Is there Oil in Korea?

Let’s go through the Global War on Terrorism (TM) checklist:

I think it was Rob who articulated this:

1) We were attacked on 9/11 and had to respond broadly
2) The world (and I’m talking most countries) believed that Saddam had dangerous weapons and was willing to use them
3) Saddam had thumbed his nose at the world bodies and prevented legitimate inspections

This alone, in my opinion and in the opinion of a large majority of our elected law makers was enough to warrant an invasion.

1. Attacked: Uh, maybe not yet, but this can, of course, be interpreted broadly, since, uh, it wasn’t Iraq that attacked us on 9/11. So let’s say: Check

2. Weapons of Mass Destruction (or shaky, unclear evidence of maybe having them?): Uh, bigger Check than for Iraq!

3. A Psycho Ruler who flouts the UN and other “world bodies” and ignores pressure to stop the weapons programs?: Check, Check and Check.

So I ask, shouldn’t we be attacking North Korea, and imposing “Regime Change” on this “Rogue Nation” and finding Kim Jong Il in some spider hole? In fact, doesn’t the fact that this isn’t even being talked about as an option, when their weapons programs are MUCH farther along (and real!) than Saddam’s, speak directly to the disingenuousness of the Bush Administration on this topic? Shouldn’t we be attacking North Korea? Sure, maybe their missles can’t reach us now…but let’s not wait until they can! But since the answer to the question in the title is “No” I guess the answer to “will we stop North Korea” is also “No.”

Rob: still think it’s way far out there to say that WMD’s and an Al Qaeda link were pretexts for a war with Iraq that George Bush was itching to have?

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26 responses to “Is there Oil in Korea?

  1. This argument has been used before, and it sort of baffles me. Are you suggesting that we should go to war with North Korea, or that we shouldn’t have gone to war with Iraq?

    The reason we went after Iraq before North Korea is two-fold (at least off the top of my head). First, Iraq, in having violated 14 UN resolutions, in having used WMD’s, in having circumvented sanctions, and in their leader, Saddam, still being allowed to go on doing all of the above, was proof to the non-western world that defiance would be tolerated. This was a most dangerous message. North Korea, despite probably having a more advanced nuclear weapons program, had (a) never used WMD before, and (b) were not in as egregious violation of the UN Security Council.

    Second, North Korea is clearly a stronger enemy. More lives would have been lost had we attacked North Korea. It would have been a much harder job.

    Taking the two reasons together, it makes sense to go after Iraq first, when they are more seriously in violation, when attacking them sends a wider message, and when we’re more likely to win. Further, having notched a quick “regime change,” it made a tangible change to the “sociopath” landscaped, as evidenced by Libya’s disarming. The goal was to demonstrate to the world that maniacal behavior would not be tolerated and that the leaders would suffer the consequences. Just as the landscape changed when the US was able to dictate terms to the rest of the world when we were the only country with the bomb, so too, on a lesser scale, the idea was to change the rules of the game so that the US was in a better negotiating position, having proven our resolve and mettle, to dictate terms to North Korea and other rogue states. It worked with some countries, but hasn’t with others. Overall, though, we’re in a better negotiating position than had we not overthrown Saddam.

  2. Noam, I really don’t understand this comment: “a war with Iraq that George Bush was itching to have?”

    I don’t know how you can seriously suggest than any president is itching to have a war. You would really have to think that he is a monumentally depraved individual to send Americans to their death just to settle some personal score or profit monetarily, or even for American oil interests. I don’t think the President of the United States thinks of wars the same way we play video games or Stratego.

    And, despite your suggestions that the Bush Administration is disingenuous, the evidence that you use to lead to that conclusions are flawed. For instance, North Korea’s NUCLEAR weapons program is more advanced than Iraq’s was, but Iraq had already developed, and USED, other forms of WMD’s. Those WMD’s were never destroyed, and, in fact, they are cropping up now, with several hundred having already been found by US forces. Saddam had proven himself a greater threat than North Korea, having demonstrated a completed weapon and having wiggled his way out of containment. (Yes, I know, at the moment the conventional wisdom is that containment was working. But containment had failed in the past, and it was reasonable to assume it would fail again, particularly when the Russians and Chinese – not to mention the French and Germans – resisted tightening the UN’s grip and even possibly helped Iraq circumvent the sanctions that were intended to contain him.)

