War And Fog

Down in the comments to neo’s post on Gen. Sherman, commenter takhallus and I had a small disagreement over the origins of the term ‘fog of war’.

I pulled out the original Clausewitz quote (which I think supported my position), and it seems like such a good thing to remind ourselves of that I thought I’d pull it up into a post. From ‘On War‘:

24. THIRD PECULIARITY.–UNCERTAINTY OF ALL DATA.

Lastly, the great uncertainty of all data in War is a peculiar difficulty, because all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight, which in addition not unfrequently–like the effect of a fog or moonshine–gives to things exaggerated dimensions and an unnatural appearance.
What this feeble light leaves indistinct to the sight talent must discover, or must be left to chance. It is therefore again talent, or the favour of fortune, on which reliance must be placed, for want of objective knowledge.

That want of objective knowledge is something we all have to deal with in this matter – the military, the media, the policymakers, and us in the public.

31 thoughts on “War And Fog”

  1. Its a truism of battle that both sides often think they are losing. The side the believes it more usually ends up being correct.

  2. The imprecision of information is of course a problem in all endeavors. We’ve even a distant variation in quantum mechanics where where Heisenberg tells us that at the quantum level it is forbidden that we have all knowledge.

    But “Fog of war” is discussing the problem as it occurs in warfare. At all levels of warfare, tactical, operational and strategic, each participant has limits to their knowledge of the position, forces, capabilities, readiness, objectives and plans of the other side. Often there is even a limit to the participants knowledge of the position, and readiness of his/her own forces or even whether or not commands have been received or acted upon. What makes warfare a unique field for this problem is that every decision must be made in a time-critical fashion. There is always a tradeoff between the realization that later might hold more precise information but a better decision made later might be less decisive than a bad decision made earlier.

    Overall, knowledge becomes less reliable during the course of a particular movement, battle, operation or campaign. The best commanders in history were able to understand the effects of fog of war on their own decision-making. The truly great commanders in history were able to use the effects of fog of war to affect the decision-making of their opponents.

  3. It should be remembered that the “fog of war” quote is from Clauswitz’s discussion of the difficulty of coming up with a “General Theory of War” that can be applied in all instances. The “uncertainty of all data” is what interferes with the creation of a “general theory” applicable in all instances (Clauswitz isn’t saying that the “uncertainty of data” makes informed decision-making impossible, he’s saying it makes the application of a theory of war impossible. )

    Another Clauswitz quote, offered without comment…

    26. MEANS LEFT BY WHICH A THEORY IS POSSIBLE (THE DIFFICULTIES ARE NOT EVERYWHERE EQUALLY GREAT).

    Two means present themselves of getting out of this difficulty. In the first place, what we have said of the nature of military action in general does not apply in the same manner to the action of every one, whatever may be his standing. In the lower ranks the spirit of self-sacrifice is called more into request, but the difficulties which the understanding and judgment meet with are infinitely less. The field of occurrences is more confined. Ends and means are fewer in number. Data more distinct; mostly also contained in the actually visible. But the higher we ascend the more the difficulties increase, until in the Commander-in-Chief they reach their climax, so that with him almost everything must be left to genius.

  4. While I have studied very little theory of war, it seems clear that the fog heavily favors guerrilla forces over standing arms. For the simple reason that guerrilla forces give very little information about the size and organization of their attacking forces. This seems to be very clear in the civil, vietnam and current war on terror. While our chess peices may be all queens, we often know very little about the location, and number of knights on the board.

  5. Oh come on luka, Clausewitz wasn’t surely talking about a commander-in-chief as G.W. Bush is commander-in-chief of the US Armed Forces. I think General Franks or Abizaid would be a better comparison.

  6. luka, you’re completely misconstruing what Clausewitz meant by ‘theory,’ which really means simply ‘management.’ Go to the beginning of the section I cite and read his explanation. This is entirely consistent with the other uses of ‘theory’ in economics and social sciences at the time.

    A.L.

  7. it seems clear that the fog heavily favors guerrilla forces over standing arms. For the simple reason that guerrilla forces give very little information about the size and organization of their attacking forces.

    The fog of war is indeed the guerrilla’s friend, especially when the enemy does his work for him by exaggerating the size and effectiveness of the guerrilla’s forces.

    It’s also one of his worst enemies, though. Guerrillas can’t afford surprise collisions with forces that are invariably superior to his own.

  8. Fabio…
    I disagree. Clausewitz is talking about the very top of the chain, because that is where the biggest strategic (and tactical?) decisions are made — and where the key personnel decisions are made.

