SYNDICATED COLUMN: Khizr Khan and the Triumph of Democratic Militarism

Against the wishes of her New York Democratic constituents, Hillary Clinton voted with Senate Republicans to invade Iraq. (It was a pivotal vote. Without Democratic support, George W. Bush’s request for this war of aggression would have failed.)

Humayun Khan, 27, was an army captain who got killed during that invasion.

Eight years later, the dead soldier’s parents appeared at the 2016 Democratic National Convention — not to protest, but in order to endorse one of the politicians responsible for his death: Hillary Clinton.

Even more strangely, Clinton’s opponent Donald Trump is the one who is in political trouble – not because Trump sent Khan to war, but because Trump committed a relatively minor slight, especially compared to the numerous outrageous utterances to his name. Trump didn’t denigrate the dead Humayun Khan. Nor did he directly insult his parents. Lamely trying to score a feminist point concerning radical Islam, Trump insinuated that Mr. Khan didn’t allow Mrs. Khan to address the crowd because as a Muslim, he doesn’t respect women.

Let us stipulate that no one should impugn the courage of the war dead. (Not that anyone did here.) Let us further concede that Donald Trump is a remarkably tactless individual. Those things said, the Khan controversy is yet another spectacular example of the media distracting us with a relatively minor point in order to make a much bigger issue go away.

A week ago corporate media gatekeepers managed to transform the Democratic National Committee internal emails released by WikiLeaks from what it really was – scandalous proof that Bernie Sanders and his supporters were right when they said the Democratic leadership was biased and had rigged the primaries against them, and that the system is corrupt – into a trivial side issue over who might be responsible for hacking the DNC computers. Who cares if it was Russia? It’s the content that matters, not that it was ever seriously discussed.

Now here we go again.

Hillary’s vote for an illegal war of choice that was sold with lies, was a major contributing factor to the death of Captain Khan, thousands of his comrades, and over a million Iraqis. Iraq should be a major issue in this campaign — against her.

Instead, it’s being used by his parents and the Democratic Party to bait Donald Trump into a retro-post-9/11 “Support Our Troops” militaristic trap. Khan, you see, was “defending his country.” (How anyone can say U.S. soldiers in Iraq, part of an invasion force thousands of miles away where no one threatens the United States, are “defending” the U.S. remains a long-running linguistic mystery.)

“Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son ‘the best of America,’” Khizr Khan told the convention. Unfortunately, the moniker can’t apply to once-and-possible-future-first-daughter Chelsea Clinton, who never considered a military career before collecting $600,000 a year from NBC News for essentially a no-show job. But anyway…

“If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America,” Khizr Khan continued. The cognitive dissonance makes my head spin. Obviously, Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims is racist and disgusting. Ironically, however, it would have saved at least one life. If it was up to Donald Trump, the Khans would still be in the United Arab Emirates. Humayan would still be alive. As would any Iraqis he killed.

“Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution?” asked Khizr, who is originally from Pakistan. “I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.” A good question. While we’re at it, however, where does it say in the U.S. Constitution that the president can send troops overseas for years at a time without a formal congressional declaration of war? Where does it say that the United States can attack foreign countries that have done it no harm and have never threatened it?

As you’d expect Trump, he of little impulse control, has handled this about as poorly as possible. Asked about Khizr Khan’s remark that Trump hasn’t made any sacrifices, he idiotically attempted to compare his business dealings with the death of a son. Still, you have to grudgingly admire Trump for fighting back against a guy you are officially not allowed to say anything mean about.

It has been widely remarked, always approvingly, that this year’s Democrats have successfully appropriated images of patriotism and “optimism” – scare quotes because this is not the kind of actual optimism in which you think things are going to actually get better, but the bizarro variety in which you accept that things will really never get better so you’d might as well accept the status quo – from the Republicans. This is part of Hillary Clinton’s strategy of taking liberal Democrats for granted while trying to seduce Republicans away from Trump.

The Khan episode marks a high water mark for post-9/11 knee-jerk militarism.

Even the “liberal” party whose sitting incumbent two-term president captured the White House by running against the Iraq war demands that everyone fall to their knees in order to pay homage to the “good” Muslims — those willing to go to the Middle East to kill bad ones.

Next time you see a panel of experts discussing a foreign crisis, pay attention: does anyone argue against intervention? No. The debate is always between going in light and going in hard: bombs, or “boots on the ground.” Not getting involved is never an option. As long as this militaristic approach to the world continues, the United States will never have enough money to take care of its problems here at home, and it will always be hated around the world.

Most Americans believe the Iraq war was a mistake. Who speaks for us? No one in the media. And no one in mainstream politics.

(Ted Rall is the author of “Bernie,” a biography written with the cooperation of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. His new book, the graphic biography “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” is now available.)

