August 23, 2004


Ken Layne recently attempted to inform readers of a conversation we'd had regarding matters political.

Ken's recall of that conversation, possibly influenced by the excitement of a new stolen t-shirt, differs from mine. For example, Ken doesn't mention that for several sections of this "conversation" I was actually absent while he howled and jabbered in the darkness of his patio all by himself.

I'd get back from checking my email or phoning Sydney or, in one case, driving to the next county to pick up some car parts and find him still there, shouting at his invisible demons.

So I missed most of what he said. When I'd return, I'd just ask questions as though I'd been there all along. "What would you have done as President after September 11, Ken?" I ventured at one point. The bearded clothes-bandit wheeled around. "I wouldn’t have spent seven minutes reading to children, that's for sure!" he answered.

Ken is famous for his efficient use of time. Not a moment is wasted in the Layne household!

Slipping on some unpaid bills he'd thrown outside to soak up spilled wine, Layne spoke of a "media conspiracy" to silence the "fact" that John Kerry had an insurmountable lead in projected electoral college votes; turned out he'd earlier stumbled upon some website run by a prisoner or a drifter or a former member of his band and confused it with news.

Ken returned several times, like an unpopular girl checking the mailbox on Valentine's Day, to one theme: that we minions of Bush were fools to focus on John Kerry's Vietnam record. "You're only reminding voters that he served," Layne crowed. “You're helping Kerry get elected! You should STOP IT!"

Follow Ken's logic:

He does't want Bush re-elected; instead, he wants John Kerry to usher in a golden new era of love and prosperity. In order to achieve this, Ken advises the pro-Bush cabal to stop doing something Ken believes will deliver the result he craves.

Why would Layne urge an end to such a campaign? Because it's working.

You know, if Ken trusted his theory he'd be turning his own blog into the Wal-Mart of "John Kerry was a Vietnam faker!" sites. Every item would remind readers of Kerry's glorious record in Vietnam by highlighting the dozens of contradictions and puzzles to have emerged from Kerry's four Mekong months. Meanwhile, the Layne Gambit's collapse has caused Kerry to move from this:

If [Bush] wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: Bring it on.

To this:

A new Kerry TV ad urged the president to "denounce the smear" and 'get back to the issues" because "America deserves better."

Wha’ happen to "Bring it on"? Suddenly it's Kerry who wants to avoid any mention of Vietnam.

Layne should have a word to him.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 23, 2004 04:22 PM

The burning question in everyone's mind is...

When Ken finally passed out, was he face up or face down on the concrete?

The world wants to know. It's a Tai Ching sort of thing...

Posted by: Timothy Lang at August 23, 2004 at 04:54 PM

The question is:

Were both of you drunk?

And if not, why not?

The best political arguments always involve alcohol.

Posted by: Quentin George at August 23, 2004 at 05:18 PM

Thumbs up.

Posted by: DaveJ at August 23, 2004 at 06:15 PM

Speaking (or reading/writing) of drinking and being drunk ...

When Kerry was in or near Cambodia (whatever month he's claiming now), why were the Vietnamese celebrating Christmas? (Kerry claims he was shot at by Vietnamese who were drunk because they were celebrating Christmas.)

As far as I know, Vietnam is not, nor has it ever been, a majority Christian country. Why would they celebrate Christmas?

Perhaps it's like the 'SPOOK GOOD LUCK HAT' and you just have to take it on faith because Kerry's memory of his 'Cambodian Adventure' is so seared into his mind that it *must* have happened as he said it did.

Has there ever been a weirder presidential campaign? I half expected Jane Fonda to join Kerry and the other 60's throwbacks up on stage at the DNC.

Who would have thought that a man with 20+ years in the US Senate would make his Vietnam war years the focus of his presidential platform? I bet he, along with most Democrats, is sorry he did.

For anyone who thinks I'm a devoted Bushie: I'm not. I'm one of those people both sides usually worry about. I'm neither Dem. or Repub. I'm an Independent. I generally don't even decide who to vote for until about a month or so before the election. I voted for Gore last time. But I support Bush 100% this time. I was open to considering a Dem., but certainly not Kerry. He's the senator from my state. Don't hate the guy, but seriously he is not someone to place in the White House at this time.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 23, 2004 at 07:01 PM

Is Ken a hairy man?Or does he turn hairy when the howling begins?Very brave of you Tim to return to offer the odd comment .Best not provoke those wild American's.

