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November 8, 2007

Stealth Candidate Giuliani
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 10:52 AM * 70 comments

Last Friday, presidential wannbe Rudy Giuliani made a trip to the Colebrook region. One of his stops was at The Balsams, not twelve miles from where I’m sitting right now. But I didn’t go to see him. Why not? Because his staff didn’t bother to let anyone know.

This is part of the editorial (by Karen Ladd) The News and Sentinel ran yesterday:


We have come to expect the presidential hopefuls and their campaign teams to be completely out of touch with life here in Rural America, so it was no surprise when history repeated itself last week: we learned on Wednesday that a major candidate would be in the area on Friday. Sigh.

It would have been nice to let readers know about it in last Wednesday’s issue, but we little weekly papers are not on these folks’ radar. In fact, if there’s a significant step below being on someone’s radar, that’s where we are. Now, we do get lots and lots of communiqués from these campaigns, just not anything of real use.

The only information about which we really give a rat’s patoot is whether the candidate himself—not his kids, or his cousin, or his dog—is actually planning to set foot on Upper Coös soil. In the meantime, we have to shuffle through e-mail after e-mail about Candidate A’s statements on illegal rodent immigration, or that the New England Association of Professional Hog Hoof Trimmers has heartily endorsed Candidate B.

Rudy’s had problems like this before, for example when he snubbed the farmer family because they didn’t make enough money.

Who’s he campaigning to?

Comments on Stealth Candidate Giuliani:
#1 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:19 AM:

The media, obviously.

#2 ::: GiacomoL ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:29 AM:

+1 Fragano

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:31 AM:

When is Rudy making a stop in Hooterville?

#4 ::: JulieB ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:32 AM:

At least you can get candidates to show up in your neck of the woods. Down here in Texas we hold our primary election in March. By that time selection of the nominees for each party is pretty much a done deal. The candidates generally don't bother to hit Texas, unless it's in support of a Congressional candidate in a hotly contested district.

Gee, perhaps with things heating up it's time to offer up my annual political leanings post over at my own blog. I'll do that if I get through some rewrites.

#5 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:35 AM:

They never seem to visit Puerto Rico.

Oh, wait.

#6 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:37 AM:

If he's campaigning to the media he's doing a bad job of it. Letting the media know he's campaigning should be high on his priority list if that's his plan.

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:49 AM:

Jim Macdonald #6: Who's running his campaign?

#8 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:10 PM:

JulieB, same here in NC. We had Obama come recently, but I'm not really sure why he bothered. (I didn't get to see him. Bummer.)

When I am in charge of the world there will be a national primary. (Wouldn't you like to have absolute power for, say, one week's time?)

#9 ::: JulieB ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:23 PM:

@Caroline: There is a move afoot to move the primary to January or February, but the Texas leg won't be in session in time to change the date for 2008.

Absolute power? This is why I'm a writer. Bwah.

#10 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 12:43 PM:

With the modifier "national," Fragano gets it in one.

#11 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:09 PM:

Well, Edwards was here in September, and man could his campaign people here in Central Ohio use help.

They let the crowd just mill around for almost an hour while waiting for the candidate to arrive...

They could have gotten a local band and some local Democrats to prime the crowd, or at least brought enough campaign materials (buttons, signs, what have you) to whip up some enthusiam.

While I was impressed with Mr. Edwards, his local campaign staff are seriously lacking in talent, organizing abilities, and imagination.

#12 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:18 PM:

Giuliani doesn't want people to know he's coming lest they ask him rude questions (like, "Why did you put the Emergency Command Center in WTC instead of Brooklyn?" or "Exactly what did you do on 9/11/2001 that's so wonderful, besides be nearby?" or especially "Why don't New Yorkers, who know you best, support you?")

#13 ::: Michael Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Fragano's almost right, but I think Rudy's real audience is that peculiar fragment of the media that Atrios calls the "village." For no good reason, they drive our national discourse-- usually over various cliffs.