    Softball time! Talk to you all tomorrow.

  3. Are you suggesting that we should go to war with North Korea, or that we shouldn’t have gone to war with Iraq?

    Neither, I am suggesting that the claims the President made to get us into war with Iraq were exaggerated and the true motivations were not as they seemed.

    I don’t know how you can seriously suggest than any president is itching to have a war.

    Maybe you don’t know how I can do it, but do you really, honestly think that it’s so crazy? Come on. Stop with the Republican party lines. Stop with the group think. And leave aside the “criticizing the President is unpatriotic” crap. Think about this critically. Certainly, there are arguments to be made for Iraq before North Korea. But I think the arguments for war with Iraq were weak.

    I think there are several motivations that the President had for war, and I think you’re not being honest with yourself if you discount them offhand.

    You would really have to think that he is a monumentally depraved individual to send Americans to their death just to settle some personal score or profit monetarily, or even for American oil interests.

    Perhaps. But I don’t think it’s far-fetched to suggest that. Politicians and world leaders through-out history have had reasons for war, and most often they are not the altruistic, save the world motivations our President uses. You don’t think Oil played a role? Maybe revenge? Maybe public outcry? Maybe to joly flagging popularity? All of these played roles, and none of them are good reasons.

    I don’t think the President of the United States thinks of wars the same way we play video games or Stratego.

    Maybe because you still think Josiah Bartlett was once President? Certainly, the Preident and his advisors weighed some human cost. But I don’t think it’s far-fetched to suggest that his reasons, in his mind, outweighed them.

    Again, if you really think that we got the whole truth and nothing but the truth on the President’s motivations for the war in Iraq, you are being naive.

  4. This is a weak argument for all the reasons Adam mentioned. I would concur with Adam that N. Korea is a much stronger enemy than Iraq both conventionally and non-conventionally(I think they already have operational nukes that can be loaded onto missiles according to some experts – not just a program to develop) and an invasion would, therefore, need more consideration. If, however, NK continues to defy the civilized world and certainly if they use nukes or sell them to terrorists, yes Noam the US and its allies would unfortunately need to respond militarily. As horrific as war is, why is that so crazy sounding to you? What should we wait for – a hole where California used to be? What would convince you and your left wing cohorts that war is necessary? How far do you have to be pushed? What would you and your ilk have done in response to the Nazi war machine. Would you have argued that we were not attacked by Germany but only by Japan? Would you have argued that b/c we were not attacked on the US mainland that we should not join and escalate the conflict in Asia and Europe? Would those have been good decisions? Has not the outcome of WWII (despite the heavy loss of American lives) been a tremendous stabilizing factor in the world? Germany, Japan and Italy are three of our strongest allies. Not that I’m saying we are at that point with NK just yet.

    I’m all for isolationism until another country puts a gun to our head and if NK sells nuclear weapons to Al-Qaida or threatens us with their own weapons, we should act militarily if it makes military sense to do so(not a question I am equipped to answer).

    I would also add that a major factor in this or any administration’s decision not to go to war unfortunately is influenced by politics. The people on the left who irrationally argue that Bush invaded Iraq simply for oil, do our country a disservice by not allowing the Commander in Chief to do his job without considering the political outfall (pun intended). That is not to say that I don’t support the right to political dissent especially when it comes to sending our troops into harms way, but dissent has to be rational not pure politics and what I see from the left is 99.9% pure partisan politics and not rational arguments.

    Please explain this oil rationale/argument to me. Have we taken oil from Iraq? Have oil prices in the US gone down with the conflict in Iraq? I hear “Bush invaded Iraq for oil” and I never hear what a possible Bush motive (in terms of oil) would be to invade an oil producing country. Please explain what personal benefit (oil wise)Bush could possibly have sought by invading Iraq.