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 23, 2004 at 07:05 PM


Anyway, as usual, the things Blair says are lies -- unless he is buying the wine, in which case I accept his words as God's Own Truth.

(And not that it would ever matter to those who love the Bush, but I should go ahead & say for the 159th time that I'm not a member of the Democratic Party & don't consider myself a "liberal" in the modern sense of the word and am Pro Free Trade & Pro Gun & Pro-War when it is a smart war, and etc. And, being a Capitalist, I figure it's a smart idea to fire somebody & their management team when they're doing a shit job. Why, oh why, does anyone think this admin. is doing a good job? Could someone -- not Blair, he's too drunk & obviously watching car races in his hotel room -- take a moment to explain *why* this administration should be rewarded with another term? Is there *anything* they haven't botched? I'm not even thinking about domestic nuttiness here, just the Global Stuff. Did we win some war I didn't hear about?)

Posted by: Ken Layne at August 23, 2004 at 07:51 PM


Please name Kerry’s top ten accomplishments in the last 20 years that make Kerry qualified to be President and the Commander and Chief. Also, how many people have you hired that fill up 95% of their resume with a four month job from 35 years ago?

PS: Don’t drink too much wine or you will be lost on the Mekong’s watery borders between Vietnam and the heart of darkness without a magic hat.

Posted by: perfectsense at August 23, 2004 at 08:42 PM

What kinda wine does "Short-Arms" Blair buy for you ? My guess is something mighty cheap.

Last time Tim bought drinks there was an earthquake in Newcastle ...

Posted by: Robert Blair at August 23, 2004 at 10:04 PM

perfectsense? Vietnam in the last 20 years? Well, I'm stumped...

Posted by: Quentin George at August 23, 2004 at 10:23 PM


well, he did trade up from a medicre millionairess to gazzillionairess teresa, so that's something, i reckon.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 23, 2004 at 10:52 PM

One day Mr Layne will tell us exactly what he means when he claims this administration hasn't done anything -- anything at all -- right. And then he will tell us the special magic formula for the perfect president, and tell us which president we have had in the past and actually fits that definition. One day.

We wait upon your wisdom, Mr Layne.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 23, 2004 at 11:05 PM

Ken, I'm not being asked to choose between George Bush and Captain America, I'm being asked to choose between George Bush and John Kerry.

On all the items you list (except possibly the "smart war" one), Bush is demonstrably better than Kerry. As far as smart wars go, Kerry's votiung record in the Senate indicates that he would prefer we lack the military or intelligence capacity to do much of anything, no matter how smart.

So why would I choose Kerry over Bush? This is the one question the ABBers like Layne have never been able to give me a straight answer to.

Posted by: R C Dean at August 23, 2004 at 11:16 PM

Well, Bush did free 50 million people from brutal dictators. The follow-through is lacking in direction, but it's not a total botch up.

The problem is that Kerry would quite clearly be worse, and very likely far worse. You don't sack someone from a critical position until you have someone available to fill the role. Kerry isn't it.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 23, 2004 at 11:32 PM

Ken Layne must live in some kind of idealized dream world if he insists on describing all recent foreign policy as "botched".
Reagan and Bush 41 botched the cold war! Moscow isn't exactly like Minneapolis already!
That darn FDR and his lackey Truman botched WWII! Look how they hate us in France! Even after we wasted billions on the Marshall Plan!
Lincoln botched the War of Northern Aggression! The African-Americans have had a terrible time of it the last 150 years!
History is messy, all wars have unpleasant consequences, near- and long-term. This one has only started, and a great deal has been accomplished. The perfect cannot always be the enemy of the good.

Posted by: Seppo at August 23, 2004 at 11:49 PM

``Ken returned several times, like an unpopular girl checking the mailbox on Valentine's Day, to one theme: that we minions of Bush were fools to focus on John Kerry's Vietnam record.''