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45 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Khizr Khan and the Triumph of Democratic Militarism

    • «Again I mention Rainbow Striped Drones.» indeed, a nice touch – can’t wait to see them turn up in 2017’s Pride parades !…

      Henri

  1. «: sigh :: once again, I have to fact check Ted. Hillary did not vote for the war, she voted to give Bush authority to use the threat of war as a bargaining chip.»

    : sigh :: once again, I have to fact check CrazyH. At the time the so-called «Iraq Resolution» was passed by the two houses of the US Congress on 16 October 2002. By this time it was widely known that Mr Bush’s administration intended to go to war on Iraq ; the notion that Ms Clinton was unaware of this fact and was suckered into voting for a resolution solely in order to put pressure on Iraq to allow the return of UNMOVIC inspectors after a four-year absence (something to which the Iraq government agreed on 13 November 2002) beggars belief. Ms Clinton has been a warmonger since her Goldwater girl days and was hardly led down the garden path by a wily George Walker Bush prior to the vote in 2002. She, who has never been adverse to war (as long as she herself or her family was not placed in harm’s way (over and above dodging fictive bullets at the Tuzla aeroport back in 1996) and wanted a war then (as she does now), got a war ; unfortunately the results weren’t quite what she and her fellow warmongers claimed they would be (but they were good enough – Iraq was destroyed as a regional rival to Israel)….

    Ted has in no way misrepresented Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton’s position on issues of war and peace….

    Henri

      • @CH
        Typical response of the binary-minded Democrat: If it is a challenge to my deeply held emotional belief it can only be a Republican.

        Just admit that the world is not binary, and there can exist something other than Democrats and Republicans, and all that appears alien to Democratic dogma cannot be shoehorned into a neatly ribboned box called “Republican Party”.

        The belief that there can only be two parties by some law of nature is a very conservative belief, a modern mythology.

      • To whom are you speaking? I am not a democrat.

        We are not discussing a deeply held emotional belief, but rather a piece of legislation.

        My taunt about republicans was mostly tongue-in-cheek. Whenever a rightie starts talking about the constitution, he invariably insists it means the opposite of what it says. I didn’t expand on it then, but I think you can see the parallel I’m trying to draw.

        As for the rest of your post, I fully agree, but it neither proves nor disproves my original point.

      • Sorry for posting basically the above in two places, only one intentionally.

        Then I don’t see the reason for your fixation on the text that in no way is determinative on what actually happened and who should be held responsible for it.

        Let’s talk about Libya then instead, because my issue is Hillary’s character: I don’t believe it will be rescued by some arcane turn of phrase.

        Cue Hillary Clinton’s “The Cackle” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

        Trumpian by my measure.

      • I think you took my republican taunt as an outright accusation of Republicanism. “Them’s fightin’ words.” I was unclear, and I apologize for any offense given thereby.

        Peace?

        re: Then I don’t see the reason for your fixation on the text that in no way is determinative on what actually happened and who should be held responsible for it.

        Precisely because it is in no way determinative on what actually happened and who should be held accountable. 😉 (Note smiley)

        On a larger topic: Ted sometimes exaggerates or outright misrepresents the facts – I’ve caught him more than once. It weakens his argument, provides fuel for his detractors, and calls into question his other assertions. I still worship the ground he buries righties in, I just wish he’d stick to the objective truth.

        We are in 99.4% agreement about Hillary’s character. Happy to discuss Libya; start a new thread with your comments and I will reply or not. I think we’ve beaten this one to death.

    • Gentlemen – can either of you cite a passage from that document which makes it a declaration of war?

      -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

      SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

      (a) Authorization.–The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to–
      (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
      (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council
      resolutions regarding Iraq.

      -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

      There are also passages about working with the UN Security Council, etc.

      58% of Dem Senators voted for it – approximately the same ratio of citizens who thought it was necessary at that point in time. Sure, it was weaseling; rather than declare war as per the constitution, they put it on Dumbya.

      Had he been thinking with the big head he would have asked for a real declaration of war. Had he done so, and had Madam Clinton voted for it – then Ted’s assertion would have been factual.

      Again, I am only sticking up for the facts – not defending Clinton. Had the Senate done their damn job and investigated Bush’s claims, we would never have invaded Iraq.

      • Nowhere does it say “regime change” or “blow the shit out of the country” only “as necessary and appropriate.” A few troops accompanying the inspectors may have been appropriate. However, since Saddam capitulated soon thereafter, they would not have been necessary.

      • Shameful weasel words, CH.

        Hillary trusted Bush’s intention to bluff? That makes her either an idiot or a liar, both disqualifications for the office.

        And who in the Senate would have investigated but the Democrats?