    **********

    AL… I get that. I also get that Clauswitz is really talking about making decisions in “twilight” — and not in a “fog”– and is saying that in twilight appearances CAN be, but are not necessarily, decieving — and that the “uncertainly of data” is simply saying that while things probably are what they appear to be, we can’t be absolutely certain.

    What I have a problem with is the implications of your statement….

    That want of objective knowledge is something we all have to deal with in this matter – the military, the media, the policymakers, and us in the public.

    When Clausewitz talks about “a want of objective knowledge” he’s talking about a lack of complete, perfect knowledge, rather than knowledge that should be questioned because it is subjective.

    Yet, it appears that you are trying to use Clauswitz to suggest that “things might be better than we think, because of the ‘uncertainty of all data’. You also seems to be saying “don’t trust the media, because its not ‘objective'”.

    While there may be a “want of perfect, complete knowledge” there is sufficient knowledge to understand where the war in Iraq is heading….and while we still don’t have enough “objective knowledge” to say exactly where its gonna end up, we know its not going to be a good place.

    That why “talent” is necessary for those analyzing the alternatives and examining the hypotheticals, and why “genius” is required at the very top — you need smart people to come up with viable alternatives, and you need a very smart person to choose between those alternatives — or reject all the alternatives offered, and find smarter people.

  9. An interesting trait I have noticed in my more liberal friends is the desire to have an “alpha male” — the uber-man — in the office of president. As if somehow to be a leader requires supreme abilities.

    One of the things I learned in my twenties is that you’re not the smartest person in the room — whoever you are. Being a leader is not being a genius, it is being able to coordinate geniuses.

    I think that’s a critical point. Every management book I know about doesn’t say “promote the smartest person”, it says promote the people who can assemble and coordinate the best teams.

  10. An interesting trait I have noticed in my more liberal friends is the desire to have an “alpha male” — the uber-man — in the office of president. As if somehow to be a leader requires supreme abilities.

    you either don’t understand liberals, or the concept of “alpha males” — the final sentence suggest the latter.

    “Alpha males” are the ones who have the most talents or abilities, they are the ones with the greatest will to dominate (in politic, the “will to power” or “desire to provide leadership”)

    That will to lead is something that most people want in a leader regardless of ideology — leadership requires the exercise of power (domination), and someone who is not comfortable with the exercise of power isn’t going to make a very good leader.

    If anything, liberals place a lower priority on “alpha maleness” than do conservatives — we value knowledge and competence, which exists separate and distinct from the will to lead, and really aren’t all that comfortable with agression — one of the prime characteristics of the Alpha male.

    Bill Clinton was probably (from the standpoint of general attributes) the perfect “liberal” candidate — not merely knowledgeable and competent, but someone with a strong will to lead who did not present himself as agressive.

    I think conservatives are more “alpha male” purists…but tend to confuse the presentation of an “alpha male” image with actual “alpha maleness”. Reagan was Alpha, but not a “strong alpha” — but when it came to projecting an Alpha image, nobody could touch him. GWB is, imho, a “faux alpha” — what appear to be alpha characteristics are actually a sense of personal entitlement (a sense of a right to exercise power rather than a will to do so.)

  11. I usually don’t correct my posts, because when I screw something up, its so obviously at odds with my point that people understand (if not think they see) what was intended.

    But the above error is not one of those instances…Therefore the first sentence of the second paragraph should read…

    “Alpha males” are NOT the ones who have the most talents or abilities,

  12. From Wikipedia:

    “The status of the alpha is generally achieved by means of superior physical prowess. However, in certain highly social species such as the bonobo, a contender can use more indirect methods, such as political alliances, to oust the ruling alpha and take his/her place.”

    I’m not a biologist and I do not play one on TV. I even haven’t stayed at a Holiday Inn recently, so I’m relying on common usage and the Wikipedia. I’m more of an Omega male myself. I hang back in the pack smoking cigarettes and make fun of all of the beta and gamma males.

    We’re a bit off-topic. My point was that the Clausewitz quote was incomplete and misleading, at best.

  13. We’re a bit off-topic. My point was that the Clausewitz quote was incomplete and misleading, at best.

    oops…yes, I did go way off topic.

    But to address your original point…

    Clauswitz didn’t say military leaders needed to be “smart” or “intelligent”, but that they needed “talent”. I interpreted Clauswitz’s call for a “genius” as Commander in Chief as someone of extra-ordinary “talent”.

