From Jim Gilliam's blog archives

April 18, 2006 11:07 PM

SETTING: Sunday Talk Show

Joe Klein:Yeah, by all means, we should talk to them, but, on the other hand, we should not take any option, including the use of tactical nuclear weapons off the table.

Stephanopoulos: Keep that on the table?

Klein: It's absolutely stupid not to.

Stephanopoulos: That's insane.

SCENE CHANGE: The next day, Presidential press conference

Reporter: Sir, when you talk about Iran, and you talk about how you have diplomatic efforts, you also say all options are on the table. Does that include the possibility of a nuclear strike?

Bush: All options are on the table.

More from the archive in War and Peace.

Insane. (04.18.2006)

Next Entry: Fox News' Tony Snow offered white house press job (04.19.2006)
Previous Entry: So why isn't Rumsfeld being fired? (04.15.2006)

Read the 20 comments.


Stephanopoulos is a liberal; of course he’s going to react that way!

Diplomacy doesn’t work! Here’s why.

Diplomacy doesn’t work, Hitler signed a non-aggression treaty with Stalin and he later attacked the Soviet Union in WW2.

Diplomacy doesn’t work, President Kennedy had to threaten the USSR with war if they didn’t pull their ICBMs out of Cuba and they blinked.

Diplomacy doesn’t work, the North Vietnamese only came to the negotiation table after repeated heavy bombing by the US military (Operation Rolling Thunder).

Diplomacy doesn’t work, Iran only released the hostages because Reagan announced he would rescue them (once in office).

Diplomacy doesn’t work, it didn’t work in the cold war Reagan actively built up the military – made provocative statements (“tear down this wall”, “Evil Empire”); he walked out on negotiations to show the USSR his strength, which helped the U. S. win the cold war.

Diplomacy doesn’t work, we tried it thru the U.N. for a year ½ with Saddam and that didn’t work, he laughed at sanctions and circumvented them.

When face to face with this type of person/government/entity, if the other party does not believe you will follow thru with what ever you hold over them, they will have the advantage and will not take you seriously.
Remember Teddy Roosevelt “Speak softly and carry a big stick”

Wed Apr 19 2006 10:51 AM

Tom from Madison:

It takes more courage than the neo-cons have to wage peace. A lot has been invested in the war machine mentality that has taken over our country.

Still, if NJ's attitude remains US policy, we will have proved that we are no better than the biggest bully on the planet.

Peace through strength is the true high road. It's a pity those in charge are so blind they can't see it, or so weak they won't attempt it.

Wed Apr 19 2006 1:13 PM

Jim Gilliam:

Stephanoupolus didn't say it was insane because he's a liberal. he said it because:


Wed Apr 19 2006 2:19 PM


We fought a REVOLUTION because the king of England didn’t feel like negotiating with the colonies for/about proper representation for taxation.

Wed Apr 19 2006 3:24 PM



Refute my facts, state the case for diplomacy

P. S. After negotiations, economic and diplomatic sanctions, and military threats proved useless President Bush (41) ordered military action against Panama to remove Manuel Noriega from power in 1989.

Wed Apr 19 2006 3:45 PM

Right Wing Robby:

So you want to tell Iran that if they used a nuke on Isreal, we would nuke them back? Thats really smart.

I much prefer all options being on the table. Anything less is insane.

Thu Apr 20 2006 11:48 AM

Right Wing Robby:


So you want to tell Iran that if they used a nuke on Israel, we wouldN'T nuke them back? Thats really smart.

Thu Apr 20 2006 11:59 AM

Tom from Madison:


if you don't believe in diplomacy, you truly are a war monger. Debate is pointless. I begin with the assumpton that true peace is better than war. If you don't you are a fool.

I hope you come to your senses, but I will not debate that issue. It's simply the wrong question.

Thu Apr 20 2006 11:59 AM



I restate my comments from 19 APR 06:

"When face to face with this type of person/government/entity, if the other party does not believe you will follow thru with what ever you hold over them, they will have the advantage and will not take you seriously."

Remember Teddy Roosevelt “Speak softly and carry a big stick”

I (contrary to popular belief) am not a "war monger", I am a realist. I refuse to limit myself, my country or my country’s future defense when dealing with those that have declared themselves enemies of the United States and have vowed to destroy us.

You believe in “Peace thru Strength” then you believe/agree/concur with the Reagan model, of which I also believe in, we deal with these rouge nations from a position of strength and THEY will be much more honest in they’re dealing with us, then we’ll be able to “Trust but Verify”.

Thank you Tom, you have converted me I now believe in diplomacy, there is a glimmer of reason within you!

