May 2008

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« Religion and Politics | Main | A Golden Age »


Sue Davies

I hope that Scott Adams will allow this debate to continue because though it may be off the original McCain point some important issues are getting an airing.

Lisa T, I don’t doubt the bravery and commitment of any of the men and women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. I have a young nephew with a British unit that has seen action in both countries. I pray for him and his colleagues.

But that doesn’t blind me to history. Sorry, but Ronald Reagan DID arm Saddam in a big way. It was supposed to be kept secret from the American people, but the conclusive proof is in a raft of documents prised out by the Freedom of Information Act (legislation that Americans should be proud of) and now lodged at the National Security Archive in Washington. There have been books and newspaper articles based on those documents and on the testimony of former Reagan administration officials.

Saddam had attacked Iran hoping for a quick victory but as the Iraq-Iran war dragged on and with Iran looking the likely victor Reagan stepped in to shore up the blood-stained tyrant. He wasn’t allowed to send arms directly so he took other measures.

First, astonishingly, he removed Iraq from the list of nations sponsoring terrorism, then he arranged for Iraq’s credit rating to be enhanced so that Saddam could receive big loans from elsewhere (for example, $5bn from an Italian bank)to buy arms and fund existing weapons programs, including chemical weapons. At one stage Iraq was using chemical weapons (some ingredients, sadly, supplied by US and European companies)almost daily against Iranian troops (in fairness, the US did later complain about Iraq’s use of CW during the war).

Reagan also arranged for several Middle East allies to secretly funnel US-supplied weapons to the dictator. In addition, the US approved the sale of 50 Hughes non-military helicopters to Iraq, which promptly made strenuous efforts to militerise them, and gave Saddam hefty loans to buy US food supplies, thus freeing up more money to buy arms.

Saddam was Reagan’s the new buddy and he sent twice sent Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad to shake the tyrant’s blood-stained hands.

As for "11 long years", as I said in an earlier post if Bush Senior had not stabbed the anti-Saddam rebels in the back in 1991 those terrible years would not have happened.

By the way, though I’m Welsh, why shouldn’t I comment on American politics? Atr all, every US president claims to be the "leader of the free world" so, as a card-carrying member of the "free world" I feel entitled to my say. Oh, and here’s a stray thought, about 16 of those who signed your Declaration of Independence were Welsh-speaking Welshmen. Couldn’t that count for something?

Sue Davies, Cardiff, Wales.


Merle Haggard wrote a song for Hillary. I used to believe this:

Merle Hasn't Lost His Fightin' Side
words and music by Dr BLT copyright 2008

Now I'm still a big fan, but I wonder if Merle is going soft, and I've written a song as an answer to his song about Hillary.

Go John McCain. This one was written and recorded by yours truly, just for you!

The Maverick
words and music by Dr BLT copyright 2008

Lisa T.

To Sue Davies, in case you read this:

Ronald Reagan did not arm Saddam. During the '80s, we sent arms to Afghanistan, but they were used up a long long time ago.
Saddam sadistically gassed the Kurds and killed thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis as he thumbed his nose to the world for 11 long years. France, Spain and other countries just looked the other way.
UN sanctions against him did not work. The UN got involved in the Oil for Food scandal, actually helping Saddam to build his castles and starve his people.
Something had to be done to stop him and his two sick, satanic sons from killing and raping more innocent women and children.
President Bush has kept our country safe and terrorism-free for over six years, and he deserves some gratitude for that.
You liberals don't get it; the Middle East needs lasting peace and more governments that do not take away women's and men's freedoms.
The troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are well-trained, not drafted and clueless about how to fight. After they're injured, they usually want to return, because they believe in our cause there.
These troops deserve our constant admiration and support, not timetables and complaints that we shouldn't be there. It's too late for those complaints; we are there. So get real. As McCain says, these troops say: "Let us win."
Finally -- you live in Wales, and Americans don't want to hear what you think about Republicans or who should be president. We are arrogant, and we like it. Scott would agree with me on this one.

Sue Davies

“TallDave” attacks my “ignorance” but it seems that he has not researched America's involvement with Iraq and Afghanistan as thoroughly as I have.