    In other words, I don’t think there is really much space between your management books and Clauswitz… in fact, I think he would agree that “talent” was (among other things) a measure of “promoting the people who can assemble and coordinate the best teams”

  14. luka,

    To think that we know where the war is headed is probably false. As Hart points out in “Strategy” when you are dealing with opposing forces certainty is not in the cards.

    It is also a difficult question in free speech regimes vs closed societies. We know how bad we are hurting. We have little information on the difficulties the enemy is facing.

    Plus there is always the factor of shifting alliances.

    The war is at this point stabilized, we know the price we will pay to say. What is unknown is the price we will pay if we leave. The Saudi entrance into the equation is a case in piont.

    The question economically is: will a general war in the Middle East cost us more than the price we are paying to stay? That is the unknown. Will Iranian/Syrian control of Iraq be worse for us than the war we are in?

    Then the moral element comes in. Will it be easier to make alliances if we abandon the Iraqis or harder? Will being seen as the weak horse embolden our enemies or weaken them?

    It took 15 or 20 years after the fall of Vietnam for the USA to regain its moral position. Can we afford that?

    There are many dimensions to consider.

    If you take Clauzwitz at face value, he says moral forces in war predominate. He gives a factor of 3 to 1. To be undefeated on the battle field and yet to give up shows great moral weakness. You can see that effect in the run up to WW2. By ceeding the moral ground to the Austrian Corporal, the allies started WW2 at a great disadvantage. By January of 1941 the betting was on the Axis side.

    So the question is will this retreat you suggest be the cause of a greater war where the difficulties will be multiplied or will retreat gain us an advantage?

    I’m betting retreat will lead to a bigger war, with our side at a great disadvantage. YMMV. In any case prediction is very difficult. Especially about the future.

  15. Luka,

    Id like to correct your statement about Alphas:

    Sucessful “Alpha males” are NOT necessisarily the ones who have the most talents or abilities.

    However, that is the way to bet.

  16. Daniel:

    An interesting trait I have noticed in my more liberal friends is the desire to have an “alpha male” — the uber-man — in the office of president. As if somehow to be a leader requires supreme abilities.

    Exactly. But the Alpha Person also exercises god-like authority over culture, commerce, and even the weather, after the manner of pagan agricultural deities.

    Besides giving meaning to existence itself, the Alpha Person also performs routine emotional functions for his followers. If something bad happens, he is supposed to go on television and show everybody how they should feel about it. If he fails to perform this absolutely vital function in a satisfactory manner, liberals become very confused and angry. Confusion and anger being their default emotions.

    Being a god, the Alpha Person is also supposed to demand sacrifices. His worshippers, who are generally not self-starting types, get very upset if he doesn’t demand sacrifices.

  17. luka,

    Wars never end in a good place. The question is: bad or worse.

    We are in a bad place. So can we make it better? What actions are needed to move in that direction? Can we make it worse? What actions will move us in that direction?

    Take the battle for Italy in WW2. Very difficult esp. Anzio. Would we have been better off giving up on Anzio? Or was the moral effect worth the price? The same goes for the battle of C a s i n o. A bloody effort with numerous repulses. Was it worth it?

    I think the attitude of victory at all costs makes subsequent victories easier. Sherman in the Civil War is a case in point. Sherman’s foragers used to get the enemy to retreat simply by calling out “We are Sherman’s bummers. You had better git.” Grant had the same effect by advancing after his repulse in the Wilderness.

    Assuming we are defeated in Iraq we ought to take the attitude that we will advance anyway. Why? Because a relentless enemy demoralizes the opposition.

  18. #10: That was one of the most perfect peices of self-deception I have ever seen.

    Bill Clinton was nothing if not an archetypal Alpha male. In fact, he was a career Alpha male – starting in High School – who have never accomplished much of anything and who never did accomplish much of anything except winning praise from admirers and obtaining the priviledges he believed he rightfully deserved. Did not seem agreesive??? Who are we talking about? Bill Clinton of the famous raging temper? Bill Clinton the poor Arkansan who from an early age swore to everyone he met that he would be President one day? Bill Clinton for whom everything was for sale? Bill Clinton, whose principles famously blew which ever way the winds of popularity were going? Bill Clinton the womanizer and serial adulterer, who smoked cigars while recieving blow jobs in the oval office? If that is not a Alpha Man power trip, if that is not machismo and a will to power, then I don’t know what is.

