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February 28, 2004

SERIOUS ABOUT OSAMA....Speaking of Osama, this is the second time recently that I've seen a story like this:

President Bush has approved a plan to intensify the effort to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, senior administration and military officials say, as a combination of better intelligence, improving weather and a refocusing of resources away from Iraq has reinvigorated the hunt along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The plan will apply both new forces and new tactics to the task, said senior officials in Washington and Afghanistan who were interviewed in recent days. The group at the center of the effort is Task Force 121, the covert commando team of Special Operations forces and Central Intelligence Agency officers. The team was involved in Saddam Hussein's capture and is gradually shifting its forces to Afghanistan to step up the search for Mr. bin Laden and Mullah Muhammad Omar, the former Taliban leader.

To the extent that this is a result of Pervez Musharraf finally deciding to get more serious about the Taliban and al-Qaeda, it's good news. But to the extent that it's the result of the United States finally getting more serious and "refocusing" on Osama, all I can say is, what the hell?

One of the things that war skeptics have been saying for a long time is that Iraq distracted us from Job 1: capturing Osama, wiping out al-Qaeda, and putting the Taliban firmly out of business. The Bushies deny it. But the denials really don't wash. There's just too much evidence that resources were pulled out of Afghanistan as early as spring 2002, that our commitment to Afghanistan has been weak and our ongoing operations have been starved for funding and manpower, and that the administration has been suspiciously unwilling to lean hard on Musharraf. They were just too damn obsessed with Iraq.

I don't know how long it will be before we really know everything that happened after 9/11, but I suspect that history's judgment of the Bush administration will not be kind. In fact, Dennis Hastert's admission that they don't want the findings of the 9/11 commission to be released during the campaign is a tacit admission that they already know the facts won't reflect well on them.

The Bush administration's record on terror has been amazingly flimsy, all bluster and very little genuine progress. John Kerry has shown a bit more willingness lately to go beyond the defensive and demonstrate ways that he would be tougher on terrorism than Bush and I hope he keeps it up. It's not a subject we should dodge, it's a subject in which we should show how we can do better than the Republicans. Getting serious about al-Qaeda would be a good start.

UPDATE: In comments, Chris Conroy asks what Kerry has been saying lately that I like so much. Here's the terrorism speech that he delivered at UCLA yesterday. I thought it was pretty good.

Posted by Kevin Drum at February 28, 2004 11:18 AM | TrackBack


Comments

The first two words out of my mouth were the same, but the third one wasn't "hell."

I hope they are stupid enough to actually trumpet the fact that they are "refocusing" or "intesifying efforts" or some bullshit, and Kerry and the Dems need to take that and literally beat them to death with it.

This would be a tacit admission that all the criticism (think CMB's "Osama Bin Missin") was correct.

Posted by: Mr Furious at February 28, 2004 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

When I saw the news, I thought: Yeah, and I bet Bush is hoping the capture can be scheduled for October 2004.

Posted by: Jesurgislac at February 28, 2004 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

I get a feeling that this is an "October Surprise" in the making. We have often underestimated the craven political judgment of these people, and I can just imagine them dragging out Bin Laden's capture to give them a trophy to wave around when they need to take people's minds off the mess we have at home. Like about a month before the election.

Posted by: joe at February 28, 2004 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Dumb Murkans (like Al) who believe the Preznit is doing a good job keeping this country safe deserve to be blown to bits. I just hope I'm not in the neighborhood when that happens.

Posted by: Lupin at February 28, 2004 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Cal -- Would you mind posting some links to John Kerry's discussions of security and terrorism (the ones that have been heartening you)? I honestly haven't seen any in the media and it's one of my big weak spots with being able to defend his candidacy to others.

Posted by: Chris Conroy at February 28, 2004 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

It's cynical, sure, but also SOP for presidents in similar straights -- Carter himself tried an election year rescue attempt followed by stepped-up negotiations in order to free the hostages (from around his neck) and spring a trap on Reagan.

Now, who on the Democrat side has enough pull with Musharaff to push the cynicism up to William Casey levels?


Posted by: notyou at February 28, 2004 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/releases/pr_2004_0227a.html

Posted by: me at February 28, 2004 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

W, September 13 2001-

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama Bin Laden. It's our #1 priority and we will not rest until we find him."

W, March 13 2002-

"I don't know where he is, I have no idea and I really don't care, It's not that important. It's not our priority."

Posted by: Jime at February 28, 2004 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Something funny is going on in Pakistan. First there was the little drama about Pakistan's chief nuclear scientist taking blame for single-handedly supplying the entire axis of evil with nuclear technology and material. (Sure sounds like the same playwright as the recent 9/11 commission drama featuring Hastert.)

Now this.

So what if it happened like this:

- Bush popularity starts falling.

- Rove figures out that capturing Bin Laden might actually turn things around. "Hmm, how can we get Pakistan to cooperate?"

- Threaten Musharraf with moving Pakistan into the "against us" column.

- Offer Musharraf a way out: get Bin Laden no matter how it plays at home. In exchange, we'll put on this little play to get the nuclear weapons out of the picture.

Posted by: mr bill at February 28, 2004 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

I get the feeling Dems kind of hope this Osama BIn Laden subject goes away, and if he gets captured, it's all over for the race. I kind of thought that would be a game-ending scenario myself, and it may still be, but there is olny one way to diffuse it, and that is ahead of time, not afterwards.

It's time to start changing the conventional wisdom on this subject, right now. If Bush has an "October Surprise" in the works, all discussion and debate will be drowned out in the absolute chaos that will be the coverage of that event. We need to start pointedly demanding where the hell OBL is, and why he hasn't been captured.

I don't care if it's shrill or anything else. This is the only way to trump Bush's ace in the hole.

If this gets driven home hard enough and successfully, public sentiment will shift. Bush & Co. hope that this will save them from the fact that everything other issue reflects badly on them. Make this another one of those issues. This is actually Bush's Achilles Heel and biggest weakness! We need to actually use it on him, not run from it.

If and when OBL is captured (and I doubt he will be alive), the response needs to be "It's about fucking time." Well, that needs to be the sentiment anyway. Bush doesn't get three seconds to bask in the glow or take credit for that.

Democrats need to start framing it this way now, for that attitude to take hold in the general public.

Posted by: Mr Furious at February 28, 2004 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, and I thought only Matt Drudge posted nasty rumors.

Anothe thought....

ISN'T IT FUNNY THAT THE ONE AND ONLY FILM LIBERALS CAN FINALLY SAY THEY DON'T LIKE THE VIOLENCE BLOOD AND GORE IS 'THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST'. Why is it that Liberals are soooo upset over violence and Gore at the movies?

The New Republic is more upset than when it herd Ralph nader was running unopposed for the Liberal President spot.