        The Democrats who allowed too-numerous for me to count “virtual filibusters” where only the word filibuster need be uttered?

        Who could forget the fund raising by John Conyers promising the impeachment of George Bush after attaining a majority in the House? And how war monger Pelosi, after this attainment declared impeachment of the table? And then the vilification of Cindy Sheehan for daring to effect a change in the system that murdered her son, the same sorrow that Khizr Khan now deals with from a positions of ignorance so common to Democrats, but so much more worthy of respect when the sorrow strikes out in their favor, unlike with Sheehan, who struck out in opposition to the Democratic Party.

        The Chilcot inquiry leaves no doubt that the war was pushed by a conspiracy between Bush and Blair, something most Democrats are still in denial of.

      • Okay, Hillary is either a liar or an idiot. (Not that these are mutually exclusive) Bush and Blair conspired – agreed. The country as a whole decided to ignore blatant war crimes, no question there.

        But the topic on which I was challenged was the content of the resolution which she undeniably voted for.

      • «Again, I am only sticking up for the facts – not defending Clinton.» But CrazyH, given your interest in the facts, you must surely know that the last time the US Congress carried out its constitutional duty and declared war was on 5 June 1942, when war was declared on Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania….

        Such resolutions are specifically designed to allow the US government to go to war without the constitutional requirement being upfilled ; witness the language of the infamous Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 10 August 1964 :

        «Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.
        SEC. 2. The United States regards as vital to its national interest and to world peace the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia. Consonant with the Constitution of the United States and the Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with its obligations under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the United States is, therefore, prepared, as the President determines, to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.
        SEC. 3. This resolution shall expire when the President shall determine that the peace and security of the area is reasonably assured by international conditions created by action of the United Nations or otherwise, except that it may be terminated earlier by concurrent resolution of the Congress»

        Do you wish to suggest that any of those who voted for this resolution (or the three members of the US Congress who did not), which, just like its counterpart 38 years later, was not an explicit declaration of war (the very point of the exercise), was in any doubt that it meant that Lyndon Baines Johnson was going to vastly widen the war in Indochina ? My own impression – and I was around at the time – was that all who participated in this congressional evasion of responsibility knew very well what they were «authorising» (a verb which nowhere appears in Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution) the Executive to do (although I do doubt that many were prescient enough to realise that the dénouement some 11 years later, would be those photos of helicopters fleeing from the roof of the US embassy in Saigon)….

        Ms Clinton voted for war on 16 October 2002. It is absurd to deny this historical fact ; just as it would be absurd to deny the fact that the Independent Representative for Vermont, one Bernard Sanders, voted against it. Those who claim that while Mr Sanders would be better that Ms Clinton on domestic policy, but equally hawkish on foreign policy, would be wise to consider this fact….

        Henri

      • “Ms Clinton voted for war on 16 October 2002”

        TL;DR – which of those many, many words are the citation requested above?

      • Give it up, CH.

        I know you know better than to rely on the technical wording in contradistinction to the zeitgeist.

        “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

      • «“Ms Clinton voted for war on 16 October 2002”

        TL;DR – which of those many, many words are the citation requested above?»

        CrazyH, now alas, you’re descending to the level of intellectual dishonesty one would rather expect of a «Jack Heart». Nowhere in those nine words of mine you choose to cite above – surely not too many for your attention span ? – did I state that the so-called Iraq Resolution declared war (the citation that you pretend to desire) ; quite the contrary, I demonstrated at length (which may indeed have been too taxing for your attention span) that such «resolutions» are specifically designed to allow the US Congress to evade its constitutional responsibility to declare war when the United States decides to go to war. You seem to be claiming that on 16 October 2002 , Ms Clinton had no idea that the result of that resolution would be that the US would go to war on Iraq, but rather that she saw it as means to put pressure on Iraq to allow the UNMOVIC inspectors to return to the country. Since as I pointed out above, they did so on 13 November 2002, less than a month after this infamous resolution was passed, why then, if Ms Clinton voted for it not so that Messrs Bush and Cheny et al would have their arses covered when they went to war, but rather just to get the inspectors back and defuse the situation, did she not – tough and courageous women as she is said to be – get up on the floor of the US Senate and make a big stink by stating the resolution was being misused ? Or perhaps she did and I just happened to miss it ?…

        Allow me to modify the brief statement I made above by making it more specific : Ms Clinton, with knowledge aforethought, voted for war on 16 October 2002. If you can find anything in her record which would allow you to defend a different interpretation of her action, please don’t hesitate to present it for our elucidation and/or entertainment….

        Henri

      • Guys, guys, You leave me no choice but to use the worst insult in my vocabulary. “You sound like Republicans”

        Glenn: It’s interesting that you would quote Humpty Dumpty when you are insisting that the words mean what you want them to mean, rather than what they say.