    Bill Clinton never evidenced any special knowledge whatsoever. Indeed, his foreign was as disasterous as could be imagined in a time of otherwise peace and power. It’s hard to think that a more ignorant approach to the worlds troubles could be devised than his policies in Pakistan, North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Israel and elsewhere. Moreover he never demonstrated any special compotence for anything except obtaining glory for himself, and for that matter he never showed any especial desire for anything expect to excercise power and recieve adoration.

    You say to us that you liberals are not especially attracted to magnetic and ambitious men. Yet when asked to pick your ideal leader, you pick one known for little more than his magnetism and ambition. You conversely cast GWB in the role of the magnetic alpha male – the Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast if you will – yet it is a role for which he is uniquely ill-suited with his stuttering speach, awkward and ungainly appearance, and self-consciousness on camera. GWB has no especial charisma and magnetic appeal. Who do you in your minds eye picture as being the phyiscally larger man? Bill Clinton or George W. Bush? Think about it. Who do you picture at an unconscious level having larger stature than Bill Clinton?

    Not even the people who voted for GWB think him much of a public speaker or statesmen. If they seek to praise him, they praise him for being ordinary, not extraordinary.

  19. In any case prediction is very difficult. Especially about the future.

    M. true. But I’m uncannily accurate about my predictions of the past. ;)

  20. #18

    “Not even the people who voted for GWB think him much of a public speaker or statesmen. If they seek to praise him, they praise him for being ordinary, not extraordinary.”

    You frame this in the third person as if you are not amongst those who voted for GWB.

    Somehow I get the sense that this may not be the case.

    Am I correct? And if so, in which specific elections?

    And secondly, do you agree or disagree with “those who seek to praise him for his ordinariness”?

    In other words, are you in agreement that “those who think him ordinary” also think that average person in America is a completely selfish, spoiled, rich and priviledged moron who acts impuslively and is content to leave it to their superiors or successors to clean up the ensuing mess?

    Of course my point is that GWB is anything but ordinary by pretty much all rational measures, so my question to you is: is/was it accurate to classify his as such?

  21. Andy X: First, you are presenting a false dilemna along the lines of “Do you still beat your wife?” Secondly, you are making an irrelevant argument. Even if I agreed with your ham handed characterization, it wouldn’t change my basic point that GWB is hardly a model of magnetism and charisma. In fact, since you feel the need to change the subject, I feel pretty safe in concluding that you concede the point.

    As for who I voted for, I’ve never made a secret that I voted against the man running against GWB twice. I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I was not entirely happy to make that choice, but I’ve never found cause to regret it either, and in general felt that the subsequent actions of his opponents justified my preference.

    As for my assessment of GWB, I’ve long suggested that he is a mediocre President in a time which demands greatness and he’s simply not up to the challenge. The records of my disappointment with this President are scattered far and wide ’round the internet, including here at winds. Feel free to google. In particular, his domestic policies have been nearly as disasterous as his predecessors foreign policy and we will be paying the cost of that for decades. Likewise, among other things, you can hardly believe that I’m happy with the military leadership of someone who has refused to expand the military back to its fighting strength in the midst of a time of war, if I also chastised his predessor for squandering our strength in a time of peace.

    (It’s worth noting that my displeasure with this President has nothing to do with agreeing with you about anything, a point often lost on people who accuse me of ‘blind devotion to Bush’ whenever I disagree with then since we are without a doubt displeased about entirely different things.)

    But my opinion of GWB is irrelevant to a discussion of what is attractive about Bill Clinton to his supporters. So back on the topic of alpha males, in Bill Clinton’s case, I think that there is considerable evidence that sexual attractiveness was one of the things which was attractive about Bill Clinton. It would be difficult to find anyone who thinks of GWB as a ‘stud’.

  22. Well, you could have gone back to Sun Tzu. He said you needed to use DECEPTION as a tool of war.

    And, you could have reached conclusions from WW1. Where the TRUTH of the carnage did not reach the public light, until the publication of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, which I think was circa 1928.

    In other words, the propaganda that gets heard, first, is the drumbeat of patriotism. Which can lead to mistakes.

    In Iraq? Bush promised “democracy.” And, then only backed candidates to his liking from the SUNNI part of the menu. Including Chalabi. Who arrived (per Woodward’s new book), in the 2nd week of Tommy Franks’ invation. AND, HE SET ABOUT LOOTING AND KILLING SHI’A. Nobody interferred. So, you could say the MOTIVES of Bush were obviously TREASONOUS to AMerica’s SELF-INTEREST. WHile to the Bush’s? Instructions from Riyadh always worked.

