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Posted August 30, 2003

"The Dean Deception"

With friends like you, who needs enemies – Dean is absolutely right – whoever wins the 2004 election inherits a big mess in Iraq! How would you solve it – Just walk away? Dean was against the war – but someone needs to clean up the mess! You just handed Karl Rove some ammunition! Thanks a lot!

~ Fran Sky, New York

Justin Raimondo replies:

You mistake me for a Democrat, Ma'am. If Karl Rove wants to borrow my ammunition, he's more than welcome. All I know is that if Howard Dean is elected President, we're in Iraq until the cows come home.

Would I just walk away? Faster than you can say "Get me outta here!" I never was in our interest to attack Iraq and, therefore, it cannot be in our interest to stay. Bring the troops home – now!

The idea that Dean has somehow intentionally misled his supporters into thinking he's a pacifist is ridiculous – none of his views have changed, they've just gotten more airplay as he's become more popular. I support Dean for a variety of reasons, none of which I'd expect Justin Raimondo to be capable of agreeing with and so I won't even try to convince him. But I've never been under the delusion that my views of foreign policy are the same as Dean's, and I haven't seen any misleading statements from him. Don't blame Dean for other people's misconceptions of him, misconceptions which he's frequently addressed. If you want to beat him up, beat him up over his ideas regarding Israel and Palestine. Beat him up for his fiscal conservatism. But to call the man a deceiver and a liar is, well, deceitful and a lie.

~ Matthew Cheney, http://www.mcheney.net/blogindex.htm, New Hampton, New Hampshire

Justin Raimondo replies:

It is deceitful to have ostensibly opposed the war, and yet turn around and advocate continuing the occupation – which means a continuation of the war, which is still ongoing. To say that the war was a "mistake," but the occupation is not is, at the very least, extremely disingenuous.

Yadda yadda yadda. Dean's never pretended he was a pacifist, so go f*ck yourself already.

You are the lying scumbag in pretending he has. How pathetic.

~ Mike Keller

Justin Raimondo replies:

We never wanted him to be a pacifist. But why does he have to be a freaking warmonger?

I sympathize with Raimondo's willingness and disillusionment at Howard Dean.

I was ready to back a serious contender to the throne who was ostensibly antiwar. I've never voted for a Democratic president, and hoped like hell Pat would get at least 5% last time. But if Dean is indeed an illusion, who are we all to vote for?

I'd gladly vote for Pat again, but is he going to be able to reach a broad majority of Democrats? Not likely. If the goal is "making a point," then perhaps Pat could garner a good amount of votes and raise some eyebrows, a la Nader. But if the goal is to remove Donald Rumsfeld (and poor Bush along with him), then who is the one person that all of us, independent, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, whatever, can all unite behind to rid the ghost of Trotsky from the halls of the White House?

There isn't one.

Is there?

Now what?

~ Josh Paige

Justin Raimondo replies:

I'm afraid I don't have a good answer for you. But then, who knew, back when Nixon won a second term, that he'd soon be forced out of office? There is no way to know the future, but I do know this: evil is always its own undoing.

I always enjoy reading your articles and share most of your views. I was against this Iraq invasion, (I don't call it a war), as much as anyone, but Dean, if he wins, is facing what any candidate is facing – the mess in Iraq. I don't know if we are actually "stuck" there but I don't think we can just walk away now from this mess. I think we should leave ASAP but there needs to be some sort of order but then that may never happen, memories of Vietnam hover.

And yes, Bush and his warmongers have created a mess for himself or anyone who might follow him. We need others to help restore order for the people in Iraq but Bush blew the diplomacy we had right off the map. No matter what we think of ANY of the candidates for presidency, Bush has created a mess for them to contend with if they win. There is no getting around it, if we pull out right away we could lose even more in the diplomacy department, if that is possible. It is a really bad situation which should never have happened but now it is here.

~ Dick Hurst

Justin Raimondo replies:

I don't agree with you that we can't just get out. Of course we can. That may not be the best thing for the Iraqi people: but it would be the best for the American people. And that is my sole concern.