        Henri: Jack Heart? Intellectual dishonesty? Seriously? Might I recommend to you the same reading comprehension course I’ve often recommended to Jack?

        Here is the resolution. Read it. Find the citation I’ve repeatedly asked for. Put it in your reply. It’s just that easy. If you cannot, then I win the point by forfeit.

        Since you seem interested in what happened afterwards, you should be aware that when Bush invaded Iraq, he cited the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which authorized military force against those involved in 9/11. THAT was voted into law before Hillary was even in the Senate.

        Declare victory hand go home if you like, type out a few thousand irrelevant words if such is your desire, but as it stands right now, the score is CH: 2, Other Guys: 0.

      • Sorry, posted in the wrong place.

        @CH

        I do recognize you as a Democrat, not as a Republican, but as a conservative Democrat “moving to the right, to the right, ever to the right.” (from a funny song from the musical play “1776”.)

        Typical response of the binary-minded conservative Democrat: If an idea encountered is a challenge to my deeply held emotional belief it can only be a Republican idea.

        The belief that there can only be two parties by some law of nature is a very conservative belief, a modern mythology.

        Just admit that the world is not binary, and there can exist something other than Democrats and Republicans, and all that appears alien to dearly held Democratic Party dogma cannot be shoehorned into a neatly ribboned box called “Republican Party”.

      • «Henri: Jack Heart? Intellectual dishonesty? Seriously? Might I recommend to you the same reading comprehension course I’ve often recommended to Jack?»

        I fear, CrazyH, that it is your esteemed self who requires the course in reading comprehension. Allow me to cite the same passage from the so-called Iraq Resolution of 16 October 2002 that you cited above :

        «SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

        (a) Authorization.–The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to–
        (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
        (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.»

        Please note the phrase as he [i e, then US president George Walker Bush] determines. The resolution thus did not limit the manner in which the US military could be used and in particular did not exclude their use to wage war on Iraq even if the Iraqi government were to allow UNMOVIC inspector to return to the country, which, as I pointed out above, occurred on 13 November 2002, and which, you implied, was behind Ms Clinton’s support for the resolution – «she [i e, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton] voted to give Bush authority to use the threat of war as a bargaining chip». You have not – and cannot, for no such exists – point to any statement by Ms Clinton indicating that she viewed the authorisation given by the US Congress to the Executive as limited to forcing the Iraqi government to accepting the return of the inspectors….

        «Declare victory hand [sic !] go home if you like, type out a few thousand irrelevant words if such is your desire, but as it stands right now, the score is CH: 2, Other Guys: 0.»

        I fear, CrazyH, that your «score keeping» (sad that you regard our discussions on this forum in those terms, but there you are) is as specious as your reading comprehension is lacking ; it is you who have made claims about what Ms Clinton voted to authorise Mr Bush to do which cannot be substantiated. On the other hand, if as Michael points out, in so-called «American English», «war» only means war when it has been declared (rather than authorised) by the US Congress in accordance with the Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, and thus Ms Clinton did not vote for war on Iraq, but rather for a «military action», which only unlettered foreigners like myself are unable to distinguish from «war», be it in Korea, Indochina, Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere, then I owe you an apology for my linguistic inadequacies and my propensity to support them by citing sources in some detail….

        Henri

      • Yes, this is a debate – we disagree and are trying to prove our points. There’s nothing sad about that whatsoever. What is sad is that you decided to drag insults into what was an intellectual debate.

        “Bush may decide” is an altogether different thing than “wage war” That should be obvious on its face.

        “As necessary and appropriate” is likewise an altogether different thing than “wage war.” If anything, it rules out war – as it was neither necessary nor appropriate.

        If we score this as a formal debate, you lose. (Not that I expect you to acknowledge it)

        RESOLVED: Hillary voted for the war.

        Pro:
        1) Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
        2) Humpty Dumpty’s musings on semantics.

        Con:
        1) The resolution is not a declaration of war.
        2) Bush used a different resolution as an excuse for war.

        Q.E.D.

      • «Pro:
        1) Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
        2) Humpty Dumpty’s musings on semantics.

        Con:
        1) The resolution is not a declaration of war.
        2) Bush used a different resolution as an excuse for war.»

        I fear, CrazyH, that in your desire to win what you regard as a «debate», you are simply being dishonest. The whole point of the so-called «Iraq Resolution» of 16 October 2002, as I have pointed out to you several times, was that while it wasn’t a Declaration of War – an action which the US Congress has been loathe to employ during the whole post-WW II period, despite its constitutional responsibilities and the fact that the US has almost continually been at war during this period – it did «authorise» (or claimed to do so) Mr Bush to go to war. That you despite this attempt to use the fact that the resolution, for which Ms Clinton, as noted, voted (and for which Mr Sanders did not) was not a declaration of war as if it supported your argument simply shows how far you are willing to go in distorting the truth of the matter….