    There’s a lot of stuff up on the ropes, now.

  23. AL:

    “The fog of war,” like many such phrases, comes to have meanings beyond the original use. You understand, for example, that “The devil to pay,” no longer refers to sealing the deck of a wooden ship, right? English is a living language, and my use of the term was entirely accurate.

    But I’ll tell you what. If it will help you cope with the fact that you’ve been wrong chapter and verse on the most important foreign policy issue of our time, and that your error has contributed to the worsening of the situation because you were busy denouncing the very people whose advice might have salvaged the mess, I’ll be happy to concede that you were better acquainted with Clausewitz’s use of that particular term.

    Feel better?

  24. OR to put it another way…..
    “As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

  25. b campbell…

    yeah, but if we know that there are unknowns that we don’t know we don’t know, aren’t there also unknowns that we don’t know that we don’t know that we don’t know?

  26. #21

    “As for who I voted for, I’ve never made a secret that I voted against the man running against GWB twice. ”

    “As for who I voted for, I’ve never made a secret that I voted against the man running against GWB twice.”

    This is so good it deserves to be repeated twice more, Celebrim.

    I’m not sure whether to treat this artless dodge as a welcome sign that you are too embarrassed (rightfully so) to admit pulling the lever FOR Bush TWICE, and embrace your hint of contrition, or to take advantage of the rope you just handed me whose other end is around your neck.

    So let’s at least begin with a request that you further clarify this honker.

    First, can you tell me what kind of voting machine you use that allows you to cast votes AGAINST candidates?

    Second, both in 2000 and in 2004, SEVERAL men, not one, were running for president in addition to GWB. Or “against him”, as you put it.

    But I take it that you mean Gore and Kerry were “The Man”.

    In which case, you could have cast your vote for Larouche, Nader, or any other candidate not named BUSH in order to achieve this same purpose.

    Either way, I would strongly suggest you re-examine your rationale for apparently (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) voting FOR Bush TWICE, given the historic mistake it has turned out to be, and which your comment reproduced in duplicate above suggests you recognize.

    I would begin by thinking long and hard about how you came to conclude, for two different candidates and sets of circumstances, that the alternative to Bush would have been worse for the country, a feat requiring that you give equal weight to predictions of harm rather than real and clear evidence supporting harm already being done.

  27. Andy X: Once again, you are engaging in running away from the topic at hand, and presenting me with false dilemmas. How many logical falacies must you persist in? I already explained that subsequent events have led me to feel justified in voting for Bush twice. Let me repeat that twice:

    “I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I was not entirely happy to make that choice, but I’ve never found cause to regret it either, and in general felt that the subsequent actions of his opponents justified my preference.”

    “I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I was not entirely happy to make that choice, but I’ve never found cause to regret it either, and in general felt that the subsequent actions of his opponents justified my preference.”

    I’m not the least bit embarassed to have voted for Bush, nor was I trying to hide the fact. (Does anyone whose been a regular reader here not know who I voted for?) I should be terribly embarased to have voted for Gore or Kerry, and the rest I would have been embarassed for even thinking about voting for. As I said, it wasn’t predictions of harm that finally settled my mind that I had made the right choice, but subsequent actions which showed me that my fear had been rightly placed. And as I said, I was never completely happy voting for Bush, but I don’t think you should take that as an indication that my opinion of Bush is anything at all like yours.

    I should have known that my attempt to provide you with more information would have been useless to one who has repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be as willfully ignorant as yourself.

  28. The problem, Celebrim, is that you’re confusing an attempt to provide more information with actually doing so, and then stridently claiming that those who don’t get your double-talk are dodging some presumed point or being willfully ignorant.

    “As I said, it wasn’t predictions of harm that finally settled my mind that I had made the right choice, but subsequent actions which showed me that my fear had been rightly placed.

    And which “subsequent actions” were those, I’m wondering? And following up on this is my still unanswered query regarding how they measured against the well-documented, incontrovertable “actions” that Bush had been taking in the case of the 4 years leading up to 2004?

    What you are essentially admitting to here, perhaps without self-consciousness, that your predisposition to being receptive to “predictions of harm” leveled at Dem candidates by Republicans paved the way for you to interpret “subsequent actions” as evidence supporting this negative view. Caveats and positives are discounted.

    You’re the victim of In-Group/Out-Group bias manipulation, my man, a textbook case.