It occurred to me that we'll know Rudy really is the heir apparent if there is no indictment of Bernie Kerik reported out before the statute of limitations on his (alleged) crimes expires, which is said to be next week. And we'll know whether he's the Village's choice by how much coverage, and of what sort, the indictments get.

#14 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Well he's tied up the all-important Pat Robertson approval so, who needs you people?

#15 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:54 PM:

I think all primaries should be held on February 29.

(Yes, I know that would disproportionately favor the big (or big-money) states, and it's not a good idea for that reason. But NH and IA have wayyy too much influence the way it is now.)

#16 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Rudy is campaigning to the powers that be - yes, the Village, but also the corporations, which in turn control the media. Actual people are largely irrelevant to his candidacy, except that they get to play adoring audiences in the ongoing opera inside his head.

#17 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Giuliani looks like Richard Nixon reincarnated.

There is something deeply disturbing about that man, a tendency to 'get' his enemies, to be vituperative in creating 'us' and 'them'. See Mark Kleiman's posts on (Kleiman, a drug policy expert, used to work for G when they were both in the US Attorney General's office).

And his foreign policy (step forward John Podhoretz) will make us nostalgic for GW Bush.

Podhoretz's book basically recommends plunging the US into permanent war in the Middle East.

The one that really chilled me was when John McCain (who can't raise his arms to comb his hair, due to enemy torture) said 'in my experience torture on enemy prisoners doesn't work'. It was Rudy's ascerbic reply which got the cheers.

As societies, we seem to prefer episodes of '24' to reality. Hence the popularity of candidates like Giuliani.

Were American politics 'rational' (and the Constitution somewhat different) the choice of candidates on both sides would be something like Richardson or Dodd v. Schwarzenneger or Romney or Huckabee (all figures with considerable experience governing regionally, sometimes across party lines, or with solid experience in Washington, and who are representative of distinct factions of their parties).

I'm already missing Chuck Hagel (and he hasn't even retired yet) or Wes Clark.

#18 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:32 PM:

14 Keith

The Pat Robertson endorsement shows Rudy's candidacy has legs.

The Republican strong point, even with conservative and evangelical voters, is always about national security.

What Robertson is saying is 'forget the rest, he'll play ball on social issues, and he will make us safe' [and anything is better than the antichrist H. Clinton or the moslem schoolboy B. Obama].

The Democrats are toast against that. Figure a strike on Iran by Bush, or a major terrorist incident against the United States in the Election Year, and we are in for another 4 years of a Republican President.

written by a professional historian at the Naval War College, is one of the best summaries I have read of what is going on in American politics, from a historical perspective.

Bit by bit, America is being sucked into becoming the permanent warfare state.

#19 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:32 PM:

Valuethinker @ 17

Wes Clark is too busy trying to convince the US not to dive headfirst into a war with Iran to be running for political office. Given the timeframes, I think he's right to be dealing with the more immediate problem.

#20 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:35 PM:

I think all primaries should be held on February 29.

I think the states ought to be divided into five chunks such that the population numbers for each chunk are as even as can be arranged, and then primaries should run Mon-Fri of one week. Shuffle which chunk goes first for every election--first one's ABCDE, second's BCDEA, then CDEAB, etc.

Of course I also think candidates ought not be allowed to campaign earlier than one month before the election. But that's because I hate spending two damn years listening to the same people spout the same tripe.

#21 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:40 PM:

Carrie S @ 20

I want them to stop campaigning - at least the advertising part of it - at least three days before the election, so we can make up our minds in peace.

#22 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:41 PM:

I kind of agree with Carrie about primary scheduling by population: I think it should go in order of electoral votes, lowest to highest. That would counteract the all-at-once influence in the election itself of the large states.

#23 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:44 PM:

What I really want to know is whether Guiliani's candidacy is going to be hampered by these "gaffes". If it is, then we need not worry; if not, we need not hope.

#24 ::: Jon Marcus ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Seth Breidbart @ 12:

It's callous bastards like you that force "America's Mayor" to do things like this. There's no way you can understand the stress of having "the safety and security of 8 million people on my shoulders." A man like that needs a place to smoke a cigar from his private humidor, and spend some time with a special lady (Sure, she wasn't his wife then, but she is now, so just shut up!). And you expect him to go all the way to Brooklyn of all places for this vitally necessary personal time? You insensitive clod!