Posted by: keiser at February 28, 2004 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

I think capturing-- or not capturing-- Osama might be checkmate for Bush.

1) If we catch/kill him in the near-term, that's "war over", and Bush will suffer the same fate as Churchill did after WWII as country returns to domestic concerns.

2) If we catch/kill him immediately before the election, the Churchill effect will at least modestly offset any euphoria, and noisy charges of October Surprise will swirl among the left, independents and the mainstream press.

3) If he doesn't capture Osama before the election, Bush will have failed his primary charge, the very one on which he has based his popularity.

The second eventuality seems least perilous for Bush's reelection, and is therefore what I expect if we have any sway over events there.

Posted by: jon at February 28, 2004 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

What's actually going on in Afghanistan.

There have been other stories like this. Just because the L.A. Times and MSNBC aren't covering it, doesn't mean it isn't happening.

Posted by: tbrosz at February 28, 2004 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Following up, if we ask often enough and strongly enough why the hell he's still out there, it won't be so impressive if he's caught.

This needs to be right out in front in the Dem platform. Undermine Bush's credibilty in the War on Terror, don't concede the issue to him.

We can do a better job on this that him and we need to act like it. If Bush trots OBL out this fall, say, "We would have had him two years ago."

Posted by: Mr Furious at February 28, 2004 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

keiser,

Drudge reports his fantasies as facts, as if he was running a mini-news bureau, trying to make news.

Kevin Drum makes observations on items that are already in the news as starting points for discussion. It's sort of the whole point of weblogs.

Posted by: Jeff Boatright at February 28, 2004 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

It is not as though we have had no leverage over Pakistan. Just mentioning the words "economic sanctions" to Pervez would have compelled more cooperation at any time. I hope the Pakistanis just shoot him dead so he can't be brandished in the election campaign, but I suppose our special forces will be called in if the Pakistanis get him.

Posted by: Bob H at February 28, 2004 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know how long it will be before we really know everything that happened after 9/11 - Never if they could get away with it, but more realistically, 25 to 40 years if they are reelected. One more reason we must deselect this Administration.

Someone requested some articles........

Kerry here (some quotes are from an MSNBC article, but they purged it): “I am convinced that we can prove to the American people that we know how to make them safer and more secure with a stronger, more comprehensive and more effective strategy for winning the war on terror than the Bush administration has ever envisioned,” Kerry said in remarks prepared for delivery at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Kerry also accused the president and “his armchair hawks” of weakening the U.S. military by failing to provide proper equipment. He lambasted Bush for “stonewalling” the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks."

And..........

From Slate a great analysis of Kerry's war votes that they are trying to twist.

Posted by: BudMan at February 28, 2004 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

U.S., Pakistan Deny Bin Laden Was Captured

"The director of Iran radio's Pashtun language service, Asheq Hossein, said the report was based on two sources - one of whom later told The Associated Press he was misquoted.

The report said bin Laden had been in custody for a period of time, but that President Bush was withholding any announcement until closer to November elections.

``Osama bin Laden has been arrested a long time ago, but Bush is intending to use it for propaganda maneuvering in the presidential election,'' the radio report said. "

Posted by: all is lost at February 28, 2004 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Ever since Task Force 180--as the Afghanistan operation is called--"leaked" a coming offensive to crush the final pockets of terrorist holdouts in the country and along the porous border with Pakistan, "


Doesnt this aspect of reporting make anyone say hmm?How many times in the past has the military come out and said "we are going to attack here and at this time"?I found this story to be very telling for the reasons this post are going into.What IS the motivation of leaking this attack?

Again more questions than answers.Over and over again this administration has more questions than answers.Will it ever end?Can we get a strait answer on ANYTHING?Conservatives care to rebut?

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

"""It's not a subject we should dodge, it's a subject in which we should show how we can do better than the Republicans. Getting serious about al-Qaeda would be a good start."""

Surely you jest. Kerry's terrosim policy plans have been abysmal.

This is what Kerry has advocated throughout his political career:

- No death penalty for International Terrorists who kill Americans.

- He opposed the attack on Lybia because he said it wasn't proportional to their attack on Americans.

- He says the 'war' on terorism is mostly an intelligence and law enforcement issue.

- Yet he voted repeatedly to cut intelligence by 1.5 Billion dollars and tried to cut the FBI
foriegn terrorist programs.

- He has said the terroist threat is exaggerated.

Better yet he says we should return to Clintonism
where the Branch davidians had to die, but Osama had to live.

Kerry Pledges Return to Clinton Terrorism Policies

Democratic presidential front-runner John F. Kerry pledged on Saturday that if he becomes president he'll treat terrorist acts against the U.S. as a law enforcement problem rather than as acts of war - the approach favored by President Clinton throughout the 1990s as Osama bin Laden repeatedly struck U.S. targets with impunity.

Speaking before a group of Oklahoma City firefighters, Kerry complained that the Bush administration "doesn't understand the war on terror."

Under a Kerry administration, he said, the fight against terrorism "will involve the military now and then," but it will be "primarily an intelligence-gathering, law enforcement operation."

"It's a great big manhunt," Kerry explained. "[The Bush] administration has translated that legitimate threat into a completely wrongheaded kind of full-fledged military response."

Since 9/11, U.S. terrorism experts have said that the Clinton administration's legalistic approach to fighting al-Qaeda not only proved ineffective - it actually emboldened bin Laden to the point where he thought he could launch an attack on U.S. soil without prompting a serious military response.

Indeed, in a 2002 speech to New York business leaders, Mr. Clinton himself cited legal concerns as an excuse for his decision not to have bin Laden arrested five years before the 9/11 attacks.

"At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America," said Clinton. "So I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America."

Ohh great KERRY'S GOING TO SICK JANET RENO ON THEM.... I can see osama and Zahwahiri high-fiving now.

Posted by: keiser at February 28, 2004 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Why, in all of the 400+ billion dollars we spend each year, does Task Force 121 have to do fucking everything?

Why can't we have made a Task Force 122, and assigned them to get Osama while 121 went after Saddam?

Posted by: praktike at February 28, 2004 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

keiser:

Where are your "facts" from??Are they from the mainstream?If so,they are half truths.From sites like rush limbaugh?If so no rebuttal necessary.Do you have more than one source for ANY of these facts?

fess up!

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Keiser - one small point, I'll let others do the rest:
"...the approach favored by President Clinton throughout the 1990s as Osama bin Laden repeatedly struck U.S. targets with impunity."
Use of word "repeatedly" seems like exageration.