        That, contrary to what you claim above, Mr Bush did use the so-called Iraq Resolution as the legal justification for his initiating a war on Iraq is evident from his so-called «ultimatum speech» delivered a few days before the attack on that country commenced on 20 March 2003, the full text of which is available here ; I confine myself to citing the two paragraphs relevant to our discussion :

        «The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as Commander-in-Chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.

        Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq. America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations. One reason the UN was founded after the second world war was to confront aggressive dictators, actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.»

        Misinterpreting Latin phrases, whether due to ignorance or meretriciousness (or both) will not help you here ; no one is claiming that because the US attack on Iraq occurred some five months after Ms Clinton’s vote to «authorise» it or (any other action the then president would see fit to take), it was caused by that vote- Ms Clinton was a bit player and even had she voted against the «authorisation» it still would have been passed by the Congress. The proposition to be defended or rejected here was whether Ms Clinton knew – as far as anyone can reasonable be said to know the future – that this «authorisation» would be used to justify a military attack on Iraq ; Glenn and I (and Michael, as well, if I understand him aright) hold this to be the case, while you seem to disagree….

        What evidence can be brought to bear on this question ? None of us – certainly not myself ! – was, I suspect, privy to Ms Clinton’s thoughts on 16 October 2002, nor do we, as far as I know, have any transcripts, emails, or pages from her Miss Kitty diary from that date. Thus, as we lack direct evidence, we shall have to satisfy ourselves with indirect evidence. Had Ms Clinton felt that the «authorisation» for which she had voted on 16 October 2002 was being misused by Mr Bush, she had ample opportunity to publicly say so during the five months between the resolution’s being passed and the commencement of the attack on Baghdad. I know of of no such statements on Ms Clinton’s part, but if you do and can produce evidence for them, then I should be more than happy to declare you the winner and all-time champion of this «debate»….

        Otherwise not….

        Henri

      • > What evidence can be brought to bear on this question ?

        The.
        Text.
        Of.
        The.
        Resolution.

        As you seem unable to comprehend plain English, there is no reason to continue this conversation.

      • «What is sad is that you decided to drag insults into what was an intellectual debate.»

        «As you seem unable to comprehend plain English, there is no reason to continue this conversation.»

        I believe that in football – the kind that’s played around the world – the goal you’ve just scored, CrazyH, is termed an «own goal»….

        Congratulations !… 😉

        Henri

      • Well, at least that’s a different conversation.

        And it would be a stunning coup de grâce if it were not for one, tiny, little detail. i.e. You chose to make the first ad hominem attack. (also the largest number)

        … but at least we can agree that an ‘own goal’ was, indeed, scored here today.

      • «… but at least we can agree that an ‘own goal’ was, indeed, scored here today.» Indeed. And if you keep trying, CrazyH, you might someday be able to shoot the ball into your opponent’s (that seems to be how you view anyone who corrects your errors) goal, rather than your own….

        Good luck !

        Henri

      • :: Kindergarten teacher voice ::

        Henri? Honey? When you insult the other boys and girls, they are going to insult you back. I know it doesn’t seem fair, but that’s just the way the world works.

        Whining about it afterwards is just plain silly.

      • «:: Kindergarten teacher voice :: Henri? Honey? When you insult the other boys and girls, they are going to insult you back. I know it doesn’t seem fair, but that’s just the way the world works.» Most kindergarten teachers I’ve known, CrazyH, have operated at a rather higher level, both emotionally and intellectually, than you have on this thread. The whinging, as anyone who takes the trouble to read through the discussion here will readily discover, is entirely on your side. Since you can’t accept the obvious fact that Ted was quite correct in his analysis that Ms Clinton’s vote for the so-called «Iraq Resolution» of 16 October 2002 was a vote for war and that your attempt to disagree is ill-founded, you must needs attack anyone who takes you to task on the matter….

        My impression, after decades of service as a psychiatrist, is that in most cases, our personalities are set by about the age of three. I don’t find it difficult to imagine you in kindergarten…. 😉

        Henri

      • debate (v.) (13c., Modern French débattre), originally “to fight,” from de- “down, completely” (see de-) + batre “to beat” (see battery).

        Debate comes from words meaning a “beat down” and eventually becomes more fully what it comes from.

        Debate becomes a mutual ad hominem beat down. Debate doesn’t reveal truth as much as the tenacity with which an opinion is held. A thing is not truer because its supporters shout more persistently and more loudly.

        Heidegger, speaking of language said, language speaks to language and what it unconceals is truth.