Yes, that's all very well, Justin, but what would have us do-pack up and come home? Leave the mess we created for Saddam to creep out of his hidey hole, and clean up HIS way?

~ Steve Day

Justin Raimondo replies:

What happens in Iraq is not properly our concern. So, yes, we should leave – immediately – and leave Iraq to the Iraqis.

Raimondo, Wake up to Kucinich!

~ SC

Justin Raimondo replies:

Hey, he's at single digits in the polls, so it's not just me that has to wake up to him....

Ever since your heart attack, you seem to have your bitchy level set to ten – but today's column pissed me off. Is Dean perfect – no, no one is. But to froth at the mouth and declare that Dean "won't settle for anything less then Emperor" has no basis in fact. I find it interesting that the quotes you put in from the Washington Post article weren't from Dean, but rather Fred Hiatt's take on Dean. You then leap to over-the-top character assassinations and miraculous predictions from your crystal ball.

My take on the entire article is that Dean believes we can't just pack up our toys and head home. He isn't alone in this opinion, and there is a lot of historical evidence to back his position (just look at the Weimar republic or Afghanistan in the '90s.) If we withdraw and there is no authority in place, it may take decades for the country to stabilize. I have seen you argue in the past that there was no occupying army when we won our independence. This is true, but the world has changed since then. The intense hatred of us that our foreign policy has fostered won't disappear overnight. In a country with no law, that hatred can be nurtured and honed into a potent weapon.

This is why Dean says that Iraq has become a threat. Saddam was a brutal dictator, but his regime was stable. The utilities functioned, they had police and a court system, and his security apparatus prevented people from carving out fiefdoms. All of that is gone now. There is no law but US occupation – there isn't power or clean water and the natives are restless. If you take away the little security that people have along with any group trying to rebuild what the sanctions and bombs have destroyed – what will you have? A stable, self governing libertarian ideal? Hell no, you will have absolute chaos. The strong prey on the weak, warlords rise, and people become desperate just to survive. If you don't think that is a potential security issue, you should get fitted for the tinfoil hat you like to talk about.

Looking over your article again, my rage is building. Not only does the Washington Post article not support your ascertains, you have used every trick that you rail against the neocon bloggers for. You take shots at a Dean supporter (which comprises the bulk of your article) and pretend that some asshole in San Francisco speaks for Dean. What's worse, is that you try to tie Dean to Rice and Kristol by putting them in the same sentence and pretending that they are the same....

What kind of sh*t is that? Didn't you just bitch when Ilana Mercer did the same thing? Or is it different when you do it because you are arrogant enough to believe that you have "good intentions."

As for the imperial ambitions that Dean is supposed to have – I guess I'm supposed to buy that because of your out of context quote? He shouldn't have said he would impose a constitution, but further reading points to a UN role. What emperor wants to conquer a nation and give it to someone else? In actually following what Dean has said at other events, his plan seems to be to turn this mess over to the UN.

Now I know you have a knee-jerk hatred of the UN, but most people believe that it is the only route out of this mess. At this point, the Iraqis might allow the UN to come in and provide some sense of order while they get a government together. Who knows, but anything is better then what we have now. I can't believe that you think a second term for Bush would be better than giving Dean a shot. Dean isn't trying to invade Syria and Iran. Dean wants to talk with N Korea – not threaten them into a war.

I check out your column because it is an interesting read, and we agree on a lot of things.

For the most part, I have found you to be fair and I appreciate the fact that you link your source material. Today's column isn't the first time you have used underhanded tactics to attack someone you don't like, but I have let it go in the past chalking it up to sinking to your opponent's level. But in this case, there is no excuse. Dean did nothing to you and your characterization is completely wrong.

~ John Pierce

Justin Raimondo replies:

"The Americans must have the final say," says Dean. Can you imagine if Bush had said that? The quotes from Dean in the Washington Post are enough to condemn him in the eyes of any opponent of America's global empire. I find it fascinating that, when Bush, Rice, and the neocons say we can't leave Iraq, the liberal Democrat "doves" warble in protest. But when Dean says exactly the same thing – throwing in the UN for a bit of protective coloring – they are thrilled. What hypocrisy.