#25 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:55 PM:

C. Wingate @ 23: As someone said at Daily Kos the other day, GOP candidates are not nominated; they're anointed. It looks like Rudy is the Anointed One for this cycle.

Bruce Cohen @ 19: One of my brothers (who happens to work for a defense contractor) thinks that another attack will be the thing that finally puts Bush and Cheney behind bars, because it will expose beyond the point of deniability how much less safe they've made us. I, on the other hand, have bet him that neither one of them will ever see jail time (I don't think they'll even see charges, let alone trial, conviction, or prison). I'd love to be wrong, of course.

#26 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 03:58 PM:

ValueThinker #18: The Pat Robertson endorsement shows Rudy's candidacy has legs.

And blue noses.

#27 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:03 PM:

I've heard a proposal--which I think got as far as some committees within the two national parties--to reorganize the primaries in order of how close the vote was in the previous Presidential election. If that proposal had been implemented for this election cycle, we'd be seeing the first primaries in Nevada, New Mexico, and Ohio (as well as Iowa and N.H., which conveniently enough were also close races in '04--although I assume that no national party boss wants to put up with the hissy fit that N.H. would throw if it lost its "first in the nation primary").

I think that as long as we have the unreasonable Electoral College to put up with, that would be the most reasonable way to schedule the primaries, since both parties have an interest in choosing a nominee who will do well in the swing states.

#28 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:18 PM:

25 leslie

If the US couldn't imprison Richard Nixon, it will not imprison Bush or Cheney.

I'm not even sure they have done anything wrong, in a strict legal sense. What they have done is bent the law but you'd never get the Supreme Court to rule that it was illegal: this was the SC that made him president, after all.

The extension of executive power since 1945 is quite striking. The US Congress doesn't even declare war, any more, it seems.

#29 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Valuethinker 28, they've done quite a bit wrong, in the strict legal sense; proving it is another matter, and having a legal system with the stomach to pursue it is yet another.

#30 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Crimes against peace by waging aggressive war against other nations and violating international treaties.

#31 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:35 PM:

Another blog is having a haiku festival; inspired, as it were, by this thread, I gave them this:

A tyrant wrapped in
An ego inside a delusion:
"Vote for me or die."

#32 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Valuethinker #28: Oh, yes, Nixon could have gone to jail -- why the heck do you think he arranged the pardon with Gerald Ford?

But I don't want to see the Bush regime in front of a US court of law -- I want to see them in the Hague, and I guarantee that they would be prosecuted.

War crimes...and waterboarding is just the tip of the iceberg.

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 05:04 PM:


Oh yeah.
That's what Mukasey can't say that George isn't above the law, or that waterboarding is torture, or that we do torture.
Because then not only George becomes liable for war crimes, but also Congress and a lot of the cabinet officers.

The Hague would need a larger courtroom.

#34 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 05:13 PM:

Why is impeachment off the table again?

Oh yeah - see P J Evans @ 33.

#35 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 05:13 PM:

30 Niall

You could get Bill Clinton on that. Or Tony Blair. Or John Kennedy. Or Ronald Reagan. Or Lyndon Johnson. Maybe not Dwight Eisenhower (but Guatemala and Iran?). Maybe not Harry Truman (Korea?). Probably Bush the first.

32 Lori Coulson

It will never happen. It would be too difficult a precedent for any future US leader. The US does not recognise that level of international sovereignty.

29 Leslie in CA

Not sure what you mean. They have interpreted the law to their favour. But criminal activity?

Let's be real here about what is possible. Bush is not impeachable, and he certainly has not been shown to be guilty of any gross crimes (that I know of). His defence that his attorney general told him he could torture is a pretty strong one.

Bush is not some sick, twisted criminal. He is an exemplar of someone and a group of people who have played the American political system to further their own ideological objectives, and who have played hardball to make it happen, with wide popular support (at times).