Nonsense; Kerry was the one who brought up Vietnam and now won't shut up about it. If it comes around and bites him in the ass now, tough. Whining ``NOT FAIR!'' at this point is pretty disgusting at this point - especially coming from the dirty-trick specialists, the Democrats.

Posted by: Annalucia at August 24, 2004 at 12:02 AM

Completely off topic, but I wanted to offer my heartfelt condolences on the upcoming destruction of your sweet little girls' softball team by these red-hot mamas.

Posted by: Ken Summers at August 24, 2004 at 12:03 AM

Ken's right (or more accurately, will be). The swiftboaters' question raising was valid and has worked, and Kerry and his ilk have made asses of themselves over this. But, neither the vets nor Kerry have anything damning. Futher debate will just be tedious and not accomplish anything for anyone. Who ever pushes the issue hardest will lose some points.

Posted by: aaron at August 24, 2004 at 12:24 AM

andrea, please spank mr. summers for posting a link called "red-hot mamas" that has no photos.

spank him, i say! he's been most naughty

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 24, 2004 at 12:28 AM

Of course, some people have a way of puting things in perspective:

Posted by: aaron at August 24, 2004 at 12:31 AM

Tim - you're wrong in your assessment. It was more like this:



Posted by: Kathleen A at August 24, 2004 at 01:10 AM

Ken Layne — You should support Bush because HE'S "Pro Free Trade & Pro Gun & Pro-War when it is a smart war, and etc. And, being a Capitalist..." John Kerry is none of those things. Any other tough questions?

Posted by: richard mcenroe at August 24, 2004 at 01:25 AM

Seppo — So you admit Truman had no exit strategy for Europe? *g*

Posted by: richard mcenroe at August 24, 2004 at 01:33 AM
For example, Ken doesn't mention that for several sections of this "conversation" I was actually absent while he howled and jabbered in the darkness of his patio all by himself.

I'd get back from checking my email or phoning Sydney or, in one case, driving to the next county to pick up some car parts and find him still there, shouting at his invisible demons.

Well, some of the commenters on that posting adoringly referred to Layne as the "Hunter S. Thompson of the blogosphere". What you describe here is perfectly apt if he is indeed channeling HST. Fear and loathing ...

Posted by: Chuck Bearden at August 24, 2004 at 01:34 AM

Well, I don't live near Mr Summers but I could send a red-hot mama to spank him and photograph it.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 24, 2004 at 01:36 AM


I don't usually laugh out loud when I read, even when I'm reading something funny... but I howled reading this.

I'm guessing you won the argument.

Posted by: Dr Alice at August 24, 2004 at 01:51 AM

Dear Kenny Boy! MANKIND HAS NEVER RECORDED A "SMART WAR". I have, however, visited the graves of people who have fought in necessary ones. There is a difference. A profound difference. They were never led by empty suits or "winter soldiers", be it Republican or Democrat.

Posted by: YoJimbo at August 24, 2004 at 02:53 AM

i'd hit the paypal button for that, andrea

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 24, 2004 at 03:13 AM

well said, yojimbo

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 24, 2004 at 03:14 AM

Ken! The red-hot mamma is on her way! Do you prefer silken whips, real leather cat-o'-nine-tails, or bare hands? I have to fill out the order form.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 24, 2004 at 03:19 AM

That's Ken Summers I meant -- though if Mr Layne wishes to avail himself of Sassy Susies Slap-'n'-Spank Service I can cut him in for half price. Mondays are discount days!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 24, 2004 at 03:20 AM

Ken, I was astounded by the brilliance of this war before it started. Restore our reputation; free millions; get a cultural infussion (especailly since we had [maybe even currently have] a stagnant job market); aquire a strategic presence and future ally in the mideast; put the squeeze on Iran; build confindence, a strong work ethic, pride, and develop skills in young American's who weren't getting that from the private sector--these young men will come back and drive our economy as the oldfogies finally start to pass on their experience and retire. I was disappointed that Bush took the time to build the coalition and didn't go in the fall '02. I would have never have forgiven him for not following through.

Posted by: aaron at August 24, 2004 at 03:37 AM

yeah, damn aaron, i was hoping we'd get a lot of antiquities for our museums, and we didn't get anything!