Bin Laden may well have been in Pakistan in 2003 but I was talking about December 2001 when the US was bombing large areas of the Tora Bora mountains, AQ's last big refuge in Afganistan. What was really needed were US ground troops in strength, but the Republican administration – already turning its mind to Iraq - refused to commit more than a small special forces unit, preferring to leave the main fighting to the unreliable Northern Alliance, who were far from willing to take on the well-armed fanatical AQ fighters holed up there. As a result, most of this core AQ force escaped.

Several reports had Bin Laden addressing an AQ rally at Tora Bora at that time, but this was rubbished by the Republicans during the 2004 US presidential campaign. It wasn't until after Bush's victory did a CIA report surface suggesting that the US knew all along that Bin Laden was there.

I note that “TallDave” makes no mention of the hundreds of thousands of civilian dead and injured or the millions of refugees caused by the Republicans getting it so badly wrong. Don't they count?

His other claims are easily countered. The Reagan administration did help arm Saddam Hussain “to the teeth” by allowing him a series of hefty loans which he used to buy the weaponry he wanted.

I did not say that Saddam never had WMD. There were reports suggesting that Iraq had closed such programs in the 1990s, but that was not what the Republican administration wanted to hear so the reports were ignored.

The Iraqi rebels did aim to topple Saddam after the first Gulf War; their own leaders said so at the time and have claimed since that they came close. But what a criminally pathetic excuse – that Iran might benefit – for encouraging the rebels to rise and then not only refusing to help but actually assisting Saddam by relaxing the no-fly rules so that his helicopters could be used to brutally crush the rebellion.

No wonder a US general described the episode as one of the most shameful in American history.

Sue Davies, Cardiff, Wales.


would you donate to him if you knew where his money was really going?

Matthew Livingston

To the people who say that maybe the decrease in violence is just coincidence, do you think that if the police in New Orleans took a weekend off the murder rate would increase or decrease? The surge is lowering the violence in Iraq, the idea being that people will be able to resume a pre war lifestyle and the Iraq government can get established to control radical Islam.

Tim C

Given that you bring up the question if the surge worked, that would seem to indicate it didn't work. Because if it did work there would be a clearly defined objective goal that could be measured and there wouldn't be a question.



Jake Hawkins

Scott, you say you promised Senator Purple Heart $1K if the SURGE WORKED. Do I surmise correctly that you are asking us whether you owe him said sum, which means you are asking a) whether we think the surge worked, and b) if it did, should you keep your word?
To define whether something worked, I would say we need to determine whether it has achieved its intended goals. Did the Bush administration ever announce what those goals were?
Anyway, based on the above I think you owe him $316.27, how is that?


Sue Davies, I am astonished at your ignorance. I hope not everyone in Cardiff is so incredibly misinformed.

For the record:

We did not suddenly switch focus to Iraq and thereby lose bin Laden. Bin Laden was already in Pakistan by 2003.

Saddam did have WMD, just ask the thousands of Kurds in Halabja he used them on. The question was always what happened to them. Saddam refused to answer that question and paid the price.

Reagan did not "arm Saddam to the teeth." The U.S. was less than 1% of Iraq's arms imports (which for a time in the 1980s were the largest in the world). Did you really not notice that all those Iraqi tanks and planes and guns were of Russian design.

The Shia revolution in 1991 did not remotely come anywhere close to "toppling" Saddam. That wasn't even their goal; they just wanted to control their portion of Iraq. We didn't support them because the armed militias were mostly backed and funded by Iran, the foremost state terrorist sponsor.

Iraq has been a huge disaster for Al Qaeda. They have done more to discredit their cause there than we could have hoped in our wildest dreams. The entire nation has risen up against them and in the rest of the Mideast support for terrorism in publin polls has dropped precipitously.

As for AQ "gaining expertise," ok, the ones that survive probably learn a few things. But guess what? So do OUR soldiers, and our soldiers are smarter, better trained, better organized, better funded, and have better institutional memory, not to mention the small bonus that our attrition rate is a tenth of theirs (dead combatants don't learn or pass on knowledge).