Bush is not some random deviation of the system, he is the logical outcome of the system. The process that began with Reagan's election in 1980 (and arguably with Goldwater's defeat in 1964) has come to full fruition: the ideologically assertive and organised political faction has been dominant enough to achieve their ends (we used to argue about abortion, now we argue about torture-- I'm fairly confident that Roe v. Wade will fall in the next few years). The liberals have more or less been in a disorganised rout (Mike Dukakis, anyone? John Kerry?).

On my darker days I remember Thucydides and the Fall of Athens (expedition to Syracuse, anyone?) and the fall of the Roman Republic. With the internet as the wall of the Sullan denunciations-- or was that the Patriot Act?

#36 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 05:21 PM:

Actually the House may have unintentionally put impeachment of Cheney back on the table by sending Kucinich's resolution regarding the same to the House Judicial Committee.

One of the HJC members (Wexler?) is pushing for hearing(s) -- so call your Reps and tell them you'd like to see the hearing go forward.

#37 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 05:49 PM:

You could get Bill Clinton on that.

No, you couldn't. Not the looniest loon who thought Clinton murdered Whitewater ever thought so.

Or Tony Blair.

Oh, yes indeed. Hanged by the neck until dead.

Or John Kennedy.


Or Ronald Reagan.

No, I don't think so. He was unfit to stand trial when elected.

Probably Bush the first.

No, see, that's where the UN and the international treaties come in. Bush I was not a total fuckwit, he understands Law and covered his arse.

Dubya really thinks laws don't apply to him, and it seems that he's right.

#38 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:05 PM:

I am going to say something that will shock the bejeezuz out of folk who know me well: Lord, I miss Bush I! As Niall said, the man was not a total fuckwit; he knew there was a world out there and that it behooved him to act as if international cooperation meant something. Compared to his son, he was a bloody diplomatic genius.

#39 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:22 PM:

ABC is reporting that Bernie Kerik has been indicted.

#40 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Valuethinker @ 35

Well, sort of. While it is fairly clear that the 2003 invasion of Iraq violated the UN Charter (Secretary General Kofi Annan said that himself) the ability to detain and prosecute a serving head of state for acts of agression doesn't exist at this point. The ICC itself has ruled that such acts by non-member states (and both the US and Iraq were non-members) are not under their jurisdiction, and the immunity of a head of state from prosecution on such charges seems now to be well established in international law. As far as waging agressive war is concerned, that is.

Now torture is different, which may be why there was so much concern over Mukasey's statements about waterboarding. Torture is in that short list of offenses that are considered part of the jus cogens along with such delights as genocide and slave trading. These offenses are considered so dire, so violative of human dignity that there is no statute of limitations, and that in a number of states, universal jursidiction applies. In fact, these offenses are some of the few, along with piracy, where universal jurisdiction has some general acceptance. In some cases it just might include serving heads of state. I suggest that ex-President Bush select his vacation spots with care.

Oh, and for the argument that the earlier AG's opinion provides some kind of legal protection, oh give me a break. Mukasey himself said that torture is unconstitutional, which means that approving its use was outside any authoity the AG might have. And torture is one of those offenses where the doctrine of command responsibility is most stringently interpreted. If a command from a superior officer cannot excuse you from torture, the opinion of a subordinate cannot be sufficient.

#41 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:23 PM:

Valuethinker 17: Giuliani looks like Richard Nixon reincarnated.

Not in terms of policy. Richard Nixon's policies were to the left of any candidate running from either party.

And 35: Sorry, wrong. Bush's signing statements are confessions of lawbreaking. "I'm signing this, but I'm not going to obey it."

And have you forgotten the illegal wiretaps? He ordered them.

#42 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:29 PM:

Obviously you aren't on Pat Robertson's email list.

#43 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:38 PM:

Claude, sadly, I don't believe that UN black helicopters are going to invade the US and drag Bush Jnr to justice at the Hague. The only way the Nazis were hanged for crimes against peace by waging aggressive war against other nations and violating international treaties was that they lost the aggressive war.

