

  • Eugene Costa

    corr: “don’t fit glaring facts”. Pardon this and other typos.

  • aeskylos

    I bet Huckabee thinks that Charles Darwin is a dangerous muslim terrorist in a cave along with Bin Laden and Che Guevara and that evolution is some sort of a gas or virus. Y'all.

    • Tim R.

      Yeah those dangerous Christian fundamentalists who believe in God and go to church on Sunday and put out the flag on the Fourth of July, they are really dangerous. Forget about the Muslims who cut off people’s heads, kill gay people and make women walk around with their faces covered up. It’s the Christian Fascists we have to worry about. You are so right. Why did I not see that before?

      • Kenneth

        The Christian fundamentalists are dangerous because they have the potential to destroy what remains of the American Republic and create a theocracy in a country with the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenal. The Islamists, for all their depredations, are politically impotent.

        • Eugene Costa

          I have never understood why any religious fundamentalist would care much about the flag of any secular state, including the United States’ flag, one way or another.

          Or is the United States also mentioned in “the Bible”, whatever that means.

          A pity the Constitution has no mention of “God”.

          Render unto Bushist Caesaropapism what is Bushist and Caeasaropapist.

    • Jeanie

      Huckabee think—surely my friend you zest

  • Eugene Costa

    Another element in looking ahead, five years or centuries. When you look back pay close attention to those who may have been correct about outlining some future situation.

    I am not talking about Nostradamus or the Bible Code, or anything like that, but more along the lines of Nietzsche or Spengler or DeTocqueville, and so forth.

    Sometimes it will be obvious, other times strange guesses out of nowhere, and other times part of a whole abstract context and systematic way of thinking.

    Even before the second Roosevelt there were voices warning of the Constitutional consequences of too much Federal executive power.

    Did anyone foresee the second Bush, both tyrant and moron?

    Indeed, the leading American rebels had a rather suspicious picture of human nature, including themselves, and nicely designed the Constitution exactly around what they did not want repeated easily.

    Machiavelli on mercenaries?

    Eisenhower on the “military-industrial complex”?

    Sallust on luxuria?

    A timeless logic of events in Thucydides or Herodotus?

    Xenophon and Trajan and the British in Mesopotamia?

    This just cratches the surface.

    History, by any definition, does not repeat itself.

    Patterns, by definition, usually do.

  • Eugene Costa

    Corr: “Macchiavelli”, “scratches”.

  • Eugene Costa

    On the Religious right–Madison especially.

  • peace

    Having heard the half hour interview of the US govt. agent, (I think FBI and forget his name}, tell how he had complete control over Saddam while he was imprisoned prior to his execution, making Saddam in captivity completely dependent on him, trying to take control even of his mind, etc., allows me a better understanding about why Hussein appeared so docile toward the Americans at the end and at execution.

  • Jeanie

    Mike Huckabee in any man’s language is the typica “Village Idiot,” he doesn’t know when to shut up, and you want to gag him about half the time. All my friends feel the same way. Has America gone made to vote in any way, shape or manmer for this buffoon!