Thu Apr 20 2006 2:26 PM

Dave E.:

The "Reagan model", as the resident wingnut calls it, virtually was in the biz of creating those rogue nations, true to the balance of power geopolitical model that was the stage for the cold war. See a large portion of central and south america, apartheid south africa, selling weapons to Iran, and of course, Rummy and Hussein in Iraq for examples of tyrannical regimes Reagan backed. Realism also ultimately failed to predict the end of the cold war, by the way.

I'm not sure what brand of IR theory NJ subscribes to; he says realism, but his posts are usually pretty incoherent and paranoid on their face, so I'm not too sure he really knows himself. I was just humored to see him cite an IR theory as a basis for his paranoia. Realists are generally hardcore pro-force, but they're not crazy.

From the father of realism himself, Morgenthau says:
In international politics, the quality of diplomacy is the most important element of national power, however "unstable." Diplomacy "is the brains of national power, as morale is its soul."

Face it. Nobody has a monopoly on the future. To seriously consider nuclear preemptive strikes - to actively insinuate from the pulpit for that possibility - and to actually do it, would set the US back decades and wipe out what's left of the already shakey moral ground the US stands on. Most realists understand this view and subscribe to it appropriately. Just investigate who would stand to profit from such a disaster, and all trails lead to the WH and its corporate overlords.

Follow the money, and you'll find the answers to these crazy crazy issues.

Final note, another "spun poll" from that Dirty Bastion of Liberal Manipulation, Fox News.

04/20/06 FOX Poll: Gloomy Economic Views; Bush Approval at New Low
President Bush’s approval hits a record low of 33 percent this week."

Goddamn liberals!

Thu Apr 20 2006 3:11 PM

Dave E.:

Cite for Morgenthau above:

See point 4 from his 14 points in his canonized realist foundational work "Politics Among Nations".

Thu Apr 20 2006 3:13 PM



Again I stand by my comments of 19 APR 06.

Read that post again and say that diplomacy works, please site for me where diplomacy would have given us a better result in any of the situations I posted.

Time and again when diplomacy was tried, it only helped the opposing party rearm, fortify their positions, increase their numbers costing American lives in Vietnam and as recently as the current war in Iraq.

I don’t mean we should “talk” (for a certain amount of time), mean what you say, say what you mean and not limit ourselves (the people on the other end of the table will take care of that) and keep ALL options “on the table”.

P. S. Like it or not if it wasn’t for Reagan and the Republicans Eastern Europe would still be under the USSR’s heel and you can refute that with all the liberal speak you want but it wont change that fact.

Thu Apr 20 2006 3:51 PM

Dave E.:

Like Tom said, debate with somebody like you is pointless. By the time I'm done writing this post, I'll have already wasted too much of my time engaging your silly game of whack a fact. I don't think anybody was dumb enough to say diplomacy is bulletproof and will always work; so far the only person dumb enough to say anything so foolishly absolute is you when you proclaim proudly that diplomacy doesn't work, then toss out a few incoherent 'facts' that mostly pass for opinion or conjecture. I'm through talking to people that are irrational. You guys are the dead enders (h/t Tom) in this mess.

We're finally moving out of this ridiculous illusion of liberal v. conservative that the GOP constructed to divide the country while consolidating its power. Your stupid liberal rhetoric is stale and antiquated at this point. Send me a postcard when you finally wake up fringes of society land.

Thu Apr 20 2006 4:08 PM

Tom from Madison:


You only invoke the glory image of Reagan. How 'bout telling the truth to the Iraqi people? Who gave WMDs and satellite information on how to use them to Saddam Hussein? Iraqis don't trust us because Ronald Reagan sold them out once before.

Who funneled billions of $ through Afghanistan and helped put Osama Bin Laden in business? The world doesn't trust George Bush to fight terror because he has so much invested in it!


thanks for the infusion of sanity. If military largesse brought security, we'd have been safe a long time ago. What it brings is an insatiable temptation to use it for world domination.

We need to reduce the size of our military industrial complex ASAP. "Peace is the Way" is a wonderful book by Deepak Chopra.

Dave E is right. This isn't a liberal / conservative issue. Plenty of conservatives enjoy peace and recognize perpetual war against something is foolhardy.

Thu Apr 20 2006 4:40 PM

Dave E.:

What Digby said:

"Much of our safety in the post-Hiroshima world has relied on the fact that nuclear war is too horrible to contemplate. It's not just the horror of the explosions themselves, it's the visions of radiation sickness and cancer and deformities and half lives of thousands of years. It's apocalyptic (which may be why the Left Behind faction thinks this is such a great idea.) For the sane among us, letting the nuclear genie out of the bottle is simply unthinkable. It's not and never can be "on the table" because once you start talking about it as if it's just another form of warfare somebody is going to do it."