I thought your letter started off sensibly until you started getting screwy. Just another extremist against Dean. Hey, I am completely against the occupation of Iraq but I know you don't just say 'bring the boys and gals home' if you are running for president. Dean would not have sent them in the first place. Think about it. He needs smart people – not you, an extremist – to give him a thoughtful exit strategy for a really really stupid money making adventure by Bush.

~ John Scagliotti

Justin Raimondo replies:

So, it's "extremist" to say that we should leave Iraq, but it wasn't similarly "extremist" to oppose the war to begin with? And how, exactly, does that work? The smug complacency of the Dean people is yet another reason to oppose the Quack Doctor from Vermont. If you're against withdrawing from Iraq, then how long would you stay? At what cost, in live and tax dollars? And how is this policy different from the Bush policy of conquest and occupation?

What makes you think there is any good purpose at all in voting and in elections?

On principle, I don't believe in voting. I think it's an obscene, sick joke.

The only reason we're allowed to vote is because it doesn't make any difference. If it made a difference, we wouldn't be allowed to vote.

America is dead. We live in a police state. Haven't you noticed? What planet do you live on? Are you part of the fake opposition?

~ Phil Eversoul

Justin Raimondo replies:

I believe in voting, in taking part in the political process, and I don't believe America is a police state, at least not quite yet. If that makes me part of the "fake opposition," then so be it.

I generally agree with your perspective, but I'd say you are a bit off base regarding Howard Dean. Dean is no peacenik, nor is he a noninterventionist. Any effort to portray him as such may be the result of desperation by antiwar folks like us to project our hopes onto him.

As much as the guy is not a libertarian, I still plan to vote for him because he is the only one speaking the truth about Iraq to Bush's face, and I think the guy has a far deeper understanding of the realities of both the electoral system that he needs to win and the situation overseas.

I, like you, am not sold on all of his politics, but the fact that he's willing to stand up and call Bush a liar while all the other Dems and R's are cowering in the corner or calling for more blood, is at least a start. At this point, I'd vote for most anyone but Bush – except Hillary Clinton.

~ Paul J. Gessing

Justin Raimondo replies:

I'm with you on the Hillary Clinton part.

I think the insults you are throwing at Dean are completely unwarranted. I would have no problem with you merely arguing that Dean’s position towards Iraq is wrong, but you have no basis to use the insults that you did. Come on! You called him as a “double-talking, double-dealing, dubious Dean, a snake in the grass if ever there was one, slimier even than Bill Clinton” and you suggested that he would be worst then Bush. Regardless of whether Dean’s position towards Iraq is the correct one, his position is not a hypocritical one. To my knowledge, Dean has never claimed to be a pacifist and he has definitely not claimed to be a libertarian. He has not changed his position and therefore does not deserve the remarks you made. Just because one is not a pacifist, doesn't mean they have to automatically support every war their government comes up with and every use of military force. Dean is able to see shades of gray and believes that there are some cases that justify the use of the military and some that do not. This position is not hypocritical.

I think you misunderstand Dean because you are viewing the world through your libertarian glasses and are forgetting the fact that most people do not look at the world this way. When a libertarian wants to evaluate the rightness of an action, they look to who is performing the action. If it’s the government doing the action, then it’s an immoral action. Most people, however, Dean included, look to other factors to determine the morality of an action. Rather than just looking at who is doing the action, they look to the action itself and the consequences that will ensue from it. This explains the differing reaction to Iraq and Liberia. In one case, we have a country that poses no threat, does not want an invasion, an international community that is against an invasion, and a President that lies about the reasons for going to war. In Liberia, we have a situation where the people clearly want our intervention, where the president is even willing to step down for peacekeepers to come, where an intervention could save lives and be a lot less likely to result in deaths to our troops than Iraq. I am not even for intervention in Liberia, but I am able to recognize the moral differences in these two cases. Going into Iraq was completely immoral; going into Liberia is probably just not such a good idea. But you seem unable to see that one is a lot worse than the other.