America is not about to lose any wars, not in the sense of enemies sorting through the rubble of DC looking for the criminals responsible.

But... but if Americans get fed up of Dubya, and of the Executive power he has arrogated to the office of President, tossing him to the Hague would be a really, really good way to re-establish their commitment to the rule of law.

Also, my older daughter would like a pony and my son would like a dragon, and my younger daughter would like some kind of monster capable of eating a pony and a dragon in one bite. Thank you.

#44 ::: Peter Harkins ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 06:59 PM:

It's been a long while since I last delurked... I now work at the Washington Post building web apps, and one of them tracks the 2008 presidential candidates. The campaign tracker includes the Giuliani stops local to you on last Friday, and has RSS feeds for every candidate. I know from chatting with the woman who maintains the data that campaigns tell us about their upcoming stops because they like the exposure. I'm pretty new to media and the subtleties of campaigning, so I have no idea why they would or wouldn't publicize a given stop.

(Insert obvious disclaimer about not speaking for my employer, the mainstream media, Rudy Giuliani... I'd share the resource if even if I didn't work here, I think folks should have lots of opportunity to get involved in politics.)

#45 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 07:00 PM:

Confirming Leslie @ #39, The Associated Press is reporting that CBS is reporting that Kerik has been indicted.

#46 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 08:08 PM:

Peter #44: the point is that lead time that might work fine for a major metropolitan daily just won't hack it for a rural weeklie. Finding out what the appropriate newspaper's deadline is should be one of the things they do.

If Mory Taylor could manage Giuliani certainly should be able to figure it out.

#47 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2007, 11:45 PM:

Time for a visitation of Divine Retribution onto those who claim Vengeance Is Mine...

#48 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:06 AM:

The doctrine in the USA used to be that the person at the top was responsible for the actions of the subordinates--and especially, placing of incompetents, the malicious, the awarders of illegal contracts, etc., into high office, reflected criminal negligence at the very least in the person who appointed and then did not REMOVE the incompentents, malfeasants, and criminals from federal positions.

US military officers are subject to punishment for "conduct unbecoming an officer" which covers a very wide elastic range of unspecified misdeeds, and incompetent and bad judgment and deception aren't excluded from them.

The doctrine that the person in command is responsible for the actions of the subordinates, USED TO be a key on in US Government and law. "Ignorance" is NOT allowable excuse, if the person didn't know, there person SHOULD have been competent/interested/alert/etc. enough to have noticed SOMETHING and to have started digging, unless there was a large coverup conspiracy undertaken WITHOUT collusion from the head's trusted assistants....

Note that history has NOT been kind to either President Grant or President Harding, even though in the case of Grant it seems strongly likely that Grant was not personally corrupt, but rather, trusted people who were completely unworthy of that trust. Grant did NOT say that he relied on OTHER people to keep up on current affairs in the media of the time, unlike the Schmuck.

As for legal consideration -- several YEARS ago I seem to recall that I posted long excerpts of the Geneva Convention here, which VERY CLEARLY those [terms of non-admiration] of the current Executive Branch of US Government abrogated. "Crimes against humanity" applies regarding failure to do ANYTHING to prevent destruction of archives hundreds of years ago, burning of other libriaries, failure to secure Iraqi government records, failure to protect the civil population by providing ANY policing when the Iraqi law enforcement agenies evaporated, failure to secure military munitions which have therefore instead harmed huge numbers of people and wreaking continuing damage and devastation in Iraq because that's what's gone into all those IEDs.... and on, and on, and on.

That's just the INITIAL obscenities that the US Government inflicted on Iraq. The no-bid abusive-to-the-US-taxpayer-and-Iraqi-citizenry contracts to Halliburton, Blackwater, Titan, etc., with charges for services and work never performed or performed incredibly shoddily and partial only, with charges inflated by more than 100% in many cases, violate US law and are criminal acts. That removal of all fiscal oversight and the harassment of whistleblowers is illegal. The promotion of Evangelical Christianity in the US service academies an on-site in the Pentagon itsef and with US senior military authorities appearing in uniform promoting Evangelical Christian missionary proselytizingin film/video is illegal and abrogates the US Bill of Rights.