Posted by: Dinosaur at February 28, 2004 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Why are we stepping up the search for Osama? Well, considering this is now the third time since 9/11 that winter has moved toward spring, it shouldn't be a surprise. Soon the snow will melt, making movement through the mountains significantly easier. The peaks of the Hindu Kush reach into the 7,000 meter range, and the passes are in the 3,000-4,000 meter range. At those elevations, winter is harsh, with snow pack piling up over two meters deep. Think Colorado without highways and snow removal.

Posted by: BD at February 28, 2004 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose Kevin and his fellow anti-Bushies on this thread have had a great plan all along on how to get OBL.
First of all, there is some dispute as to whether he really is still alive. After all, a fellow with severe kidney problems who needed dialysis all the time would have a hard time surving without all the necessary equipment up in the Afghan/Pakistani mountains. Moreover, there have been no videos of him for several years, after there having been many in the previous ones. The audio tapes, while purportedly genuine, are not as authentic as a video of him would be.

I would also assume that Kevin and all the other anti-Bushies on this thread would agree that the War on Terror goes beyond just one man. Even if OBL is captured, the war goes on.
So why is his non-capture an indication of failure in the WOT? Wouldn't a lack of further devestating attacks in the US be an indication of success in the WOT? Who among you would have predicted on Sept 12, 2001, that there would have been no further attacks on the US in the following 2 1/2 years? Very few of you, I imagine. And how can that be construed as anything but a success in the WOT, regardless of whether OBL is alive or dead, captured or on the run?

If OBL had been captured, you'd be whining that the Bushies put too much emphasis on capturing one man, and not on weakining Al-Queda.
Since he's not captured, you whine about why he's not captured, and don't focus on the fact that we've gone 2 1/2 years with no further attacks, with the terrible loss of life and the terribe economic consequences that such an attack would bring.

I'd respect your point of view more if you could tell me what a President Kerry would have done differently in the WOT that would have had a better outcome than the one we currently have (no attacks on the US after Sept 11). It can't be done, for there can be no better outcome. You can say that Kerry would have used different tactics to get to the same outcome, but the very fact that the WOT has had a positive outcome (defined as no terror attacks) makes any criticism from the anti-Bush crowd seem a bit whiny and silly.

If there is no further terrorist attack before the election, Bush will win easily.
This puts the Democrats in a very awkward position, for they cannot be seen to be openly hoping that there is an attack in order to bolster their chances in November.

Deep down, do you think most Democrats would prefer another Sept 11 if it could guarantee them Bush would lose in November, or no more terrorist attacks in the US if it assured them of four more years of being on the outs? I don't know the answer, but the fact that it is out there is pretty damning to the Democrats.

Posted by: fw at February 28, 2004 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

"If there is no further terrorist attack before the election, Bush will win easily."

Not necessarily true.Was there ANY attacks before the current regime'?I submit that this administration FUBAR'd the efforts of the spooks in that they ignored intel reports,therefore after 9/11 they started paying a little more attention to the reports that have since led to more vigorous efforts to thwart the efforts that may or may not have been put forth by "terrorists".

Furthermore this current administration has done NOTHING to try and figure out the reasons behind 9/11 and therefore have not even tried to stem the tide of hate against the U.S.

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

fv - deep down I wish OBL would have been pursued to the ends of the earth because of 9-11, and suffered a horrible death - maybe let Mel Gibson do it without the special effects. I was hoping for late 2001, then 2002, 2003, now maybe 2004 - that's the disappointment. Just maybe Kerry would have put 150,000 troops in Afghanistan, and went over the border (as Bush promised he would), and killed him. But No, send 150K to Iraq for (the reason of the moment). Cannot help it, I am a Taliban/al quaida warmonger.

Posted by: Dinosaur at February 28, 2004 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Deep down, do you think most Democrats would prefer another Sept 11 if it could guarantee them Bush would lose in November, or no more terrorist attacks in the US if it assured them of four more years of being on the outs? I don't know the answer, but the fact that it is out there is pretty damning to the Democrats.

But what is even more damning is Bush's utter hypocrisy and failure regarding OBL...taking resources out of Afghanistan to go after the ginned-up, phony "threat" from Saddam, stonewalling the 9/11 commission, etc,.

And also having you Bush ass-kissers always impugning those who see thru this fraud.....get up close, now....take a big sniff...HAIL W! >>>A great leader!!


Posted by: marty at February 28, 2004 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, an Army War College report has declared, "The war against Iraq was not integral to the Global War on Terror, but rather a detour from it."

Posted by: js7a at February 28, 2004 01:02 PM | PERMALINK

I agree, Kevin, and I'd like to see the Democratic candidate making it clear that really dealing with terrorism is fully compatible with what I understand Democratic principles to be. It doesn't take a Patriot Act-style national security state, nor war with nations that aren't at war with us. It does take both military action and continued engagement after the war, and it takes consistency of targeting. Getting the people who actually did attack us would be vastly cheaper than what Bush has done, leaving us money that could be used to improve life both for their victims in their home territory and for American citizens back here.

In addition, a competent foreign policy would leave us room to maneuver in, rather than (as with Bush and North Korea) locking us into the cycle of grandiose bluster and humiliating retreat while leaving real dangers to regional and world peace intact.

Posted by: Bruce Baugh at February 28, 2004 01:08 PM | PERMALINK

My dad has been saying all along that they're going to capture Usama right before the election. I don't think it would be seen as war over and the Churchill effect. The media and the administration has done quite a job making it known that the war isn't just about getting UBL, especially with the Iraqi leader playing cards and the news every few weeks that some new al Queda guy got captured.

I am more confused about the way they dealt with the capture of Saddam. Yay, we got him and then we never hear anything else about him? You would think they would try to figure out what to do with him quickly, and capitalize on the moment.

Posted by: RichardP at February 28, 2004 01:11 PM | PERMALINK

I continue to maintain that the evidence available (to us, I mean, not necessarily to the intelligence agencies), in the form of audio tapes purporting to be of OBL, indicates strongly that he is not alive.

If that's the case, than the hints of an "October Suprise" are all in the way of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt among the people, especially the Democrats.

Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) at February 28, 2004 01:12 PM | PERMALINK

Dinosaur opines: """Keiser - one small point, I'll let others do the rest:
"...the approach favored by President Clinton throughout the 1990s as Osama bin Laden repeatedly struck U.S. targets with impunity."
Use of word "repeatedly" seems like exageration.""

Is it really ..have you looked at the state depaertment list of terrorist attacks for each year during the 1990s? No, I thought not.


Posted by: keiser at February 28, 2004 01:45 PM | PERMALINK

keiser seems to be making it up or pulling it from rush-level sources. And can't answer why it was a good idea to pull resources from Afghanistan and pursuit of AQ to fight an war that was tangential to the stated goal.

Oh well, onward and upward.

Posted by: Jeff Boatright at February 28, 2004 01:45 PM | PERMALINK

I certainly don't think the Democrats have ben serious about Osama. They really have it out for RALPH NADER....