  29. We are in a situation not unlike we had in the Cold War. The policy there was containment. We kept at that policy for 40 years. Right up until the end many thought it was the wrong policy. Accomodation was an alternative widely suggested.

    It is way too early to declare the spread of democracy a failed policy.

    In any case that particular subject is moot for the time being. Congress voted by an overwhelming margin (including a lot of Democrats) to make ending tyranny official US Policy.

    In fact it is way too early to declare the Iraq experiment failed. The enemy cannot dislodge us from the battlefield. The only way they can get rid of us is to convince us to leave.

    Despite all the news and statements by Harry Reid (if you listen closely he is hedging his bets) we are not pulling out of Iraq any time soon. In fact we may be doubling down. Why? To gain a moral victory.

    Both sides are stretched to the limit. Now is the time to throw more on the table and see if the enemy can cover. During the siege of Petersburg Lee said if Grant had been able to apply just a little more force in one battle his lines would have broken because he was out of reserves. One more regiment (certainly a divisiion) would have done the job. Grant was of the opinion he could break Lee. He wasn’t far wrong.

    Personally I’d like to stay and keep bleeding them. And letting our American values rub off on them by contact. As long as we have people willing to volunteer for the job.

    I’m up for a few more division equivalents in the Army too. Another carrier wouldn’t hurt. Maybe two. Not as replacements, but as additions.

    Guerilla wars are long and have longer tails (there are always a few die hards). Even regular wars can have long tails. The aftermath of our Civil War led to a lot of ex-Confederates taking up guerilla war or its equivalent (robbery). It took 10 or 20 years for that to die out. It took a lot longer for the hard feelings to decline.

  30. Andy X:

    “The problem, Celebrim, is that you’re confusing an attempt to provide more information with actually doing so…”

    I’m not confused on this issue. I just think that whether or not a writer is understood depends in part on the writer and in part on the reader. Past experience with your works indicates to me that you aren’t exactly someone inclined to a charitable understanding of what other people write, or for that matter even a reasonable understanding. So, when you fail to understand me, I don’t feel it necessarily reflects badly on me at all.

    “and then stridently claiming that those who don’t get your double-talk are dodging some presumed point or being willfully ignorant.”

    I don’t presume you willful ignorance based on this one point alone. That assumption depends on me not having encountered your writing before. One data point doesn’t make for a trend.

    “And which “subsequent actions” were those, I’m wondering?”

    Principally, speaches, since God be praised, by not getting elected they were not in a position of real power.

    In the 2000 primaries, I supported McCain over Bush because I had a long dislike of the Bush family in general (they are from the liberal wing of the GOP, and I rather dispise GOP liberals), and in particular disliked voting for a dynasty which seems anti-democratic to me and disliked voting for a former drunkard and probable cocaine user on principle. But, since that time I’ve decided that McCain is for whatever positive qualities he has, someone who is sharply lacking in discernment of any sort, a panderer, a blowhard, and prone to opening his fat mouth when he’d be better off keeping it silent. I’m not interested in collecting the particular quotes for you, because that’s more work on my part than I think you warrant, but suffice to say that I started souring on McCain long before it became fashionable to do so in ‘conservative’ circles.

    Which is the principle assumption you are wrong on. I consider myself something of an opinion maker, not an opinion consumer. I’m not following anyone’s lead.

    Oh, and the well documented and ‘incontrivertable’ (boy isn’t that a loaded terms) actions that GWB made before 2004? They were better than I expected of him in 2000. Somehow I imagine that the things you think are incontrivertable are more contriversial than you imagine, and the things you consider negatives might well be my positives (and vica versa).

    [quote]What you are essentially admitting to here, perhaps without self-consciousness, that your predisposition to being receptive to “predictions of harm” leveled at Dem candidates by Republicans paved the way for you to interpret “subsequent actions” as evidence supporting this negative view.[/quote]

    I’m admitting no such thing, and you should really back off the amateur psychology because you aren’t very good at it. I’m the one (or one of the ones) that leveled ‘predictions of harm’, and I’m the one that interpreted ‘subsequent actions’. That’s the standard scientific method. You make a hypothesis, then you test for results. If the results don’t fit your hypothesis you try again. If they do, you tentatively accept the hypothesis.

    But, I suspect that whatever I do or say, go left or go right, it will still support your theory of me. Do you know what they call a theory which has the same conclusion whether to result is positive or negative? You aren’t really interested in anything. You aren’t really courious about anything. You had your mind made up about me long before you ever read anything I said.

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