There is the torture, and the COVERUP of the torture. There are the warrantless arrests, the spying, and on and on and on.

Could the Schmuck in the White House be Beria or some other such vile entity reincarnated?

#49 ::: Hob ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:15 AM:

Jim, there's no reason to inform the locals if he's just using the town as a backdrop. Like the first commenter said, he's campaigning to the media, or at least to people elsewhere via the media. Good ol' boy Rudy visits the Real People, shows he's not one of those Manhattan gay latte liberals, etc. What a few hundred locals actually think about him, or about America, is irrelevant and might be off-message.

(My home town, Lancaster PA, gets used for similar purposes now and then; candidates who don't know a thing about the area, and can't tell a Mennonite from Marmite, love to get press about their trip to the good old Pennsylvania Dutch country. Bush Senior once addressed a city high school there and talked about how sad it was that the terrible specters of drugs and crime "have even come here, to the peaceful Amish.")

I'm sure if Rudy could find a way to campaign in New York City without inviting the New Yorkers, he'd do that too.

#50 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:30 AM:

So you realize how weird it sounds to me that you would even imagine that a Presidential candidate would make a personal visit to the 2,321 people who live in Colebrook, right? None of the major candidates are planning to come over to Cubberley Community Center for a chat with the 2000 people who live in my neighborhood. We do get candidates in town every so often for fund raisers (I think I could meet a Senator or two if I went to a $10,000/plate dinner in Atherton), but it would never occur to me that candidates would be holding public events for ordinary voters in individual neighborhoods.

Yes, I do know it's a tradition that Presidential candidates spend a lot more time talking to people in 2000-person towns in New Hampshire than they spend talking to people in 2000-person neighborhoods in California. It's just a very weird tradition.

#51 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:06 AM:

37 Niall

Clinton - bombed Bosnia, and then Kosovo. And Sudan. All of those are 'starting a war' unprovoked. Not to mention bombing Iraq.

JFK - Operation Mongoose? Bay of Pigs?

Reagan - I think you underrate his competence. He knew what he was doing. So you have Libya, Grenada, Beirut (arguably), plus of course Nicaragua.

#52 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 03:38 AM:

Rudy Giuliani describes his grand foreign policy plan in a recent issue of the magazine FOREIGN AFFAIRS. I suggest you read it. It's the chiller of the year:
(Brief Summary: 9/11, build a giant military empire with which to subdue the world, 9/11, America is besieged by enemies, 9/11, Pax Americana or else.)

#53 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 05:25 AM:

51: in all those cases, there was already a war going on.

Grenada and Nicaragua are definitely cases of aggressive war. Not so Beirut. Not so, it could be argued, Libya.

#54 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 05:52 AM:

Michael Bloom, #13, Bernie Kerik is supposed to report for arraignment today.

Peter Harkins, #44, Ha! I was looking for the WashPost campaign dissection of Guiliani and with my best search terms, ended up at your web app!

And while there, noticed that a Bush veto has been overridden!

Jim, #46, the web app is an interactive graphic for all candidates and all over the country. Look at it and browse by state and date.

#55 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 06:04 AM:

53 but in each case, the United States attacked a foreign country, unprovoked. Serbia never threatened the United States. Neither did the Bosnian Serbs, regardless of who they were warring with. Libya might have arranged the disco bombing in Berlin, but it never directly attacked the US. Neither did Sudan. Nor did Nicaragua. Or Cuba. Or Guatemala, or Iran (1952 not the hostage crisis). Or for that matter the People's Republic of North Vietnam. (Cambodia and Laos anyone? that catches RJN). Beirut US warships fired on Shia moslem militia, before the suicide bombings.

Again Iraq made no military threat against the US which would have justified operation Desert Fox (1998) or the earlier efforts to overthrow Saddam covertly (see Scott Ritter).

You can't get GWB and Blair on invading Iraq, and not catch Eisenhower, Johnson, Kennedy, LBJ, Reagan on the same grounds, and probably Bill Clinton.