I think many Liberal Democrats would prefer to see Nader strung up then Osama.

Here's one half bake liberal going off on nader:
Get Out, Mr. Nader
You're only fueling defeatism--and you defeated my father.
BY KARENNA GORE SCHIFF

WHAT IS IT, YOU LIBERAL DEMOCRATS DON'T BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY? SHOULDN'T AN AMERICAN WHO BELIEVE NADER WOULD MAKE A BETTER PRESIDENT HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR HIM....WHY ARE WE SHUTTING HIM OUT...YOU WERE ALL FOR ROSS PEROT BEING IN...
The Republicans even agreed to having Ross in Debates...let's hope Kerry is as Democratic.

Posted by: keiser at February 28, 2004 01:48 PM | PERMALINK

keiser, as a lot of people have been saying (and others have been denying), Clinton's people warned Bush's people that AQ was THE threat to be dealt with asap in yr2000. Your own contribution supports that - AQ was suspected as being behind terrorist attacks in the 90s.

Clinton's people gave Bush's people the blueprint to pursue AQ, which they're only now dusting off after the failure of Operation Ignore and the distraction of Operation Avenge My Daddy.

Bad planning poorly implemented. And you want 4 more years of this? Thank goodness there's fewer than you than there are of us.

Posted by: Jeff Boatright at February 28, 2004 01:55 PM | PERMALINK

With today's denied reports that Osama has been captured, it occurs to me that someone needs to look back at the administrations public comments over the last year or so *very* carefully. We know that Bush's White House is more than Clintonesque in its care in phrasing statements to imply one thing while insuring deniability on a technicalitity. Here's the question: have any of the (apparently few) official comments on Osama been such as to explicitly *deny* that he's already been captured? That is, if he is currently in custody and being held for an "October surprise," has anyone said anything that could come back to haunt them, i. e. "We are still agressively searching for Osama Bin Laden"? For once, I'd like to see someone get ahead of this administration and anticipate their deceptions by detailing the groundwork, if it's there. If they do have Bin Laden on ice, then all public commentary since his capture will have been ambiguous. Is it?

Posted by: vicoscia at February 28, 2004 02:09 PM | PERMALINK

Deep down, do you think most Democrats would prefer another Sept 11 if it could guarantee them Bush would lose in November, or no more terrorist attacks in the US if it assured them of four more years of being on the outs? I don't know the answer, but the fact that it is out there is pretty damning to the Democrats.

Frankly, I'd say it's a hell of a lot more damning to those who entertain the belief.

Posted by: Anarch at February 28, 2004 02:11 PM | PERMALINK

You guys are making my point for me. People can disagree about the tactics used to get where we are now on the WOT (no attacks since Sept 11, 2001), but nobody can argue that the results haven't been good.
So Kerry is going to be reduced to saying something to the effect of: "well, we should have done it my way, which may or may not have turned out better than Bush's way". That is not a vote-getter.
To be sure,all this gets turned around in ways that none of us could possibly predict (politically speaking, that is), if there is another terrorist attack on the US before the November elections. It could help Bush (as Commander-in-Chief) or it could hurt him (as failed leader). Impossible to say what the reaction would be.
Absent such an attack, Bush is very strong on the WOT angle. He seems to be medium-strong on the economy (good, but not great). What do the Democrats have to hope for? A scandal, which is why Kevin and others are so desperately hoping that the dirt they fling regarding the National Guard or the Plame case sticks in some way. So far it hasn't, but maybe it will later on.

Posted by: fw at February 28, 2004 02:16 PM | PERMALINK

>Deep down, do you think most Democrats would prefer another Sept 11 if it could guarantee them Bush would lose in November, or no more terrorist attacks in the US if it assured them of four more years of being on the outs? I don't know the answer, but the fact that it is out there is pretty damning to the Democrats.

Hahahaha! Oh lordy, I love this. The fact that I can make up deceitful questions about the Democrats is pretty damning to the Democrats. Bwah!

Deep down, do you think fw would prefer to be called a moron or do you think he would prefer to be called a brainless twit? I don't know the answer to that but the fact that it is out there is pretty damning to fw.

Posted by: Robert McClelland at February 28, 2004 02:34 PM | PERMALINK

keiser

SN'T IT FUNNY THAT THE ONE AND ONLY FILM LIBERALS CAN FINALLY SAY THEY DON'T LIKE THE VIOLENCE BLOOD AND GORE IS 'THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST'. Why is it that Liberals are soooo upset over violence and Gore at the movies?

I am a liberal and I don't like all the blood and gore in movies. I have not seen the "Passion of the Christ". I understand that it does not accurately follow any of the gospels. As far as blood and gore is concerned don't most of the movies in which Gibson has stared feature lots of blood and gore?

Posted by: ____league at February 28, 2004 02:35 PM | PERMALINK

Absent such an attack, Bush is very strong on the WOT angle.

Only if you haven't read the Kay report and you don't follow international news anyway.

Posted by: Jesurgislac at February 28, 2004 02:40 PM | PERMALINK

JUST ONE MORE FAILED CLINTON IDEA...BOY THEY JUST KEEP COMING:

When U.N. prosecutors opened their case against Slobodan Milosevic two years ago, they set out to get him convicted of genocide. The consensus today is, they failed.

Posted by: keiser at February 28, 2004 02:40 PM | PERMALINK

"He seems to be medium-strong on the economy (good, but not great)".

??????????????????????????

First President since Hoover to preside over a net job loss.

Hoover!

Posted by: Al at February 28, 2004 02:40 PM | PERMALINK

>People can disagree about the tactics used to get where we are now on the WOT (no attacks since Sept 11, 2001), but nobody can argue that the results haven't been good.

Do you call over 600 dead coalition soldiers in Iraq good results? Do you call over 600 dead Iraqi police good results? Do you call over 10,000 dead innocent Iraqi and Afghan civilians good results. Do you call all the attacks by Al Qaeda terrorists around the world since 9/11 good results? Do you call imprisonment of American citizens with a lose of civil rights good results? I sure can argue that the results haven't been good. What I don't understand is how you can argue that they have been good soley on the basis that foreign terrorists have not carried out an attack in the US for a third time.

Posted by: Robert McClelland at February 28, 2004 02:42 PM | PERMALINK

"""don't most of the movies in which Gibson has stared feature lots of blood and gore?""

Yes, but I never see hollywood so upset and reviewers telling people not to go because of the violence. If this movie was called KILL BILL II and Jesus was Dark Fallace...the reviwers would love it.

Posted by: KEISER at February 28, 2004 02:43 PM | PERMALINK

At least Al and Charlie engage in a sort of dialogue but Keiser just seems to sit at his keyboard thinking of even more inaccurate and OT items to throw out.