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 24, 2004 at 03:39 AM

Senator I-wuz-a-war-criminal-before-i-wuz-a-war-protestor-before-i-wuz-a-war-hero Kerry can't even handle the combat conditions of a campaign without running to the arms of lawyers. Kerry is quite the brave man as long as DNC snipers take their kill shots and media surrogates cover his rear with suppression fire. But, goodgollyalmighty, when Republicans return fire and score hits, it's time for Lt. Kerry to dive behind the legal artillery.

Kerry running on his "heroism" (and now, apparently, running away from it) is like Michael Moore screaming "censorship". It would be funny, if it weren't so serious---

Posted by: c at August 24, 2004 at 04:00 AM

speaking of ken's softball babes, i'm a little concerned that the aussie's pitcher was tanya harding...

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 24, 2004 at 04:23 AM

from..."BRING IT ON!!"...

to..."MAKE IT STOP!!"... a matter of days. The SwiftVets have the S.S. Kerry bracketed and are scoring one direct hit after another. Cap'n Kerry has all the DNC's lawyers and all his Sugar Momma's money, yet he's dead in the water, and awaiting the next incoming salvo.

Speaking of whom, the normally outspoked Mrs. Kerry is keeping a low profile these days (as are, come to think of it, high-profile Democrats in general). Are they edging toward the lifeboats? Are they, like the Secret Service agent he knocked down and berated on the skislopes, reluctant to take a round for this sonorous empty-suit of a Boston Brahmin (who, btw, served in Vietnam)?


Posted by: furious_a at August 24, 2004 at 04:58 AM

I like to type "penis" over and over! Penis penis penis! 'Cos I'm a penis.

[When Management ran the comment that was here through the translator, the above is what resulted.]

Posted by: dick at August 24, 2004 at 05:16 AM

"Did we win some war I didn't hear about?"

Not yet. Give us time. The Global War on Terror (WOT) we are fighting is not going to be won in a few years. It could last as long as the Cold War, with things getting worse before they get better.

Afghanistan and Iraq are only two battles in the WOT. I think the battles are going as well as any battles in war could go (have gone). We've done some great things and we've done some stupid things. This is how we've always waged war. I see no real difference in terms of screw ups between this war and any past wars.

We are not fighting the WOT perfectly. We have never fought any war, or done anything else, perfectly. We can't. We're human beings and not robots.

Could someone else have handled things better than Pres. Bush at this point? Perhaps. He has made, what *appear* to be, some mistakes IMHO. I don't see anyone else, who is running for president, that could do any better.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 24, 2004 at 06:04 AM

Funny, my ears have been burning. Somebody talking about me?

Posted by: Ken Summers at August 24, 2004 at 06:17 AM


"perfectsense? Vietnam in the last 20 years? Well, I'm stumped..."

PS didn't say VN was in the last 20 years, he said it was 35 years ago. He just wonders what Kerry has been doing in the Senate for the past 20.

Posted by: SteveH at August 24, 2004 at 06:19 AM

But it is not about Kerry. He's a stalking horse for Hilary in 2008. If he won it would destroy her evil plans to 'take it away from you for the common good' and so on. Kerry was the worst possible candidate and deliberately so because the Dems DO NOT WANT TO WIN this time.

Wow. I think I just went mad there. Wibble wibble.

Posted by: dave t at August 24, 2004 at 07:32 AM

"Slipping on some unpaid bills he'd thrown outside to soak up spilled wine" is one of the best lines I've read this year.

Your continuing friendship with Welanye (or is it Laynch?) gives me hope that I can maintain cross-political friendships that have been strained recently.

Posted by: Thom at August 24, 2004 at 08:27 AM

"Funny, my ears have been burning. Somebody talking about me?"

Hmmmm.... (Looks around innocently.) I dunno.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 24, 2004 at 08:43 AM

"We've done some great things and we've done some stupid things. This is how we've always waged war."