#56 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 06:29 AM:

Xopher@15: I think all primaries should be held on February 29.

An excellent idea, with the added bonus that 3 times every 400 years (2100, 2200, 2300 being the next ones) we'd get to skip them entirely...

#57 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 07:41 AM:

55: but the US was joining in the Balkan war on the side that was fighting against the aggressor. Does that mean that the US was acting aggressively? I don't think so. Does that mean that if, say, Belarus invades Poland, and the US sends troops to help defend Poland, the US is an aggressor, because Belarus wasn't threatening the US?

And I think that an attack by Libya on US troops in Germany is a pretty good casus belli for the US against Libya.

Also, the marines were in Lebanon at the invitation of the Lebanese government, weren't they?

#58 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:03 PM:

re 49: The irony being that the US 30 strip out of Lancaster is one of the tackiest arrays of commercialized voyeurism in the nation. It takes a LOT of selective video editing to make it not look like exploitation.

#59 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:13 PM:

57 Ajay

A supposition by US intelligence that the Libyans supplied the bomb to bomb a German disco, that American soldiers sometimes frequented, is a long way aways from casus belli for war between the US and Libya.

If you remember Bosnia it was not clear who the aggressor was (the Serbians behaved badly, but so did the Croats and the moslems when they had a chance). There was ethnic cleansing, and racial murder, on all sides, even if the moslems were getting the short end of the stick.

On Kosovo, the US wasn't attacked by Serbia. It was an internal Serbian matter. Kosovo was a part of Serbia, in international law de facto and de jure, and had been accepted as so since the foundation of Serbia pre WWI.

This isn't to say these interventions were bad, or wrong. But if we can get GWB on attacking a foreign country without justification, we can get other presidents for covert (or overt) wars against nations which did not attack the United States.

That's the problem with going up the 'illegal war' track with Bush and Blair. We'd be indicting, at the least, every US president since WWII.

#60 ::: Hob ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 12:16 PM:

58: It was slightly less so when Poppy visited in 1990, but still, yeah. He wasn't addressing a rural school either. It's hard-core Republicanland but there was still a little bit of "WTF?" reaction.

#61 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 01:38 PM:

I have the strong suspicion that Giuliani will be elected president. I can't shake the feeling that the same manner and style that make him viscerally repugnant to me make him viscerally attractive to a large subgroup of Americans (broadly and unfairly, people who hate New York City).

I had the same feeling about G.W.B.; both he and R.G. make me want to fumingly refer to him as "that man" as I break my cane in twain.

I'm in danger of seeming very socially conservative when I wonder if the absence of well-defined, positive, models of masculinity makes people susceptible to the charms of bullies and paranoid ferrets.

#62 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 04:59 PM:

Re Lybia: Gulf of Sidra. Does that stretch to casus belli, mabybe. It does muddy the waters.

Serbia had various international levels of support.

Bay of Pigs, yep. Beirut, nope. I'm not sure what "war of Aggression" Ike is supposed to have initiated (unless you are going to argue for his starting Viet-nam). Johnson in the position of inhieriting that, should he have ended it, yep. But I don't think you can lay the blame sqauare on him.

What of Ford, and Carter (since you say everyone from Truman forward is attainted; speaking of Truman, which aggressive war did he start)?

#63 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 05:31 PM:

1) Kosovo: That was a NATO operation; the US participated as part of NATO. (I recall the wingers at the time loudly objecting to US troops serving under foreign officers.)

2) Libya: In addition to the Berlin disco bombing there was the Lockerbie bombing.

Bush still can, and should, be indicted and tried for waging aggressive war.

#64 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 07:10 PM:

Michael Turyn@61

I tend to suspect that Giulani isn't even going to get the nomination. Right now, Romney is leading in Iowa and New Hampshire and within a few points (and gaining) in South Carolina. Sweep all three states and that's probably the primary campaign right there.

(Basically, Giulani is trying to coast to the nomination on his 9/11 image. It MIGHT work in the primary campaign, since he's mostly been getting a free ride on that matter from the other GOP candidates. It's less likely to work in the general election.)