    Rob

  5. Rob:

    You can be really difficult to have discussions with, because you tend not read what I actually wrote, and instead address what you think I wrote.

    I never said we shouldn’t go to war with North Korea, and I didn’t say we should wait until we are literally attacked. In fact, if you had read my post, you’d have seen that I said, considering that there was no connection between Saddam and 9/11, we weren’t attacked by Iraq either. And if you’d click the link, you’d see that I consider North Korea’s missle testing a much greater affront to our security than anything Saddam used on Kurds.

    As for your characterization of the oil as an irrational argument, just becuase you disagree with it, doesn’t mean it’s irrational.

    And finally, let me address the logical fallacy you’ve based your arguments on: my post, and my point, addressed Bush’s motivation. The fact that the war in Iraq has been a spectacular failure doesn’t in any way affect the argument regarding ex ante motivations. The fact is, as this is borne out by the “Mission Accomplished” fiasco, Bush expected the Iraq war to go much more smoothly. And the expectation at that time was that a stable, America friendly Iraq would open up it’s vast oil reserves and provide another place for the US to get its oil.

    Again, just because that’s failed spectacularly, and Iraq hasn’t gotten it’s oil infrastructure to where it was expected, and that we’ve pissed off Iran into closing it’s doors and the rest of the Arab world continues to laugh at us all doesn’t matter. The point is, oil was part of the war calculus.

    I hear “Bush invaded Iraq for oil” and I never hear what a possible Bush motive (in terms of oil) would be to invade an oil producing country. Please explain what personal benefit (oil wise)Bush could possibly have sought by invading Iraq.

    It’s this: with Saddam in control, the Iraqi oil potential was not fully tapped, and exports weren’t flowing to America. Removing Saddam from power, and installing a “democracy” friendly to America, that would ultimately increase production and increase exports to America is a tangible and was an expected benefit of regime change.

    Again, the monumental failure to achieve that goal doesn’t do anything to argument regarding it being a motivating factor.

  6. I don’t mean this personally, but I think that it detracts from the advocate’s credibility when he not only argues but insists that dubious motives, including personal, financial, and egotistical, are what led a president to go to war – especially when to do so turns a blind eye to the many reasons to assume that the war was legitimate (see what Rob and I wrote) and when there are really no concrete reasons, other than rumor and innuendo, to support the other theories. And this is what is most unreasonable about your argument. You said:

    “Stop with the Republican party lines. Stop with the group think. And leave aside the “criticizing the President is unpatriotic” crap.”

    Except that I didn’t do that in my argument at all. In fact, in my next sentence I defended not only this Republican president but I said that no president (regardless of party) would commit such an act of depravity. I didn’t say anything about criticizing the president, or use Republican party lines. In the entire comment before, I gave an answer that was “lengthy” (by blog terms) describing why there is no inconsistency in the policy, which is what I believe.

    Here’s the irony (I don’t care if I’m using it improperly here) – Arguments like “we went to war for oil,” or “George W. Bush was settling a family score,” or “this was a war to line the pockets of Bush’s contributors,” are completely unsubstantiated and are precisely what the Democratic partisans and advocates and other conspiracy theorists have been arguing, without a shred of evidence. So I think that while you’re getting frustrated that I’m not budging from the party line, my arguments actually are rooted more in logic than the Michael Moore/aluminum-foil-hat alternative explanations that I’ve heard from anyone on the left.

  7. I’m with Adam on this one. Personally, if we have to go to war with North Korea, we should; but there’s a far greater danger in that we know they already have developed nuclear missiles, while Saddam was in the process of acquiring them.

  8. Here’s the difference:

    The arguments you suggest, while possibly persuasive, were not the arguments that were made in favor of war.