The same applies for Dean’s argument that now we are stuck in Iraq and have to stay there. There is a huge moral difference between what Dean would do in Iraq and what Bush has already done. You really think there is no difference between a President that lies to get us into an unnecessary war and a candidate that recognizes that the war was wrong, but is afraid that if we leave Iraq, radical, fundamentalists would form a government and sponsor terrorism against the United States, so therefore does not support leaving Iraq based on that reasoning? I have friends and family from both the right and the left that opposed the Iraq War but firmly believe that we are stuck now and leaving would only make things worse. These are not evil politician people, just intelligent people who aren’t libertarians. Dean may or may not be right in arguing that we should stay in Iraq, but it doesn’t mean he is hypocritical and it definitely does not make him worse than Bush!

Your arguments against Dean resemble those of the warmongering patriots. They believe that since we are at war, we must always support the President no matter what. Everything is black and white, if you don’t support the President you’re a traitor. It doesn’t matter if you just thoughtfully question the war or you hide Saddam Hussein in your house, you’re a traitor and that’s the end of it. You’re arguments sound just as extreme as you seem unable to distinguish any shades of gray Everything the government does is always wrong. To you, staying in Iraq to help them form a functioning democracy is as equally immoral as fighting a completely unnecessary war that kills thousands of innocent civilians.

Dean wants to restore ties with the international community and bring foreign troops into Iraq, so that American troops can be pulled out and the occupation can be more palatable to the Iraqis. Is that something a true imperialist would want to do? I know you wouldn’t agree with that course of action either, but isn’t it better than what Bush is doing now, allowing American troops to die and preventing any real international assistance due to US arrogance? We know for sure that we will never get anywhere with Bush’s plan. That’s why I think it’s way too much to say that Dean is the same or worse than Bush. And to say that Bush is better because at least Bush is lying about being in Iraq a long time, while Dean is being honest about it; that’s crazy! Dean is living the in the real world. What would have happened if, immediately following the cessation of World War II, Libertarians took over the US government and withdrew all troops from Germany and Japan? The result most likely would be similar to what happened after World War I, when a battered Germany was left to restore its country on its own devices and ended up becoming Nazi Germany, which, most historians agree, was not good. There is no reason the same type of chaos wouldn't occur in Iraq.

There aren't any easy solutions to this Iraq problem and I'm not even trying to convince you that we should stay in Iraq. I just am trying to make you realize that there will be negative consequences to just leaving Iraq (there will be negative consequences no matter what we do), there are convincing arguments for both courses of action, and it's possible for good, intelligent people to disagree.

You don’t have to agree with Dean’s position, but it’s wrong to demonize him simply because he doesn’t subscribe to the libertarian mindset. Try to be a bit more open-minded. Usually your columns are much better than this one.

~ Jessica Woelke

Justin Raimondo replies:

Extreme! Extreme! Extreme! Has anyone noticed that a lot of these pro-Dean letters are pushing the same mantra? Listen, Jessica: If there is any course more extreme than spending $4 billion per month on bringing "democracy" to a region that has never known it, then I'd like to know what it is.

The essential hypocrisy of the Dean position on Iraq is obvious: the war was wrong, yet it must be prolonged. For surely the occupation will have to mean a prolonged military struggle that can only escalate.

Your views pro and con on Dean seem to be lot of verbal thinking both ways. Reality, not words, should inform our thinking. The reality of Bush is the record deficits and wars of aggression his administration brought to the USA and the world. The reality of Dean is his experience as a Governor with progressive policies, and his general lack of experience in foreign policy.

As president, Dean would almost certainly inherent Bush's Iraq mess. That is the sad reality forced on all of us by Bush and the neo-cons (Likud sympathizing warmongers in the defense policy board). The big real world problem we now face is how to repair Iraq, and keep the Bush mess from spiraling the whole Mideast into Chaos. Does anyone have any workable suggestions?

~ John Timothy, Bloomington, Indiana

Justin Raimondo replies:

I have a very workable suggestion: let's get out of Iraq and stop meddling in affairs that are none of our business.