Iam personally finding him/her/it somewhat annoying.

Posted by: ____league at February 28, 2004 02:44 PM | PERMALINK

I stand corrected, I have a response from Keiser. I would however like some evidence of this supposed reviewer bias.

Posted by: ____league at February 28, 2004 02:46 PM | PERMALINK

keiser paints with a wide brush, going from Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Mel's movie. Oh yeah, I see the thread. I take it he/she does not like "liberals", and has put them in a common corner on all issues. Very easy on the brain that way, requires very little thought process, and its a Rush.

Posted by: Dinosaur at February 28, 2004 02:51 PM | PERMALINK

keiser's posts always look like those ultra-unhinged conspiracy theory sites - all kinds of capitol letters, strange qutations, lapses in logic and continuity. the only think lacking is the over-use of bright colors and font sizes.

Posted by: cleek at February 28, 2004 02:55 PM | PERMALINK

There is a great deal of information regarding this "search" in the Pakistani and Indian press, and if one is interested, use the Search function on Google News for Al-Qaeda, and you'll pick up on a good deal of the info.

In recent weeks, Tenet and Rumsfeld have been in Islamabad, each for a couple of days.

Yes, Musharraf has had a change of position. Two matters are involved. First, two failed assassination attempts, and second he won a dispute with the Islamic Parties in Parliament regarding his amendment of the constitution extending his term of office. All this taken together gives him a bit more freedom to act. Until recently he has claimed OBL to be either Dead or in Afghanistan. Recently he has begun to claim he is in Pakistan. At the same time he also agreed to talks with India, and has opened up the bus, train and air connections between Pak and India. By talking with India, he undercuts the Army and many Islamists who have been so focused on Kashmir little else matters. Should Pak and Indian relations become more normalized, it would make it much easier for Musharraf to become less dependent on the paramilitary politics of the Taliban like groups in Pakistan for his political base.

Democrats need to learn to pay attention to more in that part of the world than OBL -- important, yes, but creating the conditions for a stand-down of these Nuclear powers is critical.

Posted by: Sara at February 28, 2004 02:55 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Iran has had OBL in custody for "a really long time." Haven't the Iranians claimed that they already have high raniking members of AL Queda in custody? Maybe they know OBL had been captured because THEY are his captors. Just a thought.

Posted by: chippydog at February 28, 2004 03:02 PM | PERMALINK

Deep down, do you think most Democrats would prefer another Sept 11 if it could guarantee them Bush would lose

Man, somebody should revoke your humanity license for that one. As for "the results are good", "strong on the War on Terror", here's Kagan, one of the leading neo-conservative voices saying Whoops in the NYT:

"America, for the first time since World War II, is suffering a crisis of international legitimacy. Americans will find that they cannot ignore this problem."
Problem. Since WW II. Crisis.

Sounds familiar. The internet is littered with leftover conservative spittle flung at Democrats who warned that caution and coalition is good insurance against failure or embarrassment and better paves the way for any neccesary future action. The alternate, your hurry-up version, would cede the high ground--America's hard-earned leadership and her tragically-earned Global empathy. But no, you guys had a John Wayne hard-on you had to relieve, and NOW...

President Bush has approved a plan to intensify the effort to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, senior administration and military officials say

FW, you don't intensify an effort unless you weren't giving all the needed attention in the first place, which means a cost/benefit was done somewhere by someone--and Osama took less than First place.

The slow, agonizing march to the obvious for the bombs not brains crowd is moving apace, you just seem not to have gotten the memo. Even faithful Warriors like tacitus have folded up their tents and bugged out on this "Commander in Chief"

Yes, it's in quotes for a reason. He has a Hollywood understanding of leadership and a dreadful aversion to taking responsibility for failed effort. Settle for that if you wish.

See you in November--signicant event, or not.

Posted by: fouro at February 28, 2004 03:06 PM | PERMALINK

fouro --

I guarantee you that if you'd asked 100 million Americans on Sept 12th, 2001 whether having no further attacks on US soil for the next 2 1/2 years would constitute a good result on the WOT,
98 million of them would have said yes.
And that is where we are now.
You may think that the WOT is failing, but the majority of Americans don't.
That is why John Kerry will be a Senator on Jan 21st, 2005.
We can argue whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, but you've done nothing to convince me that most Americans are anything but pleased with the results of the WOT.

Posted by: fw at February 28, 2004 03:11 PM | PERMALINK

Robert:
What major attacks by Al Queda do you refer to around the world. I do call no attacks good results. I lived in Paris from Feb-Aug of 03. When I got there all the trash cans had to be nailed shut because of bomb threats, now they are open. I am sorry about the lost of Iraqi and American lives, but that is the result of war, and is expected.
I am in no power to say whose life is better, but I think it repulsive the amount of people that are suddenly body counters just to slam Bush. Where were you when people were dying by the millions under Saddam. Was not on our news don't worry about it. That the lost of lives on the USS Cole was acceptable (they're just military; do you know what the average death rate for the military is in just training in peace, do you protest, or cry over these deaths, or only the ones that support your cause); Was the lost of lives in the Embassy bombings acceptable (They were we in there country giving aid to start with). This is why we are not respected around the world. Universal condemnation of the US is a joke. I always read about Europe condemnation of US. It is France and Germany! I remember that Spain, Italy, Poland, Norway, England, are in Europe.
I measure results in the change of attitude in the Muslim countries that are changing from suppress the people and blame the west, to make their peoples lives better. Pakistan has shut down schools preaching hate and is assisting us in hunting Osama. Is it perfect, no. Is it better-personal opinion. Saudi politicians are not allowed to preach at Mosques. All the Arab countries are condeming Iran's elections (yes, I know they are Persian and not Arab, but they are Islamic). Egypt and Syrian press are looking at Palestinian attacks as counterproductive, and they need to stop.
For the lost of civil liberties, do you have specic examples- and not cries of what could happen unde Bush and Ashcroft. I have seen no change in my life, or anyone I know. (with the excpeption of it is harder for friends to get their B-1 visas renewed, and they are not upset, as it is no harder then what they have to do back home).
I am not a fan of Bush because of his domestic agenda. However, having lived in Indonesia, France, Turkey, Scotland and over the US it scares me to death how people think that if we go back to 'police action' that the world will be sunny. If Kerry would stand up to the plate with a plan, he has my vote.

Posted by: sinop85 at February 28, 2004 03:18 PM | PERMALINK

FW- I'm glad that the absence of another 9/11 scale tragedy reassures you of the president's success in the WOT. I'm not nearly so sanguine.

When flight 800 went down over Long Island no effort or expense was spared to try to find the cause. We needed to know what happened to try correct whatever it was that went wrong. Yet, incredibly we have devoted far less in resources to investigating the 9/11 disaster.