        “in the US of A, it’s NOT a war unless Congress says it is, because the US is the Greatest Nation in the Universe, and the US Constitution clearly states that it cannot be a war unless the US Congress SAYS it’s a war,” as michaelwme posted here.

        Clearly, war existed long before the language that names it “war”. We can name a phenomenon, such as what is described in some quarters as “terrorism”, differently depending on where it occurs and who performs it, but its essence is independent of language.

        If war is only that which is named “war” by authorities who exercise the monopoly on violence, then opposition to using the word “war” to describe mass murder will be beat down in debate, but we will still have to mourn the millions killed, though not by “war”, but by peace.

      • Glenn – while that may be the etymology, it isn’t really the current meaning.

        A debate is a logical discussion wherein two or more parties attempt to prove their position by logical means. The rules are well defined, as are the rules of formal logic.

        An argument is when polite discourse breaks down and people start insulting each other, making threats, etc.

        I, myself strive to be polite with those who are polite with me. I long ago gave up on trying to be polite with those who are rude to me.

        But on to the original subject (not addressing Henri, here)

        Consider this analogy. Say you hand me your pistol with the explicit understanding that it will only be used for self defense. I then go on a rampage at the local mall and kill several people. Are you guilty of murder?

        I say no. You may be guilty of criminal negligence, you may be guilty of something between aiding and abetting – but as you, yourself, did not pull the trigger, you are not guilty of murder

      • @Henri – I posted a link above to the post in which I believe the first insult was thrown. Since the entire discussion is indelibly written on the site, it should very easy to back up your assertion that “he hit me first”

        Find a prior post in which I insulted you, and your point shall be proven. Please not that simply disagreeing is not an insult. As a psychiatrist, you must be aware that some people take umbrage where none is meant. You also know that the only person who can change that behavior is the one who considers himself the wounded party.

      • « it should very easy to back up your assertion that “he hit me first”» Now you’re back in Kindergarten again, CrazyH ; nowhere did I use that type of juvenile argumentation, which rather seems to be your own specialty. What I did say was the following :

        «CrazyH, now alas, you’re descending to the level of intellectual dishonesty one would rather expect of a «Jack Heart» – that in response to your »,

        which was in turn was your somewhat less than intelligent response to my pointing out that such resolutions as that of 16 October 2002 are created specifically to allow the Executive to go to war without the US Congress actually declaring war in accordance with the provisions of Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution….

        Alas, rather than admitting that you had missed the point, you continued – and continue – to demonstrate that you are willing to use the tactics employed by the person referred to above, i e, distorting others’ comments, putting words in their mouths, and deliberately failing to understand what they have said….

        I have previously noted that I found this sad, as your preoccupation with winning points in a notional «debate» which exists only in your own mind, renders you less interesting as an interlocutor. But so can it go, dans le meilleur des mondes possibles….

        Henri

      • So – after insisting multiple times that I insulted you first, you finally admit that you threw the first stone.

        Which is more childish – pointing out an easily verifiable fact, or repeatedly insisting that the facts are the opposite of what they are?

        We are both arguing the same argument, yet you suggest that it is childish when I do so. I think that’s called ‘projection’ but I will defer to the professional on that.

        Presenting a disagreement as a formal debate keeps it clear exactly what we’re trying to prove, and precisely where our disagreement lies.. You claim to be ‘trained in logic’ how is it you don’t understand how a debate works?

        Are you familiar with syllogisms?

        All trees are green
        Socrates is a tree
        Therefore Socrates is green

        If I can prove that all trees are green and that Socrates is a tree, then the conclusion is inescapable. I have succeeded in my proof.

        If you want to disprove it, you must either show a flaw in my reasoning (a “fallacy”) or that either of my premises (“points”) are incorrect. That’s it. If you cannot achieve either of those goals, then you have failed in your disproof.

        Win/lose succeed/fail prove/disprove – the labels are irrelevant. You obviously have some goal in repeatedly insisting that I am incorrect – if you don’t like my labels feel free to substitute your own.

        Should you choose to dispute something I post, I expect you to back it up with facts and logic, rather than fallacies and insults. If you choose to make it a flame war, I can accommodate you – but that neither proves nor disproves my original point.

        It’s obviously important for you to have the last word. Do so, I’m done.

      • «So – after insisting multiple times that I insulted you first, you finally admit that you threw the first stone.» I fear you’ve become a simple liar, CrazyH – please point to any post of mine in which I «insist[ed] that you insulted me first. As I wrote above, in one of my posts I responded to your statement to the effect that :

        «“Ms Clinton voted for war on 16 October 2002”

        TL;DR – which of those many, many words are the citation requested above?» – which itself was a response to my pointing out that Congressional resolutions like that of 16 October 2002 are specifically designed to allow the US Congress to avoid its constitutional responsibilities to declare war by «authorising» the Executive (nota bene :the US Constitution says nothing about the Congress «authorising» the Executive to go to war ; according to that document it is the Congress that is to take the momentous decisions on war and peace) – by pointing out that, by ignoring the point I had made as to for what purposes such resolutions are crafted,

        «CrazyH, now alas, you’re descending to the level of intellectual dishonesty one would rather expect of a «Jack Heart»….