#65 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2007, 07:54 PM:

I Am Not An International Relations Expert but re: Wars that aren't Aggressive War, I seem to recall that as well as self-defence, there's collective defence. So defending a treaty partner is certainly within the scope of non-aggressive war. In theory the ultimate arbiter of collective defence is the UN Security Council.

It's slightly too late here for me to check the details, but I expect the US had a mutual defence treaty with Vietnam. The Yugoslav and Kosovo conflicts were certainly under the umbrella of one or more international organisations. That doesn't mean they're not "aggressive war", but self-defence is not the sole yardstick.

#66 ::: Valuethinker ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 03:46 AM:

61 Michael T.

Yes I think Giuliani is in. Romney's machine might beat him, though.

If the Republicans run Giuliani, they have an excellent chance of winning. He will appeal to the sort of independent voter who supported McCain, and Perot. Hilary Clinton's best strategy would be to paint him into a corner as some kind of crazy.

62 So did Operation Iraqi Freedom re international support.

Beirut: the US went in and allied itself with one side against another. 16" guns are weapons of aggression. And of course there was Grenada (a 'rescue mission' involving a full naval task force and invasion).

Ike: Guatemala and Iran. Overthrowing a foreign government counts.

Truman: not sure. There is a persistent theory in the literature that South Korea initiated the Korean war, with US assurances. And of course there was US support to guerillas in the Soviet Union (Ukraine, Baltic Republics, Caucuses).

LBJ one can't really absolve him from blame. He intitiated covert ops and bombing against the North.

A treaty with South Vietnam is irrelevant, since South Vietnam was only created at the peace table in 1954 at US behest.

Kosovo there's no doubt, if the US hadn't intervened, it would have remained an internal Serbia affair. So aggressive war. And Sudan of course (when did Sudan ever threaten the United States?).

63. Lockerbie was long after the bombing of Libya (1989 v. 1986). In fact, there is still meaningful doubt whether it was a Libyan operation (the wikipedia is pretty good on this) despite the conviction achieved (which is now being appealed).

Lockerbie was most likely an Iranian intel operation, a revenge for the shootdown of the Airbus by the USS Vincennes. Intriguingly, the head of CIA Special Ops in the Middle East was on that plane: bad luck, or fantastic intelligence?

Depressingly, if the US did have a case for war with a country on the grounds of fomented terrorist attacks on US nationals, it would be Iran: Khark Barracks, Hizbollah against the Marines in Lebanon, the kidnappings in Lebanon, possibly Lockerbie, certainly the Argentine Synagogue bombing (not US citizens, granted). Maybe, like the Iran-Contra conspirators, we should just send them a cake and a bible? ;-).

So GWB has his casus belli, already. Not that he needed one. (see Doonesbury this week).

#67 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Michael Turyn @ 61: I have the strong suspicion that Giuliani will be elected president. I can't shake the feeling that the same manner and style that make him viscerally repugnant to me make him viscerally attractive to a large subgroup of Americans (broadly and unfairly, people who hate New York City).

I'm wondering how the GOP shock troops that drummed up conservative votes in the key states by stressing the overriding vital importance of abortion and gay marriage as issues (even considering the latter never seems to have actually been legal in the U.S., anywhere) will get the same folks to turn a blind eye to Giuliani's stands on those matters, but there is no doubt in my mind that some are all keyed up to try.

#68 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2007, 09:28 AM:

RuPaul is going to be in town this coming Tuesday. I'll give you a trip report.

#69 ::: jayackroyd ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 08:34 AM:

He went to the Balsams to be sure that he wouldn't have to see anybody from NH. Could that be it?

#70 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:00 PM:

Ask Giuliani about the 200 Naked firefighters. From Sept 1996 to Jan 1997, 200 new firefighters were ordered to pull down their pants and underpants so a Lieutenant could see how fat they were. This was humiliating and abusive. Giuliani did not know about ths initially, but he said it was ok that it happened. This guy will protect those who take the loyalty oath to him and him alone. This man should not be our president. He has issues.

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