Whenever I talk to pro-Bush people, it seems to me they would prefer to cling to the notion that it must be Clinton's fault rather than do a full investigation to find out what went wrong. Those unfortunate people who lost loved ones aren't motivated by politics they want to know the truth. How can anyone feel safe unless we really understand what went wrong in the first place?

9/11 represents the worst intelligence failure in U.S. history. The failure to find WMD's represents failure number two. In the face of such failures and in the absence of any attempt to correct what went wrong, we are deluding ourselves to think we are any safer today than we were before 9/11.

Posted by: dapman at February 28, 2004 03:19 PM | PERMALINK

fw - I disagree. Yes, we are pleased there have been no attacks. We are not pleased with W's detour into Iraq which cost us lots of goodwill, credibilty (WMD's), lives, and $$$$$. And don't give me that "We saved the Iraqis from Hussein" crap - I didn't care about that 3 years ago, still do not. I am just not a humanitarian, at least not of the international-interventionist variety.

Posted by: Dinosaur at February 28, 2004 03:25 PM | PERMALINK

"He seems to be medium-strong on the economy (good, but not great). "

How on earth(or maybe its pluto)can you even entertain this thought?Strucural beef engineers instead of burger flippers are a good way to boost the manufacturing sector?Increasing the load on payroll taxes to give us lower income taxes are good?Giving up on social security is a good thing?Providing mega-corporations an easy tax shelter system is a good thing?Giving companies like Watchovia a tex refund is a good thing?

Like Troy Aikman says.....GET REAL!

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 03:25 PM | PERMALINK

President Bush once said in jest, "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier ... just so long as I'm the dictator."

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 03:26 PM | PERMALINK

No, FW, it is not failing, but it is not "succeeding" either. Stasis is backward movement in this game. Poking the organizations and allies you need to fight along with you, not to mention mobilizing generalized anger and steeling the resolve of your enemies...well, it's bad doctrinal mojo.

Your "21/2 years" is an actuarial fact as much as it is any endorsement of a particular policy. One could even say, given the bad mojo referenced above, that our little foray into Mesopotamia was a petulant challenge to AQ: hit us again, we dare you! It's called drawing the enemy out. How much skin do you have in that bet?

Nor would I say, as it's been represented so far (Iraq is the front line on Terror,I believe it was phrased by administration officials), has the WOT done anything to "please" Americans.

I would say though, that, given daily revelations of the slapdash nature of this administration, Relief over no further domestic attacks is the chief emotion experienced by "most Amrericans."

Posted by: fouro at February 28, 2004 03:31 PM | PERMALINK

" FW, you don't intensify an effort unless you weren't giving all the needed attention in the first place, which means a cost/benefit was done somewhere by someone--and Osama took less than First place. "
OR
Maybe The geography of Afghanistan is such that the mountains are not accessible in the middle of winter! That is why you stand down and contain. That was clearly stated by the command on the ground last November- which would be followed up by a spring offensive.
(and let us not forget that although Afghanistan is US military led- but is a UN operation- kinda like Kosovo and Somalia and Gulf war I)
I came to this web site to try and get some counter thoughts to the conservative environment I work, but all that is here is whining, conspiracy, fact ignoring, whines and no creative thoughts on how to proceed. Bush controls Pakistan, Bush only publicly said he wanted to delay the report, but he made Hassert hold it just to embarrass him the next day.
Thanks for convincing me that the left has no ideas.

Posted by: later at February 28, 2004 03:33 PM | PERMALINK

>What major attacks by Al Queda do you refer to around the world.

Does Bali ring any bells for starters?

>Where were you when people were dying by the millions under Saddam.

Since 1992 I was a member of CDI (Canadians for Democracy in Iraq). Where were you?

>For the lost of civil liberties, do you have specic examples

Jose Padilla!

>people think that if we go back to 'police action' that the world will be sunny.

More terrorists have been uncovered and arrested by good old fashioned police work than have been caught or killed by the US military. The US military has prevented 0 terrorist attacks to date but good old fashioned police work has prevented terrrorist attacks.

Posted by: Robert McClelland at February 28, 2004 03:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Where were you when people were dying by the millions under Saddam"

You need to clarify yourself on this one.If your talking pre gulf war 1 then it goes to the george the first for not doing the necessary thing then.If your talking post gulf war 1 then you need to go to george the first AND Bill Clinton and Albright and look at them.It wasnt saddam's doing that killed millions after the first war it was the sanctions that was killing,do your research before you come on with the idea that we had to take out saddam because he was a killer.It was the U.S and the way they set up the sanctions that prevented people not getting food.Also it was the sensless bombing of the water production facilities that killed thousands.
Get your facts in order.

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 03:35 PM | PERMALINK

"For the lost of civil liberties, do you have specic examples"

How about the Miami police crack down on the protest of the FTAA?
How about a man named Hamdi?
How about illegal search and seizure?Think Las Vagas and a routine investigation into something about gambling.
How about Habus Corpus being tossed out in the matter of those at guantanamo.While some may be guilty,some too are innocent and have no rights to a trial as of yet.
How about illegal searches into medical records.
How about illegal searches into lawyers who wanted to protest the war in Iowa?These are just some of many of the incidences.

Theres much activity into the loss of rights that you must not be aware of.Quit listening to rush and sean and you might leaarn that your not as free as you were before King George took office.

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 03:43 PM | PERMALINK

Couple of observations:

Although pursued as one aspect of the war on terror, Iraq in hindsight doesn't seem to fit the bill. The Bush administration is known to make wide rhetorical flourishes, but I wonder whether Iraq can still be trumped up as a front on the terror war.

Second, is there any formal definition or organizational charter for the Coalition (capital C)? The other day, on TV, I noticed that the "Coalition" actually has a spokesman. What I don't understand is how a nation technically is admitted to the big C, is there a process,is it the whim of upper-level bureacrats, or is there even such a thing as the big C Coalition?

Posted by: forgetting at February 28, 2004 03:49 PM | PERMALINK

fw

As others have pointed out, al Qaeda & Associates have hardly been idle since 9/11. They haven't hit here in the US — but why should that surprise you? There was an eight-year gap between the first attack on WTC and the second, devastating one. They're not working on our timetable.

later

So we're waiting until spring to go after bin Laden. Why didn't we go after him last spring? Oh, I remember — we were gearing up to save the world from fantasy WMDs. Yeah, that wasn't much of a distraction, was it?

Posted by: duckie at February 28, 2004 03:51 PM | PERMALINK


Bali - Does that ring any bells? was before the war October 12, 2002

When a war is declared on terrorism, where does citizenship come in play?- Padilla declared war, not police action with his dirty bomb plan. I don't think he was doing it for profit.


