Tuesday, December 05, 2006

# Posted 12:00 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE ORIGINAL OXBLOGGER: That's right. Josh Chafetz, the founder of this very blog, had a major column on the NYT op-ed page this past Saturday [yes, subscription required]. Ever the Constitutional scholar, Josh reminds us that the Founding Fathers reserved for Congress the right to discipline its own members, just as the House of Commons does in Britain.

Here are his specific recommendations for how Congress should throw the book at its in-house miscreants:
Each chamber’s ethics committee should have a regular and well-publicized system by which anyone can bring complaints against members.

These complaints should be taken seriously, and if initial investigation turns up evidence sufficient to warrant rational suspicion, the committee should hold open hearings. The hearings should not be dependent on or derivative of criminal investigations launched by the Justice Department.

A good model might be the procedures used by the British Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, an office created in 1995 and given the job of standardizing complaint procedures and conducting initial investigations into allegations of improprieties by members of Parliament.

Perhaps most important, in light of the Mark Foley page scandal, a member who knows of wrongdoing by a colleague and fails to file a complaint should be held in contempt of Congress.
I hope someone on the Hill is listening.
(15) opinions -- Add your opinion

What you are talking about is corruption and it was listed by 41% of voters as an extremely important issue in the exit polls following the November midterms.

David gets it wrong in summarizing Chafetz: Ever the Constitutional scholar, Josh reminds us that the Founding Fathers reserved for Congress the right to discipline its own members ....

No such reservation exists. While sitting Congressmen can and have been prosecuted by the executive branch before the judicial branch, disciplining Congress is ultimately left to the voters.

What Chafetz said is that "The Republican leadership lost the confidence of voters in part because they were seen to care more about the perks of power than about the duty of representation."

The internal rules of the House and Senate matter little and are easily ignored and gotten around. It may sound quaint, but we still depend on the individual vote, which makes Republican attempts to disenfranchise voters all the more disgusting.
I love the idea, however the cynic in me wonders how realistic any kind of ethics reform (especially involving MORE openess) is considering most congressmen don't wan't term limits.

However Mrs. Pelosi did say that this will be the most ethical congress ever...
Speaking of Chafetz, why were all his previous posts deleted from the blog?
Other since-departed Ox-bloggers haven't been deleted.
David Sez:

ANOTHER JAPAN? Josh Marshall ruminates about the tremendous difficulty of transforming Iraq and concludes that the only right thing to do is go all out to promote democracy. But he warns that anything less than wholehearted commitment will result in both failure and a backlash throughout the Arab world.

One point is take issue with is Marshall's argument that those who compare Iraq to Germany and Japan

miss an important part of why Germany and Japan worked. It's called World War II. One of the reasons the Germans and the Japanese stood still for what we accomplished in their countries is that we had just spent a couple years thoroughly bludgeoning their countries. Day and night bombing against major population centers, the disruption of the economies, the very real threat that if it wasn't us it'd be the Russians taking over, etc.

By 1945, we had pretty much destroyed the Germans' and Japanese' will to fight. And they were pleasantly surprised when they discovered how relatively benign our rule was. The same set of circumstances won't apply to Iraq. And that should be a cause of real concern.

I'm surprised Marshall thinks the "same set of circumstances won't apply to Iraq." But everyone there has suffered for years because of Saddam's corruption and brutality. While some Iraqis might blame the West for sanctions, the Japanese and Germans would have been able to make an even stronger case for blaming the Allies for their carpet bombing.

Moreover, I think there is every reason to believe that Iraqis will be pleasantly surprised when they discover how relatively benign our rule is.

Thanks David
Here's another good one:
David Sez:

LESSONS OF KOSOVO: Paul Wolfowitz seems to agree with OxBlog that ethnic violence will not present a serious threat to postwar Iraq, despite its devastating effects in Kosovo.

As Wolfowitz told the NYT, Iraq's "ethnic groups have not had decades of slaughtering one another as happened in the Balkans. The problem in Iraq is a regime that slaughters everybody, it's equal opportunity repression,' he said." Sounds sorta like an evil version of the 14th amendment...

Thanks DAVID!
David Sez:

Thursday, February 13, 2003

# Posted 9:00 PM by David Adesnik
HORNET'S NEST: "Why must the United States attack Saddam Hussein if that will only anger much of the Islamic world?"

The WaPo has one answer to this question: that the United States unwillingness to back a decisive intervention in the Middle East is precisely the reason why lesser attacks such as the first WTC bombing, the Khobar towers explosion, the twin embassy explosions and the attack on the USS Cole led to the climactic terrorist assault on 9/11.