    If you’ll remember, the arguments made by the administration for war were:

    1. Banging the 9/11 drum. We were attacked, we must respond.

    2. Saddam has WMD’s.

    3. Saddam was connected to Al Qaeda, and therefore partially responsible for 9/11.

    4. Saddam’s a terrorist. This is a war on terror.

    Except that:

    1. Not relevant. Since Saddam actually had no connection to 9/11.

    2. This has been shown to be based on faulty evidence, that the administration knew was faulty. So why push it?

    3. Ah, but no he wasn’t. And the administration knew that too. SO why thump that one?

    4. Maybe. But shaky.

    So let’s see. There are a bunch of legitimate arguments for war and the administration makes a bunch of illegitimate ones.

    This creates a logical vacuum. It is in attempting to fill this vacuum (like Rashi on Torah, l’havdil) that we must attempt to understand what’s really going on. Because we’re not getting the whole story from the President.

    This isn’t conspiracy theories and tinfoil hats. It’s looking for the real story behind the one we got. Not to discredit the President, or to invent something, but because what we were told wasn’t the truth. So what was?

  9. “possibly persuasive…”

    sweet. I just won.

    Look, I agree with you that it would be better had the Administration been upfront all along about all the reasons. Personally, I think they didn’t do that because they felt the American public (and really the entire world population, since we were trying to convince other countries and the electorates of those countries as well) was not nuanced enough to understand the intricacies of history and international relations, and so they sold the war on what they believed was the most compelling argument. I think that’s a shame, for everyone involved.

    (I wrote the following paragraph, then realized it was a bit incoherent, so I added numbers to coincide with noyam’s points in the previous comment.)

    But I also think there is more truth to the administrations arguments than you say, (4) for this is a war on ideology, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and even though Saddam was not involved in 9/11 (which, just to be clear, the Administration did not say in its argument), (1) 9/11 nonetheless opened a new front in the war against this common ideology. What 9/11 did is make the need to disarm Saddam more urgent. (3) To address another point of yours, the Administration did not say that there was a Saddam/al Qaeda connection. What they said was that we can’t let one develop. They said that we should be worried about them teaming up. A lot of people on the left countered that by saying that al Qaeda and Saddam would never join together because they believe in different forms of Islam. But I think that was foolish, because history is full of examples where two countries who disagree on almost everything will help each other for common goals. What better examples than the United States helping Afghanistan against the Russians and Iraq against the Iranians. We certainly did not like the Afghanis or the Iraqis, but we disliked the Russians and Iranians more. (That list could go on endlessly.) (2) Next, the question of WMD’s (sorry for going out of order). Once again, the only faulty evidence was the extent of the nuclear program. We know with 100% certainty that Saddam had chemical weapons, and we knew with 100% certainty that he had the will to use them – because, of course, he used them before. In 1998, when UN inspectors were in the country, they verified that biological and chemical weapons were there. Then, Saddam threw them out. When they were allowed to return 4-5 years later, prior to the recent invasion, they did not find any WMD’s, but they also did not find any evidence that any WMD’s had been destroyed. And apparently, from what was said at the time, chemical and biological weapons cannot just be destroyed without either records or evidence found. So we know he had them in 1998, and five years later we can’t find them but we are pretty sure he didn’t destroy them. To me, that sounds like an even scarier threat. Now that we have hindsight, we see that this concern was, indeed, correct. Recently declassified documents now show that US forces have found over 500 munitions of chemical weapons since they entered Iraq. Some of them were degraded and unusable, but not all.

    There’s plenty to go with if you want to agree with the Administration.

  10. Noam,

    Firstly, the implication in your post was that just like the Iraq conflict was started on faulty grounds (Oil, family feud), invading NK today would also be faulty. What else could the following sarcastic line have implied?

    “So I ask, shouldn’t we be attacking North Korea, and imposing “Regime Change” on this “Rogue Nation” and finding Kim Jong Il in some spider hole?”

    Maybe I am misreading your tone but I think you are more than implying that this would be a silly thing to do. For the reasons delineated in my first comment – I don’t.

    Adam addressed the WMD and faulty intelligence points and I will not reiterate them. The only thing I would add on this front (pun intended) is that sometimes, for global geopolitical reasons and for the safety of our nation, presidents and others in authority must decide to act despite the fact that such actions are not entirely related to the triggering event.