Lisa Thompson

Of course you owe John McCain. If the surge hasn't worked, how can one explain the dramatic drop in deaths and attacks in Iraq?

BTW, I am a McCain supporter. He is the only one in the race with incredible character, unlike the average Joe Politician. He served his country in Vietnam and offers common-sense solutions, working with both parties, for our problems.

I hope you will consider voting for him, too.

If you do not pay him, then you can pay ME $1,000. LOL


Yep, you owe him $1000 Canadian.

The economy has bumped Iraq off as the top issue in the US and that is largely do to the lower bodycount. Not that the Surge can bear all the responsibility for the "improvement" in Iraq. As it did happen during the Surge, the Surge will claim credit and McCain stood alone. He might make a damn fine Secretary of Defense.

Screw Flanders


Based on what reporters there in Iraq are writing, the surge definitely worked. While I think you owe $2,000, I think it would be a waste to give it to the McCain campaign. Donate it to a charity that does something for the families of fallen troops.


You're incorrectly assuming that "the Surge" would be the correct strategy even if it did work. As opposed to say, a completely pull-out of American forces. There's also the fact that "the Surge" has been a miserable failure by its own benchmarks set a year ago.

/Ron Paul


Yeah I think you owe McCain the thousand. Since it seems as though you don't want to support McCain's presidential ambtions here is a solution. Donate the grand to the INJURED MARINE SEMPER FI FUND in McCain's name. I would guess that Senator McCain would agree this would be a great gesture on your part.
Full disclosure, I have given money to both the INJURED MARINE FUND and McCain's presidential campaign.


I am sick and tire of this blog and all other blogs. They are a big waste of time, just like text messaging. Our whole country is wasting tons of time on useless navel-gazing in blogs, and typing stupid little text messages whilst they should pay attention to their surroundings. I miss the '80s. SIGH.


First point: For those who say that a promise made to a politician is as binding as their promise is to us; that is is a load of crap. Becoming as false as many politicians are won't make you happy and only makes the problem of dishonesty worse.

Second point: Scott if you believe you made this bet, this promise in good faith, and you know you didn't mean it as a joke, then if you believe the surge is "working" in your own judgment, then you should act to fulfill your promise. It matters none at all whether others will excuse you for their own political reasons, what matters is whether you will act in harmony with your own trained conscience. If you judge that the surge is accomplishing its purpose, all weaseling qualifications aside, then perform according to your word.

Third point: If you believe your $1000 will do some harm, contribute an equal amount to McCain's opponents (one or more, as you judge necessary).

Fourth: Once you make this judgment for yourself, and pay or not, be done with it. In making the judgment, I can only advise this: be sure that you can be "done" with the decision.

Now, if you were simply acting as provocateur, then, well, you got me. Keep up the good work.


Pay up or Run from John McCain


Pay up of Run from John McCain


Pay the man


Since you made the promise to your friend, not to your readers and not to Mr McCain, consider your friend's viewpoint. If he feels that the surge is successful then you owe the money. Your friend is the only neutral party, and the only one qualified to judge. Your friend is probably honest (I assume this because my friends are honest) and won't ask you to pay if he feels the plan is failing. Besides, the relationship and your integrity are more important than the money.


Since when does McCain even need $1000 anyway? He's doing great in the polls. Donate it to Kucinich so that he won't cry himself to sleep tonight.


hmmm....I guess when it comes to something like this, it depends on the original definition of 'worked' in your mind. That term is so ambiguous that LEGALLY speaking it doesn't stand, but MORALLY speaking, if the terms of what you ORIGINALLY considered to be your promise are fulfilled, you are obligated to pay. It all just boils down to what you in your head considered to be a satisfaction of your stipulation. If you aren't willing to put your money where your mouth is, then don't open it in the first place. :D


Correlation != Causation.

Until it has been proven to be causation; you should keep your money. In fact, I insist you do keep it.


Sorry, but there is no decline in violence. The average of 2,57 is much higher than before the surge (2.39 and before that 2.35)
Learn to read charts, before jumping to assumptions.

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