Ahem.....that's the way anyone has waged war, starting back with Chief Ugga Wugga of the Cro-Magnons. Stupidity is not exclusively an American trait, although some parts of the world prefer to think otherwise.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 24, 2004 at 09:24 AM

I remember when Kerry first used "Bring it on" during the primaries. Now the other day in front of the Fire union chiefs. Now his reaction to a little criticism. "Bring it on and I'll sue/sic lawyers on you/Have John Podesta go on TV and whine. Arnold called the guys "Girliemen" Sorry ladies, but I think Kerry's reaction fits Arnold's description to a T. All Kerry has to do is release his records. Makes you think if the US is ever attacked again and Kerry is Pres, he'd protest with lawyers and resolutions. It's all plain to see, folks.

Posted by: chicago mike at August 24, 2004 at 09:37 AM

Yeah. Innocent. You and Bingley. I know your kind...

Posted by: Ken Summers at August 24, 2004 at 10:19 AM

Chris Josephson,

Get ready to swing back to the Dems in 2008 if the Republican Party nominates Governor George Pataki (R-NY). He's supposedly 'exploring' the possibility, according to the NY Post.

That guy is the John Kerry of Governors!

Ken Layne,

A couple reasons why I'm voting for Bush:

We had a recession then a US$1 trillion hit to our economy on 9/11 but Bush helped keep the car on the road and our economy is rebounding upward like a richochet bullet. It's as good now as when Clinton was running in '96. He deserves more credit than he's getting from the left or the right.

Plus, I have a homosexual crush on Don Rumsfeld and I'm not even gay! Grrrrr

Posted by: JDB at August 24, 2004 at 10:36 AM


1) No terrorist attacks in US for three years.
2) Murderous dictator (and known sponsor of terrorism trying to get his hands on the ingredients of a nuke) now on trial.
3) Iraqi people overwhelmingly positive about future.
4) Al Qaida network in tatters.
5) Suicide bombings in Israel down to lowest levels in years.
6) Ground work to hamper the development of extremist groups in countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia.
7) UN impotence, incompetence and corruption laid bare.

I'm a pessimist, I think we'll lose the war - most people don't know what we're fighting for and many of those who do don't think it's worth fighting for - but as at 24 August 2004, thanks to GWB, we're winning.

At the very least you need to be consistent about your objections to the GWB administration. In your comment you characterise this as a management problem. What is it: right strategy badly managed or wrong strategy?

If you regard Sept 11 as an act of war as I do then our only disagreement is about the theatre of war. You may say there were more important targets than Iraq – I might even agree with you – but this is like arguing about whether the landings on D-Day should have been at Normandy or in Norway.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at August 24, 2004 at 10:51 AM

Pig Head Sucker:

I agree with you about the possibility we may not win the war. The coalition leaders have taken a huge gamble in what they're doing to fight this war. It *needs* to be fought, but there's always the risk we could fail for a variety of reasons.

We're really just at the start of the West's response to a war the terrorists have been waging for years already. The West is late to wake up to this war. The terrorists have had a long time to get their people (plants), or sympathizers (useful idiots), into influential positions to hinder our efforts in waging war.

If we are defeated, it will be because we have talked ourselves into defeat. We'll defeat ourselves, with help from the terrorist plants and our own useful idiots.

Some people believe we're fighting the McWar on Terror and want everything all set and fixed up in less than a year, at least (with fries to go, as well). There are also those who live in some fantasy world and await the perfect ending with 'Happily Ever After' captioning at the end.

If we don't have a perfect ending and quite soon, there are people who will claim we have lost the war anyway. It doesn't seem to make any difference what *HAS* been achieved. It's what *HASN'T* been achieved these folks look at.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 24, 2004 at 11:54 AM

geesh, you see the word 'ken' and you just assume people are talking about you. keep your hands up and step away from the little girl's barbies, sir!

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 24, 2004 at 12:05 PM

Tim — Lemme pass on some advice I posted for Roger L. Simon...

Roger and anyone else gonna be on NYC for the convention. Ear plugs are a good idea even if you never go near the protesters, the ambient noise inside the Garden is going to be majorly loud.

If you do venture near the protesters, Sportsman's Guide has a good selection of Swedish, Russian and Israeli gas masks. Make sure you buy fresh filters and don't install them until the day you intend to use the mask.

And Roger, I'm sure an old Lefty like yer own self doesn't need advice on how to treat tear-gas exposure.