"There is a case to be made that a Dean victory would be worse than four more years of Team Bush. The Bush crowd at least is now saying that the occupation of Iraq is going to be as short as possible."

This is the kind of silliness that got us George Bush in the first place. After three years of having your face ground in the mud you still think that Ghandi is going to return and lead us all to the promised land. The point is Dean, or Gore, or even that scumbag Lieberman wouldn't have gotten us into this war in the first place. Remember that when Bush 43, Part II fulfills one of their favorite slogans – "Men want to go to Baghdad, REAL men want to go to Teheran."

Howard is not the candidate of your dreams. OK. But don't be so hard on yourself. The US is supertanker, it doesn't turn in one election, it's nudged along by degrees, we need someone nudging it in the right direction and with the willingness to let us be one part of the voice of his conscience.

~ Geoff DeWan, Los Angeles, California

Justin Raimondo replies:

I agree that the U.S. needs to be nudged along in the right direction. But Dean would pull us in the wrong direction altogether: he is looking forward to a long occupation of Iraq, as he told the Washington Post. That's why the antiwar movement needs to actively oppose him.

Mac Ilibe: Betcha we'll never see this on Antiwar.com: "Ex-spy fingers Russians on WMD," Ion Pacepa, Washington Times.

Managing Editor Eric Garris: We certainly would run it if there is any independent verification. The new Pravda is known for printing anything and everything sent to them, including stories claiming that aliens from other planets are behind conspiracies to take over the world.

A Pravda story about an anonymous source is about as reliable as an article from the Weekly World News parody site. I can't believe that the Washington Times would run this.

MI: I guess you're too young to know who Ion Pacepa was. Read his book. He was the most highly placed intelligence official to defect back in the olden days. His book is full of tidbits about how the Romanian KGB bamboozled Carter and assorted other US officials. Unfortunately, your worldview only sees conspiracies in the present White House. Sad.

Shame on you for calling the WASHINGTON TIMES the new Pravda. You never saw the old PRAVDA evidently. Or read it in the original Russian language as I regularly did. Your comment is definitely not warranted. And you can say this after the mess at the NYTimes? Your ideology is really showing and frankly, it's a bit appalling. But then you may be a young'un so that's a possible excuse. I was a bit hotheaded in my youth as well. ...

By the way, I read everything from Antiwar.com to Newsmax and in-between so I'm no ideologue. I'm probably close to Pat Buchanan in his attitude toward the war. And I do enjoy Mr. Raimondo's spleen-splashed attacks on the neocons.

Eric Garris: ... I am not doubting that what the Pravda piece says is true, I am only doubting the veracity of an anonymous source speaking to an unreliable publication.

I never called the Washington Times the new Pravda. The Washington Times QUOTES Pravda. I said I was surprised that a reliable publication like the Washington Times would quote such an unreliable source. If you think I called Washington Times the new Pravda, you need to reread what I said.

I'm sorry, but my first impression of your site is that it's a conservative parody.

Starting with the name (left is not always antiwar), and culminating with the "about us" description (many on the Right who agree with our opposition to imperialism?), I became suspicious that the right is trying to put one over on us with this site.

Sorry if it's just me. Actually, no I'm not. I'm smart and confident enough to know not only me (I) would think the same!

~ Sean L., Canada

Eric Garris replies:

I don't understand. Are you saying that you are unaware of the anti-imperialist element of the conservative movement? Prior to Word War II, this was the dominant strain in conservative thought.

Did you read today's spotlight by Pat Buchanan? Are you unaware of the antiwar views of Mr. Buchanan, Bob Novak, GOP Congressman Ron Paul, etc.

Antiwar.com has been around since 1995, opposing wars against Iraq, Serbia, and Afghanistan. We produce complete editions 6 days a week, with updates 10-15 times a day. Pretty intense for a "parody." In my eight years of running Antiwar.com, you are the first person to accuse me of running a parody.

If you have any specific questions, please ask them.

Justin Raimondo replies:

We aren't lefties, if that's what you mean. We're libertarians. Hope that clears things up.

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