Glad to hear of membership in CDI, it did a lot of good work, just didn't accomplish anything other then meetings. I was working in the Red Cresent as a volunteer working direct relief.

Good old police work was around before the war, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq got the information to supply to the police in Europe and America. Maybe the two have to work together?

Attacking Kuwait was because of sanctions-

Burning the oil fields was because of sanctions-

The mass graves were because of sanctions-

And stopping the flow of water to the Shites in the South was because of sanctions-

And gassing the Kurds was because of sanctions-

Tourture Chambers were becuase of sanctions-

Selling oil under Food for Oil and keeping profits was sanctions (The UN can't relate one death to the sanctions by the way only hardships, but I only am assuming this because I read the report from the United Nations, but will continue to get my facts straight. But sanctions were UN imposed, not US)

Oh and by the way, Saddam was in power long before Bush the first. He first attacked Iran during the Carter administration. And the bottom line, is why are you so willing to ignore these deaths. This is why we are hated in the Arab world. They feel that we will not stay, and they have facts to back them up.


Why does it matter who was in office? Death is Death and is wrong if

Posted by: sinop85 at February 28, 2004 03:54 PM | PERMALINK

Later:

Yes, tell the 10th Mountain they can only get their gonads up when the daisies are in bloom. Ditto the SAS or SBS. Wouldn't want to fight when the bad guys are worried about keeping their own balls warm, eh?

Wake up, dude. You're talking major theatre warfare and logistics, and beside, do you think command is gonna say "we're going sledding"? They were given other priorities, many in the north of Iraq. Personnel and materiel were diverted from pashtun areas 9 months before D-1 in Iraq. Tora Bora was a handjob according to people who were there. This is the usual f*ck-up revelation of ineptitude, by the usual f*ck-ups.

And if you think "Bush controls Pakistan", maybe you'd like to have him speak to those organized engagement guys who keep ambushing Musharraf's convoy on his way home.

Posted by: fouro at February 28, 2004 03:59 PM | PERMALINK

" I was working in the Red Cresent as a volunteer working direct relief.I highly doubt this dispute but I'lll give you the benefit of the doubt and say you did.Why then are you for more military action if you are.The red cresent is neutral in these matters.


"The UN can't relate one death to the sanctions by the way only hardships, but I only am assuming this because I read the report from the United Nations, but will continue to get my facts straight. But sanctions were UN imposed, not US) "

The U.N. might have been the one named as in charge of sanctions but IT WAS the U.S. who would not give the up under any conditions that had saddam still in power.

Actually the U.N. does not have numbers of the dead in Iraq because of sanctions.Does this not make you question why.

"Padilla declared war, not police action with his dirty bomb plan."

Where is the trial transcripts for the evidence of these claims?

"Burning the oil fields was because of sanctions-"

THis happened during the war not before nor after.

The mass graves were because of sanctions-

And stopping the flow of water to the Shites in the South was because of sanctions-

And gassing the Kurds was because of sanctions-

Tourture Chambers were becuase of sanctions-

All of these were definatly not done because of sanctions and you ought to know this.More spin and I'm gonna drop.Why is it you need to distort facts.

As far as keeping the profits from the oil for food,where is the proof of this "fact"?

Maybe the proverb fits you too:If you cant dispute the facts---distract.


Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 04:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry for the confusing post but it was the incoherence that left me confused.

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 04:13 PM | PERMALINK

Fouro-

SAS and SBS are not major offensives, or fall under the intensify operation. Intensify operations is divisional level actions. This is not done under hostile weather when it can be avoided. The 10th can fight in any weather, and no ones assumes they are sledding. However, no one should assume that they should push into harsh conditions where the enemy has an upper hand just to get a time table complete, when there

The reports of diversion are true. But there was military, and political, reasons. The mountains are hostile. The plan was to gain control, and build infrastructure of what was controlled, and not to stretch thin. (that is why there was no attack last spring). By the way this is from the UN operational web-site, not the pro-Bush website.

Posted by: pol at February 28, 2004 04:20 PM | PERMALINK

the white house did act as if suddenly obl didn't need more attention once the taliban scrammed.
me, i'd guess they'll come up with his corpse around the dems convention.

as far as iraq, since the uk spied on Kay, the osp must've figured there were no wmd to speak of.
unless they're incredibly stupid.
so it was to get the bases, and secure the oil?

is pulling bases out of saudi going to help the House of Saud any with their dissent?
just asking.

and if the dominionists are so intent on helping the oppressed, then what up with haiti?

Posted by: mamima at February 28, 2004 04:34 PM | PERMALINK

Uhh who is distracting?
You stated there has been major terrorist actions and the only one cited (Bali) was prior to the war.

Red Crestent is neutral, the people have thoughts. I started my volunteer work when living in Turkey and have continued. I can not become an official member because of prior military service.

"The U.N. might have been the one named as in charge of sanctions but IT WAS the U.S. who would not give the up under any conditions that had saddam still in power.

Actually the U.N. does not have numbers of the dead in Iraq because of sanctions.Does this not make you question why."

Yes, becuase they were crule and hard on the people. It was all but the US who argued to continue sanctions, and they were not based on Sadaam staying in power, the SC wanted the proof of MWD destoyed.


"Padilla declared war, not police action with his dirty bomb plan."

Where is the trial transcripts for the evidence of these claims?"

Uhh- thats the point. He is a war prisoner and not privy to civil rights as charged by the US Government (who is allowing the charge to be considered by the Supreme Court. It is not hidden under the rug as it is on the front page)

Where is the facts on distoring the money from the oil for food. front page NY Times, and every other newspapaper, including Al Jazeer when they published the list of 250+ oil chits.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/29/international/middleeast/29FOOD.html
I know the deaths were not because of sanctions. Your previous post stated that the deaths were related to sanctions and I needed to check my facts. The fact is that were NOT related to sanctions, and that no one cared, or did anything till the US did something. There has been changes in the world, and they are good.

Posted by: sinop85 at February 28, 2004 04:35 PM | PERMALINK

I can't wait to crush the Taliban out of existence again.

Posted by: kurtie! at February 28, 2004 04:47 PM | PERMALINK

The only justification for the Iraq war in my opinion is that war resulted in fewer deaths than continuation of sanctions. It's the one reason I never call myself "anti-war" because there was a justification there. But Bush never resorted to it. The only humanitarian case he made was Saddam's brutality against political enemies 12 years ago. Not how Saddam+UN sanctions (with US applying the enforcement pressure)=500,000 deaths.

Posted by: Elrod at February 28, 2004 04:51 PM | PERMALINK

There is worse news from Afghanistan. Go to globeandmail.com for Saturday and read "Taliban lurches back toward power"

Posted by: mateo at February 28, 2004 04:55 PM | PERMALINK

"You stated there has been major terrorist actions and the only one cited (Bali) was prior to the war. "

No that was someone else's thread.