        I understand why a person of your nature would rather discuss who «insulted» whom first – your «sighing» and «fact-checking» on Ted, when he was right about the meaning and consequences of the so-called «Iraq Resolution» and you wrong might, if one were interested in insults be considered the first shot – but your attachment to this sort of «he said it first» is hardly conducive to a meaningful discussion. Rather, the issue is and should be whether Ms Clinton knew that the «authorisation» given by the US congress to Mr Bush would be used to take the country to war ; Ted’s claim, with which I agreed, was that she did ; you disagreed. Since none of us have any direct knowledge of the workings of Ms Clinton’s mind on 16 October 2006, it is indeed possible to argue both sides of the question. However, considering among other things how the US Congress has used such «resolutions» since WW II, Ms Clinton’s well-known views on the politics of Southwest Asia, and, not least, that when it became evident to all that Mr Bush was using the «Iraq Resolution» as a legal basis for taking the country to war without a declaration of war on the part of the Congress. Ms Clinton did not stand up on the floor of the Senate and declare that the resolution was being misused and that she had only voted for it in order to put pressure on the Iraqi government to allow the UNMOVIC inspectors to return, which, indeed had occurred on 13 November and that therefore no need to continue to threaten that country with war existed, the evidence available to us would seem to suggest that she was quite happy for the resolution to be used as Mr Bush used it. Ted Rall 1, CrazyH 0….

        If you wish to continue whinging to the Kindergarten teacher that the other boys – in particular your humble interlocutor – are nasty to you and that it’s all their fault, please do so. Rest assured that I am always ready to respond….

        Henri

    • CrazyH is absolutely right. The Congress has not allowed the US to go to war since 1945. Korea? Military action, NOT a war. Vietnam? Military action, NOT a war. Granada and Panama? Military actions, NOT wars. Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya? Military actions, NOT wars.

      The US can only be involved in a war if Congress says so, that’s in the Constitution that Mr Khan held up. If Congress says it’s not war but only a military action where the president can use any and all military resources to protect the US, then it’s not a war under the US Constitution.

      When Congress authorises President Clinton to liberate Russia and Syria from their evil dictators using any and all military resources she needs, if they do not call it a war, it will NOT be a war, just a military action, one that, in the case of Russia, will probably require some of the new, small nuclear devices Obama developed for President Clinton to use to overthrow the evil dictators or Russia, North Korea, and China. She should be able to liberate Syria and Iran with conventional weapons.

      But if Congress doesn’t call it a war, it won’t be a war.

      • … and if it’s not a war, then it’s not a War Crime. It’s a Crime Against Humanity. (I think that makes the difference between a firing squad and a noose.)

      • I forgot to mention that, outside the US of A, in the world of savages who cannot speak proper (American) English, sending your military to shoot and bomb another nation is called ‘waging war’ on the nation whose citizens are being shot and bombed, but in the US of A, it’s NOT a war unless Congress says it is, because the US is the Greatest Nation in the Universe, and the US Constitution clearly states that it cannot be a war unless the US Congress SAYS it’s a war.

        So, in the US, CrazyH is absolutely right.

        If one is in some other country where they do NOT speak proper English, one might erroneously say that Senator Clinton voted for the Iraq War. But that’s completely wrong according to the sacred text of the US Constitution, which supersedes all other references.

    • Michael Scheuer makes many interesting points. I read his “Osama bin Laden” book and found much of value in it.

      I like many of the attacks Trump makes on the Democratic Party. The party has many vulnerabilities that Sanders exposed. I hope that Trump will find ways to exploit these.

      My position in the upcoming election is analogous to FDR’s position in WWII with respect to Germany and the Soviet Union as follows:

      Let Trump and Hillary beat the hell out of each other and after they both thoroughly discredit each other, have third parties establish political bases from which to confront both R and D fascists.

      The people of America can certainly do better than to buy into the slop falling from the tables of America’s decadent elite.

      • « My position in the upcoming election is analogous to FDR’s position in WWII with respect to Germany and the Soviet Union as follows: Let Trump and Hillary beat the hell out of each other and after they both thoroughly discredit each other, have third parties establish political bases from which to confront both R and D fascists.» Another, perhaps more accurate analogy was the position adopted by Arthur Neville Chamberlain and Édouard Deladier with respect to Maxim Maximovich Litvinov’s call for Britain and France to united with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany ; they rejected it and instead made a certain agreement with Herr Hitler’s regime at München in the wee hours of 30 September 1938, which was designed to ensure that Germany would attack the Soviet Union first, after which Britain and France could intervene and pick up the pieces at their leisure. We all (?) know how that worked out….