Rather than offer a second answer, I'd like to challenge the question's premise, i.e. that an American invasion of Iraq will provoke a harsh fundamentalist response.

Thanks David
David Sez:

Posted 3:18 PM by David Adesnik
WE CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH: Responding to Chris Mooney, Kevin says bloggers are rarely honest enough to admit their mistakes.

I don't have numbers on this one, but I sense bloggers actually are pretty good about admitting mistakes, since they know that their credibility and their readership will disappear overnight if they are no better than their competitors.

Thanks David!
My personal favourite, just to join in:

David Adesnik:
DOLLARS AND SENSE: Some of my anti-war friends have been hyping Yale economist William Nordhaus' estimate that a war would cost $1.6 trillion, if one takes into account its costs on stock and oil markets.

If one ignores, for the moment, indirect costs such as the impact of war on global markets, it is clear that the actual cost of fighting Saddam, including a military occupation, will come in at under $200 billion.

(how did this guy get his PHD?)
Anon 2:08, Josh chose to remove all of his own posts from the archives. It was our loss, but Josh had every right to do so.

As for the rest of you Anons, I appreciate your spending so much of your free time in our archives.

If I may tweak you a bit, let me point out that on November 16th, I reproduced the same post about Wolfowitz that you mention above (2:26pm).

As that post and others indicate, OxBlog has no reservations about a direct reckoning with its earlier statements. I am confident enough in the overall quality of my analysis that I don't see any threat in a compilation of my errors, actual or alleged.

I am glad to put my name on what I write. That is what ensures accountability.
PS For all those concerned with OxDem, let me point out that its website no longer exists. In addition, its URL seems to have been taken an over by a provider of explicit "adult" content.

Regardless, I am proud of OxDem's principles and of what it sought to accomplish, even though it enjoyed less success and less longevity than I'd hoped.
To be clear, I am not one of those publishing quotations, but I have looked most of them up, and, from all I can tell, these 'alleged' 'earlier statements' are entirely yours (David's). I'm sure David recalls everything he's written. The only question is, why haven't these predictions and evaluations been addressed before? At least, in any kind of constructive way. I think, combined, many of David's statements underscore some big problems in his general analytical approach. Perhaps OxBlog could do a formative examination of their past remarks over the last three years, and report back, rather than endure a continuation of this 'David Sez' thing. The sheer disconnect between the eventual reality of international affairs, and OxBlog's analysis, demands it.
Anon 7:18, first a quick clarification. By referring to "errors, alleged or actual" I did not mean to deny authorship of any of the statements above. Rather, I meant to suggest that some of them expressed valid points, even though they were quoted as a demonstration of my analytical failure.

Second of all, I do see merit in your suggestion of a "formative examination of [my] past remarks over the last three years." Now, I don't want to write a term paper about myself, since that sort of navel gazing tends not to excite too many readers.

However, I will continue to produce periodic posts, like the November 16th post mentioned above, in which I devote several paragraph to a post-mortem of my mistakes.

In addition, you and other readers are more than welcome to produce your own analyses, which might serve as a useful complement to the "greatest mistakes" list of which the other Anon is so fond.
To be honest, I really don't think that, without anons publishing 'greatest mistakes' lists, you (David) would ever really have been compelled to engage in a retrospective evaluation. OxBlog is a blog - one which (gladly) took to task other literature and online commentaries - producing posts greatly equivalent in their ire to any recent 'greatest mistakes' lists.

It is also one blog amongst many, and should be judged accordingly; specifically, for past utility as an (accurate) analytical tool for political and international affairs.

The bottom line is: If it hasn't been, for the majority of time, a precise or accurate tool for considering international politics, then it has a low utility value. The same would be said of any blog. It is only fair that this should be considered in the case of OxBlog.
AH, the internet can be so cruel.

SO as not to allow the whole focus to be on David, cast an eye over the hyperbole of the 'original Oxblogger', Mr Chafetz himself:

"In my name, we have fought one of the most humane wars in history. Damage to civilian infrastructure has been kept to an absolute minimum. Indeed, coalition forces went out of their way to kill as few enemy soldiers as possible! Coalition deaths have been remarkably light - far fewer than the 5,000 many predicted, and, thus far, far fewer even than the more than 380 Americans alone who died in the first Gulf War. Civilian casualties, too, have been kept low - as of this writing, even the absurdly inflationary figures of the Iraq Body Count Project show fewer than 1,850 dead, somewhat less than the tens of thousands predicted by some before the war started."


"So, to my friends in the anti-war movement: you were right. None of what has transpired so far has done so in your name, and none of what transpires in Iraq in the future will do so in your name. Not in your name, in mine."

That's pretty black and white, no....?
Yea, that's pretty good.
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