    So for example WWI was started ostensibly over one incidnet but everyone knows there were a whole host of global reasons for the outbreak. Look at Israel’s current action in Gaza – the rationale is the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit but there are many other underlying reasons that caused Israel to reinvade – it’s no secret. So, despite the belief that there was no link b/w 9/11 and Iraq, our need to respond to 9/11 did not only mean responding to those who directly hit us. A strong response is not only to punish but to prevent future attacks as well. Again, there are more global reasons to act, even militarily, than simply punishing those who attacked us. The Cold War, Israel’s War of Atrition with Egypt and the occupation of southern Lebanon after the official war ended are perfect examples of this. You may not agree with invading Iraq in general but to simply say that b/c they allegedly had no direct hand in 9/11 that we shouldn’t have invaded is bad practice in my opinion. That’s why I wrote that we “had to respond broadly.” Pinpoint attacks on Al Qaida would not have been enough (again in my opinion).

    As for your oil argument, I would simply say that if your theory is correct, I see nothing wrong with it being an added bonus to toppling Saddam. I’m not saying that broadening a country’s oil production is a reason to invade it, but I think there is nothing wrong with that being an added benefit. This is a perfect example of a geopolitical factor in a president’s decision making process (again, not saying this should be the primary reason to start a war – imperialism is not something we generally practice). And if it was an underlying factor or an added bonus (albeit not the primary or terciary factor IMO) there is nothing wrong with the President not announcing it to the world. I would remind you that there were tremendous economic benefits to our involvement in WWII. What is interesting to me is that I have heard the complete opposite argument from those who push the “We invaded Iraq for Oil” crowd. It has been argued that Bush invaded Iraq to keep oil prices high in order to keep his friends in Texas happy. This is precisely why I don’t like the “Oil” argument b/c it can be spun both ways. Someone’s intent is always difficult to prove so to speculate in an unsubstantiated way to me is silly and often (maybe not in your case) disingenuos.

    Rob

  11. I suppose it comes down to this: You seem to implicitly trust the Bush Administration. I don’t.

    Given some of the episodes that have come to light involving some members of said Administration, you’ll have a hard time convincing me that they are trustworthy in any way, and that you aren’t foolhardy for trusting.

  12. My point with this:

    So I ask, shouldn’t we be attacking North Korea, and imposing “Regime Change” on this “Rogue Nation” and finding Kim Jong Il in some spider hole?

    was not that doing so would be bad, but rather that I think the same “Global War on Terror” should apply. And that I think that the reasons they are being treated differently relate more to bad reasons than to good ones, including oil interests and racism (Kim Jong Il isn’t a fundamentalist Muslim. That works in his favor.)

  13. I think it does apply to him and if he continues to laugh at the world and if it makes sense from a military and geopolitical point of view (both questions way out of my league), we should take him out. All I’m saying is that with Iraq there was an added reason to take out Saddam and that was to show the world (post 9/11) that we were militarily and emotionally strong. As if to say to Syria, Lybia, Iran and even Saudi Arabia “clean your shit up or you’re next” (again I’m not sure this was accomplished but on some level it was). This rationale may still apply to NK but I am inclined to say in this respect (and only in this respect) Kim Jong Il may be slightly different b/c we are alost 5 years removed from 9/11 and b/c it is a different region of the world. So in some respects not being an Islamic fundamentalist does matter.

    But more than that, I think that America’s less than 100% support of the President’s military decisions will have a great effect on his decision making process when it comes to NK. Of course some of his antics like the Mission Accomplished stunt have not helped in this regard. I am no huge fan of GWB. I think he’s done a fairly good job considering the hand he’s been dealt but only history will tell. I do think, however, that he was the best option to handle the current situation if the other choices were Al Gore and John Kerry.

    I think your boiling down of the argument to implicit trust of this administration vs. mistrust is fairly accurate (I think we have come to that conclusion in other discussions including the wiretapping) but I would say that while I don’t implicitly trust the administration, I also don’t think they are deviant schemers only looking out for their personal best interest rather than our country’s best interest. I think guys like Rumsfeld and Cheney have little to personally gain from their current positions and are very much looking out for the country’s interests. For this reason, I would need proof, not simply speculation, that they acted militarily for any reason other than for America’s best interest whether it was ultimately a good decision or not (IMO only time will tell).