        Of course, as you indicate, a glance at the development of die Ostfront between 1 August 1943 and 31 December 1944 suffices to show that the British and the French governments were not the only ones that played the waiting game – as we know, D-Day didn’t take place until 6 June 1944….

        Henri

      • Trump has said he will work with Putin and Assad to eradicate the Daesh (ISIS in English). This is, of course, the only reasonable action. Sorry, this is a treasonous proposal, worse than Chamberlain at Munich, allowing the two most evil persons on earth to be allies of the purest country in the Universe, the US of A.

        Trump also threatened to nuke the Daesh, to kill all of them, including women and children, and to torture all captives in ways that make Bush, jr’s methods look tame. Trump is a complete nutcase. But I think his real foreign policy (ally with Putin and Assad) is spot on.

        Secretary Clinton has promised, as soon as she takes office, to remove the evil Syrian regime the exact same way she removed the evil Libyan regime, and, since the evil Syrian regime created the Daesh as an excuse to murder 300,000 innocent, unarmed, peaceful, protesters, as soon as she removes the evil Syrian regime, the Daesh will cease to exist (it will be the legitimate government of Syria, so its executions on YouTube will be in full accord with the law).

        But the evil dictator Putin has said he will not allow ANYONE to remove the legitimate government of Syria, so President Clinton will also have to liberate Russia. Which, she promises, will be done at a very low cost in money and US lives. Russia will be an easy pushover when the tough President Clinton is in control!

  2. I would take Khizr Khan’s speech at the DNC more seriously if he had also taken the courageous stance of calling out Hillary Clinton in the manner of Cindy Sheehan. Hillary’s decision for the Iraqi invasion is more in the direct cause-and-effect line of his son’s death than any by Trump.

    To chastise one party more than the other when both are to blame is merely a political rhetorical act lacking nobility.

    I recognize that such speech would have left Khan without any political ally at all, and would have required more bravery; but with that recognition of Hillary’s contribution to his son’s death the ugliness of the Democratic Party Convention’s reaction would have been revealed as no less repugnant than Trump’s.

    Khizr Khan’s soundbite makes for good free political advertising, following the lead of Trump himself, but I don’t believe he has read the Constitution, or if he has read it he didn’t understand it.

    That should not trouble him overly much; Obama taught constitutional law and a generation of his students will not understand that only Congress can declare war.

    I once applied to Berkeley to take John Yoo’s teaching position. I summed up my resume with “I can do anything better than Yoo can.” But then who couldn’t, so that doesn’t provide me with any noteworthy distinction.

    • The conditions that produced and enabled Trump are the Democratic Party policies in its fake posture as an opposition party of working people.

      To quote from “The Big Short”, which the Clintons played no small part in bringing about:”Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry.”

      The Democratic Party is bully enough to shut me and my chosen candidates down; and I don’t like Trump, but I really like it when I see him kicking some lying elitist Democratic Party ass.

      I want to see if Democrats have it in them to stop being weasels.

    • «I summed up my resume with “I can do anything better than Yoo can.” But then who couldn’t, so that doesn’t provide me with any noteworthy distinction.» Don’t believe a word of it, Glenn ; to trash both the Geneva Conventions and Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution in the manner that John Choon Yoo did requires a combination of obsequiousness and incompetence which, will perhaps not unique to him, is fortunately not common even among the lawyerly profession….

      Where was Dick the Butcher when we needed him ?!!…

      Henri

  3. :: sigh :: once again, I have to fact check Ted. Hillary did not vote for the war, she voted to give Bush authority to use the threat of war as a bargaining chip. That is how it was sold both to congress and the the American People. And it worked – Saddam finally gave free reign to the inspectors.

    Congress and The People were being fed a pack of lies, and the majority of The People at the time thought that invading Iraq was a necessary thing. Someone voting for that resolution was merely representing the zeitgeist (that’s their job: to represent) If there was a popular vote to nuke Mecca on September 12, 2001 – what do you suppose the result would have been? Hell, I might have voted for it the way I was feeling on that day, but just a few short months later I was protesting the Afghanistan war and I marched against the Iraq war as well.

    Don’t get me wrong – I don’t like Hillary, and I can respect Bernie’s ‘no’ vote a heckuva lot more. I just don’t like misrepresentations creeping into political discussions, even when they help my side. Next up: Bill didn’t commit perjury, even though it is often misrepresented that way by pundits I usually agree with.

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