Posted by: richard mcenroe at August 24, 2004 at 02:18 PM

Dear Mr. Pig,

Two more for your list:

- Girls are going to school in Kabul.

- Mass graves in Iraq are being emptied, not created.

That may strike Mr. Layne as a total balls-up. I disagree.

As for Senator Kerry, remember that this guy has spent 19 years in the U.S. Senate - a body which, unlike your parliament, has no executive authority whatsoever. The guy's never run so much as a hot-dog stand, and he wants to be chief executive of the U.S. federal government, the largest single enterprise on the earth. One question: If Theresa is so eager to see him run our country, why won't she let him run her business?

Posted by: Brown Line at August 24, 2004 at 02:42 PM

Bob Dole is saying the things I'm thinking:

He said he was very disappointed, we'd been friends. I said John, we're still friends, but [the Swiftvets] have First Amendment rights, just as your people have First Amendment rights. Dole told Kerry, "I'm not trying to stir anything up, but I don't believe every one of these people who have talked about what happened are Republican liars.
"And very frankly, Bush is my guy, and I'm tired of people on your side calling him everything from a coward to a traitor to everything - a deserter."

Dole said he urged Kerry, "Why don't you call George Bush today and say, 'Mr. President, let's stop all this stuff about the National Guard and Vietnam - and let's talk about the issues."
Dole said Kerry responded, "I haven't spent one dime attacking President Bush."

But the Republican war hero shot back, "You don't have to. You've got all the so-called mainstream media, plus you've got and all these other groups that have spent millions and millions of dollars trying to tarnish Bush's image."

"Don't tell me you don't know what some of these people are doing," he told Kerry.

"Everybody likes quiet heroes," Dole added, saying he told Kerry, "John, everybody knows you were in Vietnam and the less you say about it, the better."

Dole said he tried to end the tense conversation cordially by telling Kerry, "I wish you good luck, up to a point."

Posted by: Quentin George at August 24, 2004 at 05:37 PM

Good news for John Kerry!

There's still a perfect job waiting for him after the election.

Posted by: EvilPundit at August 24, 2004 at 06:02 PM


Loved reading what Dole said to Kerry. I have become so *sick* of the anti-Bushies and the oft-repeated mantras (BushLied, BushHitler, BushAWOL, etc.) they have been chanting for years. Glad Dole spoke frankly to Kerry about the glaring hypocrisy Kerry is guilty of by not denouncing any of his own 'attack dog groups'.

Kerry is one of the senators from my state. He has had it rather easy in his re-election campaigns for senator. He has been challenged, but it's nothing like what he's going through now. The intensity of the opposition is new to him.

I find Kerry's reaction to the attacks very telling as to the type of president he may be. Kerry has resorted to legal threats and lawyers. I can well imagine if the US is attacked again that a President Kerry would call for the UN and the International Court to handle matters.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 24, 2004 at 08:05 PM

I am again reminded of the same tactics employed by Democrats and Labor.Howard/Bush lied,they are being total hypocrites by accusing others of tactics they employ(latham has huge credibility issues,Liverpool council,vulgar language-arse licker,skanky ho etc etc).I think Kerry and Latham believe voters in both our countries think the average voter are stupid.The similarities though keep popping up.Perhaps we should have one election and save some money.

Posted by: gubbaboy at August 24, 2004 at 09:27 PM

Ahem.....that's the way anyone has waged war, starting back with Chief Ugga Wugga of the Cro-Magnons. Stupidity is not exclusively an American trait, although some parts of the world prefer to think otherwise.

"There hasn't been a war fought this badly since Olaf the Hairy, high chief of all the Vikings, accidentally ordered 80,000 battle helmets with the horns on the inside....."
- Captain Blackadder

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at August 25, 2004 at 12:18 AM

Johnny W:

Care to provide some of the specifics to give us an idea why this is worse than any other war?

I'd like to know which war, or wars, should be used as a benchmark to measure this one against. That way, I'll understand why it's being so mismanaged.