Sat Apr 22 2006 12:15 AM

Dave E.:

Oops. This is the link to what Digby said. Read it all.

Sat Apr 22 2006 12:17 AM

Tom from Madison:

Republicans and America lack a real leader right now. It's only recently that Republicans have realized the folly of rallying behind a figurehead who can't be trusted to do his any of his own thinking.

Add to that mix the corruption that is following Rove, DeLay, Frist, and others around. Since Republicans have taken over we've had very little national debate, conversation, etc. about policy. Mostly we've had a series of schemes hatched with no alternatives discussed.

What we need is a leader who will stand up for world peace and talk about how we can get there as a country and a world. Bush's obsession with threats and the military is only weakening us all.

Sat Apr 22 2006 2:37 PM



Please give the WHOLE story about Osama & Saddam. History is full of allies that became enemies at one time or anther and the same can be said for the reverse, case in point WW2: Italy, Germany, Japan enemies of the U. S. now allies, China during WW2 was afraid of the then super power Japan, my how times have changed.

The cases for Osama & Saddam are similar: we aided them against mutual enemies (USSR & Iran)"The enemy of my enemy is my friend".

Surely you have befriended people that have betrayed you at one time or another. This happens in the business world as well as in personal circles. Should we choose “better friends”? ABSOLUTELY!!!! Should we pick and choose or allies with better care? NOT JUST YES BUT HELL YES!!!! We should also worry about our “friends” hidden agendas like those in our government who have done everything in there power to undermine the President, and since these people lost power they’ve done everything in their power those who support the President: Rumsfeld Generals calling for his resignation well you could only find SIX?!?!?!? Out of all generals that are still alive only SIX well if they had the courage of their convictions they should have resigned their commissions BECAUSE of their beliefs they are purely driven by politics & greed, how many of them have books on the market right now ?

Roves being investigated for a non-crime – tax dollars being wasted by the democrats because they are sore losers, the politics of personal destruction are alive and well and living in the democrat party.

Delay has had another charge dropped but yet the which hunt continues.

I have no comment on First…YET!
And you Dave, I know exactly where your head is at, you tipped your hand to me with this “Morgenthau” site and I can sum up in one phrase “The instrument of accommodation is diplomacy. Diplomacy must be transformed in order to successfully fulfill a function that will create the conditions necessary for the emergence of a world society, and hence, a world state”
You all seek to subvert the sovereignty of this nation and when some one goes against this agenda you and your ilk do all you can to destroy that person, destroy those around him and if by the way you embolden those who seek the destruction of America – SO BE IT we’ll deal with that when we’re on office, WE’LL GIVE THEM SECRETS OR MOST FAVORED NATION TRADING STATUS – or we’ll “CONTAIN” them like Bosnia, like Somalia. And if by chance another 9/11 style make American streets red with blood well, we’ll just “TALK”, we’ll “NEGOTIATE”, and we’ll use “DIPLOMACY”.
QUESTION: Why is it that when the President gets heckled, no-one is brought up on charges (disturbing the peace, something) but when a woman decides to confront the President of China about his countries human rights violations SHE’s got to defend herself in court!

I’ll be away for about a week but I know you will all put the badmouth on my in your own personal way.

Sun Apr 23 2006 6:05 PM

Tom from Madison:


Actions have consequences. Do you really expect Iraqis whose families were gassed in the 1980s to forgive the US because Ronald Reagan had a score to settle with the USSR? What a about torture that Saddam did before the first Iraq war? The US was well aware of what was going on.

This is not just an academic question. The leaders of other powers allied with the US today [eg Uzbekistan] are torturing their own people today.

Aside from being immoral, such obvious hypocracy is strategically very stupid and short-sighted. We have made it very difficult to have allies. We simply aren't believable proponents of world peace.

I'd like to see this country be a real champion of human rights. To qualify, we must walk the talk. Bush has taken us backwards. What we need to do now is remove him from office ASAP!

Mon Apr 24 2006 6:18 PM


"Do you really expect Iraqis whose families were gassed in the 1980s to forgive the US because Ronald Reagan had a score to settle with the USSR?" Tom I bet you are the type that believes that because a conmpany manufactures guns that THEY are responsible for that gun being used in a crime instead of the blame going to the criminal, you blame the tool/instrument used when you should blame the criminal!

Other countries are torturing their people too - I agree, I'm still waiting for Bush to invade Cuba to help in THOSE human rights abuses.

"I'd like to see this country be a real champion of human rights." - So 50 million loiberated people mean nothing to you??? No more rape rooms, no more torture chambers no more mass graves, hows that for human rights. Name one other country that has freed that many people.

Dont you believe defeating evil for "WORLD PEACE"?????

Fri Apr 28 2006 9:27 PM

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