    BTW, unlike the prescription drug argument where I was really just playing around with you, I thought (and still think a little bit) that your argument was that we should not go crazy w/ NK just like we should not have invaded Iraq. If it is not your opinion, it is certainly the opinion of the majority of the people on the left who think we can talk and mediate through every conflict. My reading of history tells me that unfortunately this is not the case.

    Rob

  14. I think guys like Rumsfeld and Cheney have little to personally gain from their current positions and are very much looking out for the country’s interests.

    You really think Cheney is pure of heart? How do you explain no-bid government contracts for his cronies at Haliburton?

    Come on, you can’t really think that Cheney has nothing to gain.

  15. including oil interests and racism (Kim Jong Il isn’t a fundamentalist Muslim. That works in his favor.)

    Noam, I think that’s wildly off base. First of all, who’s to say that if racism was a motive, we wouldn’t be more inclined to go after the Koreans? (It isn’t a factor, and so we’re not more inclined one way or another.) Second, KJI (can we use initials for him yet?) is ridiculed as being a nutcase – a scary psychopath nutcase. I don’t see how prejudices play any sort of role in this.

    The main factor is that one country (NK) is much stronger and harder to invade. Why is this rationale being so quickly disregarded?

  16. The guy already had his money in the bag. I honestly don’t think he generated a war to help enrich his friends (who are also already loaded). He may have helped them get government contracts but that is very different than starting a war(not that you ever argued that he started the war simply for Haliburton – I have to be careful here). I’m not oblivious to governmental abuses of power (in fact, I’m reading a great book about LBJ’s relationship w/ MLK Jr. called “Judgment Days” that details Hoover’s harassment of and spying on MLK) but I’m not a huge believer in crazy conspiracy theories either. I honestly don’t think that contracts for Haliburton played into Cheney’s decision making process when deciding to invade Iraq. Prove me wrong and I’ll agree with you – telling me he made a phone call to the defense Dept. to help Haliburton secure a contract and I’ll tell you “welcome to the world” – that’s the way it works.

    Rob

  17. Rob and Noam – I thought that noam was trying to say that the fact that we are leaving NK alone in the face of an even greater threat than Iraq posed (in his opinion, as documented by the links he posted), shows that the reasons the Bush Administration said that we went into Iraq were bogus. Because if they were real, it would have necessitated us going into NK as well. Noam, is this right?

  18. “The main factor is that one country (NK) is much stronger and harder to invade. Why is this rationale being so quickly disregarded?”

    The simple answer to your question is “Bush lied – people died”

    Rob

  19. Adam, I think your synopsis of Noam’s argument is accurate but Noam doesn’t like when I put words in his mouth so I will defer to him.

    Rob

  20. Right – I agree with Rob on his last point. Was there some funny business after the war was over? The circumstantial evidence seems to say possibly so. But that’s after the war, and a long, long way from saying that the war was undertaken for that purpose.

    I know that Noam never said that that was the purpose – but Noam did suggest that possibly there were some less than pure motives in starting the war, whether personal, financial, or whatever. While I think the war may have in some way touched on some of those issues (yes, he did finish his father’s war and take revenge on his father’s would be assassin; yes, he did end up making his cronies money) they were not the reasons for the war. As you have already reproached me for my “West Wing” mentality, I might as well use a line from it: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (bonus points if you can tell me what episode that’s from without looking it up). Literally, it means “after this, therefore because of this.” But, like correlation and causation, the mere fact that both events happened does not really mean that one happened because of the other.

  21. I don’t mean to put words in anyone’s mouth, I’m just telling you how I understood noam’s post. This is what I understood his point of view to be.