It's very easy to sit and criticize because wars, as life, are very messy. People screw up. Mistakes are made. Opportunities are lost. I can't think of one war that exemplifies the perfection some are demanding of this one.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 25, 2004 at 12:27 AM

More bad news for Ken: the Kerry camp spokesdrones are starting to admit Kerry's first "war wound" "may" have been self-inflicted...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at August 25, 2004 at 02:21 AM

Chris and PHS,

I disagree that we'll lose this war.

At some point everyone will see the barbarians at the gate and recognize what's at stake. It's only a question of when and how many lives will be wasted in the mean time.

How many good men and women lost their lives before 9/11, before we joined the war already in progress?

Posted by: Sean at August 25, 2004 at 02:21 AM

I’ve never read anything by Ken Layne except some of his comments here at Tim’s site, & I’m too lazy to do so for the time being, but I suspect he is the kind of libertarian who believes that libertarian principles (free markets, small government, benign neglect, etc.) are threatened by the view that the world security environment is being transformed by the ongoing acceleration in the development—in power, accessibility, miniaturization, deadly combinations, etc.—of technologies adaptable for mass destruction. This view is not disproven by the fact that libertarian principles may find limits of applicability in their usual forms in such a potentially chaotic world—though some libertarians seem to irrationally think that it is thus disproven—the Pollyanna libertarians. Such a libertarian finds himself allied with those who believe in business as usual, astute diplomacy, managing the crisis, the problems can be solved or contained locally, etc., etc. But the new permanently growing problem is the global ramifications of terrorist & just plain destructionist subcultures & individuals coming into possession of the means to murder not just a few people but hundreds of thousands, even millions, & eventually billions. It’s coming down the pike right at us. The “stochastic-process” approach isn’t enough for the present ongoing destabilization of world security conditions because it is not just a “trend” to be projected, anticipated, cleverly derailed. There are bridges to be crossed, or to put it another way, swamps to be cleaned, now, while we still can do so without causing collateral mass horror. Don’t think merely quantitatively adjusting the usual measures, which uncombined with more decisive steps are just so many Kerryesque living-in-the-past gestures at doing something about security. Instead, think redrawing the map, redesigning & recalibrating the system, reforming the anti-liberty political, economic, cultural, ideological & philosophical conditions in which too many people live, etc. As Bush said, time is not on our side. We can’t wait for these things to work themselves out & improve “naturally.” Whether we live in a framework sufficiently secure against destructive forms of chaos & pandemonium for the usual libertarian approach to work is not a philosophical question but an empirical one, & one doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist in order to see that the answer is no. Time is not on our side.

Posted by: ForNow at August 25, 2004 at 02:29 AM

Chris Josephson -

I suggest World War I as the benchmark for military screwups. By that standard, Iraq and Afghanistan both win a gold star with fig leaf clusters and extra anchovies.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 25, 2004 at 03:20 AM

I agree with you, Pixy. There were a lot of mistakes (tactical and strategic) in WWI. Other wars since then had their share of screws, but I put WWI at the top of list just by the casualties.

But Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate that the military can and does learn from mistakes, and will make good use of technology, all applied to battlefield doctrine. Those aren't perfect wars, either -- the perfect war is one that never takes place. I think that we are a long way from that level of civilization.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 25, 2004 at 05:34 AM

"More bad news for Ken: the Kerry camp spokesdrones are starting to admit Kerry's first "war wound" "may" have been self-inflicted..."

Richard -- got a link to this?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 25, 2004 at 05:35 AM

Those aren't perfect wars, either -- the perfect war is one that never takes place.

like the cold war. we spent billions of dollars,eliminated the commies, and invented Tang without ever firing a shot

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at August 25, 2004 at 06:20 AM

I'm not sure I'd count Tang as an accomplishment. But otherwise, I agree with you!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 25, 2004 at 08:26 AM

Dave T: Me and you, Bubba, me and you. If the Dems wanted to win this election, they could have run Lieberman and won, I tell you, won it hands down. The Clinton machine (by the way, where are they hiding...Cambodia? Oh wait, that's right...Bill hid out during THE WAR) picked the biggest doofus they could to run so SHE could be the Saviour in '08.

Someone asked where The Wife was...she's afraid someone will ask her to disclose her financial records...won't someone please do that?, she's mum. Besides, she complained that "campaigning was beginning to get to her."