  22. Wow this comments section really exploded in a hurry.

  23. telling me he made a phone call to the defense Dept. to help Haliburton secure a contract and I’ll tell you “welcome to the world” – that’s the way it works

    No, see, that’s not the “way it works.” There are rules for who gets government contracts, and there are rules on bidding, and there are rules on nepotism, and since you, as a taxpayer and voter foot the bill for a bloated government contract, you should be much more offended by this than you seem to be.

    And, let me clarify: I don’t think Haliburton contracts were a motivation for war. However, since we have evidence of ex post dishonesty and lying (Plame? Haliburton?) by this administration, to me, makes the claims of ex ante dishonesty more credible. That’s why I am less inclined to defer to the President, simply because he says trust me.

    Adam, your synopsis is essentially correct. My post was intended more as a critique of the administration re: Iraq than exhorting any sort of action on Korea.

    As for the West Wing reference, “Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc” is the title of the episode, if I am not mistaken, and we didn’t lose Texas because of the joke.

  24. That’s correct. He lost Texas when he learned to speak Latin. It was the second episode of the first season.

  25. LEO
    What else?

    C.J.
    The Ryder Cup team is declining our invitation to come to the White House.

    LEO
    You’re kidding.

    C.J.
    Because of the joke.

    BARTLET
    You’re kidding.

    C.J.
    I’m not.

    Mrs. Landingham comes in and gives Bartlet his schedule.

    BARTLET
    The Ryder Cup team?

    C.J.
    It’s a group of the best golfers in the country…

    BARTLET
    I know what the Ryder Cup team is. Thanks Mrs. Landingham.

    C.J.
    Sir, this may be a good time to talk about your sense of humor.

    BARTLET
    [looks at his schedule] I’ve got an intelligence briefing, a security briefing,
    and a 90-minute budget meeting all scheduled for the same 45 minutes. You sure
    this is a good time to talk about my sense of humor?

    C.J.
    No.

    BARTLET
    Me neither.

    LEO
    What else?

    C.J.
    It’s just that it’s not the first time it’s happened.

    BARTLET
    I know.

    TOBY
    She’s talking about Texas, sir.

    BARTLET
    I know.

    C.J.
    U.S.A. Today asks you why you don’t spend more time campaigning in Texas and
    you say it’s ‘cause you don’t look good in funny hats.

    SAM
    It was “big hats.”

    C.J.
    What difference does it make?

    BARTLET
    It makes a difference.

    C.J.
    The point is we got whomped in Texas.

    JOSH
    We got whomped in Texas twice.

    C.J.
    We got whomped in the primary, and we got whomped in November.

    BARTLET
    I think I was there.

    C.J.
    And it was avoidable, sir.

    BARTLET
    C.J., on your tombstone, it’s gonna read, “Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.”

    C.J.
    Okay, but none of my visitors are going to be able to understand my tombstone.

    BARTLET
    Twenty-seven lawyers in the room, anybody know “post hoc, ergo propter hoc?”
    Josh?

    JOSH
    Uh, uh, post, after, after hoc, ergo, therefore, after hoc, therefore,
    something else hoc.

    BARTLET
    Thank you. Next?

    JOSH
    Uh, if I’d gotten more credit on the 443…

    BARTLET
    Leo?

    LEO
    After it, therefore because of it. [Josh, a little weirded out, looks]

    BARTLET
    After it, therefore because of it. It means one thing follows the other,
    therefore it was caused by the other, but it’s not always true. In fact, it’s
    hardly ever true. We did not lose Texas because of the hat joke. Do you know
    when we lost Texas?

    C.J.
    When you learned to speak Latin?

    BARTLET
    Go figure.

  26. I’m not offended b/c that kind of nepotism is every day stuff when dealing w/ beurocracies and companies large and small. Every politician and businessman has on some level done the exact same thing. It certainly does not make me distrust our president more than I would any other politician. Just look how the democrats pander to the plaintiff’s bar – while it makes me sick and I think it very much hurts our country (another topic altogether) it doesn’t surprise me that politicians would act a certain way to play up to their suppoerters. I’m not saying it’s a good thing it’s just not unusual – unfortunately – and it certainly doesn’t effect my view of the war in Iraq.

    Rob

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