And it might be my imagination, but perhaps Mr. Dole has seen the unreleased military records of the fine Democrat from Massachusetts.

A circus...a friggin' three-ring circus over there.

Posted by: julie at August 25, 2004 at 08:35 AM


I don't think we *will* lose the war, only that it's ours to win or lose. I agree with the points you make, that is how I think also. But if you look around you'll already see people putting their heads back into the sand just like they were on Sept. 10.

To win a war you need the ability and the will. We have the ability in spades. No questions. Our soldiers and equipment can do the job and win the war.

The question is, do we have the *will* to win? I see the will slowly being eroded. If the will goes, it doesn't make a difference if the ability is there because we won't use our ability.

To many people it's obvious we have an enemy who won't go away and who wants nothing but our destruction and the ushering in of a global Caliphate. These people understand there is NOTHING we have to negotiate about because we don't have anything the other side wants, except of course the destruction of our cultures.

To other people the enemy and the enemy's goals are not so obvious. Or, if they are obvious they don't care and/or want the enemy to win. Unfortunately, into this group we must place most of our media. The media's steady drum beat of defeat, war mis-management, oil, imperialism, lies, etc. has taken a toll.

It is *not* a sure thing we will lose by giving up. However, I do see it as a possibility. If we retain the will, there is nothing that can prevent us from winning.

We need time to wage and win this war. It's not a 'McWar' that will be over soon. It's not going to be waged perfectly. If our own people give us the time and remove unrealistic expectations they have of waging a perfect 'McWar', we'll be fine.

By we and us I mean all the coalition countries and all citizens in non coalition countries who see the danger we face. I include in the we/us all faiths as well. I don't see this war as Muslims vs. everyone else. I see this war as a group of fanatical Muslims against everyone, even fellow Muslims.

If we lose the will to defend ourselves and stop fighting back, the war will not stop. It will be waged against us if we fight back or not. The war being fought against us was being fought by the other side long before 9/11.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 25, 2004 at 08:40 AM

Tim, où êtes-vous? Pourquoi n'écrivez-vous pas?

Posted by: Jean F. K. at August 25, 2004 at 08:47 AM

As a former musician, gun-toting libertarian, dedicated federalist, and huge Corvids fan, let me just say that I feel Ken's payne. It's not easy making a living out of playing guitar and singin' all night while gettin' a full load of likker unner' your belt, then bein' expected to be half conscious and coherent for your day job.

And one thing's for sure: I'd be more than happy to fire GW Bush's ass if there was someone waiting in the wings who I could take seriously. John "Cambodia for Christmas" Kerry ain't that person.

Posted by: Brant at August 25, 2004 at 10:49 AM

Jean F.K. — "Hmm. Canadian." — Hemlock Stoned and the Giant Rat of Sumatra

Posted by: Richard McEnroe at August 25, 2004 at 12:50 PM

Chris Josephson:
Uhh, okayy....maybe you havent ever seen The Black Adder (Best.British.Comedy.Ever).
The statement made above was in reference to World War 1. I was using it to highlight somebody's earlier point.
Maybe I shouldve used something more OBVIOUS

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at August 25, 2004 at 05:14 PM

Whoa Ho! Tim & I should post our mystrious conversations more often.

ForNow: I guess I'm not a libertarian, either, as they don't seem to like me any more than the Democrats or the Republicans. But I am a "stockholder" in these United States, and I do think changing management is a normal responsibility of a stockholder when management doesn't do a good job.

Brant: Thanks for the nice words. (And there will be a new Corvids' CD before Christmas.) As for the day job, I don't have one & haven't had one for a decade ... thank god. Offices are not the place for humans.

Posted by: Ken Layne at August 25, 2004 at 06:50 PM

Johnny Wishbone -- I'd like to interject that I had to Google "Black Adder" myself, not being up on British comedies (well, uh, not being up on watching TV, for that matter!); the sarcasm tags weren't clear. Chris might have the same sort of ignorance.....although he could have Googled it as well.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 26, 2004 at 04:49 AM


Is it true that you used to go busking on the Charles Bridge with Matt Welch?

Posted by: Brant at August 26, 2004 at 02:09 PM