"It was all but the US who argued to continue sanctions"


Actually,This is one of the reasons the administration wanted to go to war.The rest of the world,namely France and Russia,that felt that sanctions should be lifted.The U.S. gov't had been working ,since the first Bush,on a policy that sanctions would not be lifted unless saddam left office.So since the world was in favor of lifting sanctions the U.S. would not leave Iraq without getting saddam out bfore lifting sanctions.


"He is a war prisoner and not privy to civil rights as charged by the US Government "


You were the one who wanted to know what liberties were being lost,your own statement here proves this to be true.


"Your previous post stated that the deaths were related to sanctions and I needed to check my facts"


And you might notice I asked you to clarify when it was you thought millions were being killed.You cannot claim that sanctions actually saved any lives.Disease and starvation was and is running rampant because of the sanctions and the prevention of much needed parts to fix the infrastructure like water and electricity(which by the way are still not working to full capacity).Yes many were killed before the first gulf war but you might remember that the U.S. and others were supplying Iraq with the wepons to kill all those.And yes there were deaths brought about after the war befoer sanctions were in place but if you'll remember the first Bush allowed this to happen in not backing the Irqai people in regime change,when that was what he was calling for.Instead the gov't of Bush I looked the other way while saddam killed all those Kurds.


The U.S. had every opportunity to stop the dying during the sanctions but chose to cover up the dying and their policy of short circuting supplies to the needy.There is alot being written about this now after all that has happened that sheds a very dirty light on ALL the American administrations involved in the sanctions.It is very sad that our government has such a lust for blood.

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 04:55 PM | PERMALINK

Keiser,

When Kerry says "some miltary action" I interpret him to mean special ops of the sort that's carrying out the Afghanistan mission. Similar type of military action can and should be done elsewhere as needed. Kerry has called for 40,000 new troops. Presumably some would be to bolster special ops. But more are probably because of peacekeeping needs in Iraq, which Kerry is committed to. I don't see Kerry jettisoning military action in the war on terror at all. Kerry is absolutely right that most terrorists are caught, and terrorism is prevented, by good old-fashioned police and intel work. The kind that prevented the Lincoln and Holland Tunnel bombings and the Millennium bombings. Good police work could have and would have prevented 9/11. The difficulty is that it involves a sort of communication between agencies that we've never achieved up to now. And, it requires unprecedented international cooperation. Pakistani police work gave us Khalid Mohammad after all. The Yemeni government has netted a handful of al-Qaeda people too.

To say that Clinton "did nothing" after the first WTC bombing, the Embassy bombings or the USS Cole is laughable. Did he do enough? No. He should have launched a full-scale military operation in Afghanistan instead of trying a pin-prick Cruise missile attack in 1998. Of course the Republicans would never have rallied around him because they cared more about slamming him in the impeachment scandal than they did stopping terrorism (the Weekly Standard is an exception here, I might add - Bill Kristol in 1998 slammed his fellow conservatives for accusing Clinton of "wagging the dog" and not taking Osama seriously). When Bush took office in January 2001 he simply did not think Osama was a serious foreign policy threat. We'll hear more about this when the 9/11 panel finishes its work, and when Richard Clarke's book comes out (he was the point man for briefing Bush on ongoing anti-terrorism operations at the end of the Clinton Administration). Bush adopted a more openly military role in Afghanistan only after 9/11. And even still he wouldn't commit sizable numbers of ground troops. Maybe that would have helped secure much of the country outside of Kabul. Or maybe it would have stirred up the Afghan population against us. Who knows? What I'm quite certain of, though, is that Bush diverted a sizable chunk of the US military capabilities to invade Iraq. And considering the destabilization of Iraq in the past year, the Iraq war was a complete disaster for the war on terror. Presumably it's shortsighted large-scale ground invasions of nations with very tenuous ties to terrorists that Kerry refers to when he blasts the Bush Administration's war on terror approach.

Posted by: Elrod at February 28, 2004 05:08 PM | PERMALINK

Deep down, do you think most Democrats would prefer another Sept 11 if it could guarantee them Bush would lose in November, or no more terrorist attacks in the US if it assured them of four more years of being on the outs? I don't know the answer, but the fact that it is out there is pretty damning to the Democrats.

Rewritten to reflect reality:
Deep down, do you think most Republicans would prefer another Sept 11 if it could guarantee them Bush would win in November, or no more terrorist attacks in the US if it assured them of at least four years of being on the outs? I don't know the answer, but the fact that it is out there is pretty damning to the Republicans.

As to fw's amusing assertion that the lack of major attacks since 9/11 proves anything, I have a pink purse that protects me from being attacked by a lion – it's amazing, I've never been attacked by a lion while carrying it. It’s the same Republican logic.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at February 28, 2004 05:18 PM | PERMALINK

"""because of peacekeeping needs in Iraq, which Kerry is committed to"""

Yoooo...put down the weed dude...Kerry voted AGAINST peacekeeping in Iraq and funding the continuation of the war on terror by the military.

Did you miss the vote dude??

MORE LUNACY: """Pakistani police work gave us Khalid Mohammad after all. The Yemeni government has netted a handful of al-Qaeda people too."""

Hey, guess where the police got their intelligence...from the tents, caves and houses of the Al Queda and taliban in Afghanistan and Iraq. We would have caught, nor stopped 1/10th of the terrorists without the military having opened al queda up like a chest spreader.

Believe me, the 10,000 Al Queda trained terrorists fear the army, marines and smart bombs far more than they fear the FBI. What you don't hear about in Iraq id we are capturing or killing terroists on a daily basis.

Posted by: keiser at February 28, 2004 05:43 PM | PERMALINK

Lori Thantos --

The power of your pink purse in protecting you from lions would be more significant if there had been a severe lion attack which everyone assumed would be followed by more.
Absent such a lion attack, your example is cute, but silly and irrelevant.

Posted by: fw at February 28, 2004 05:43 PM | PERMALINK

"""The Yemeni government has netted a handful of al-Qaeda people too"""

Hey did you miss us blowing the USS Cole bombers up with the missile from the drone? You think that was NYPD? Wake up!

90% of what we now know today about Al Queda, how they finance, how they operate, who they communicate through, the ties and fund raising through Islamic charities, the ties to which madrassas and which Imams ALL CAME FROM THE MILITARY VICTORY IN AFGHANISTAN. We got more intelligence
from that than we had in 10 years..we got videos, we got pictures, we got names, dates, computer disks with families payements, cut-outs, banks, account numbers, contacts, phone numbers...YOU COMMENTS ARE LAUGHABLE WITH REGARD TO LAW ENFORCEMENT...They would still be cooling their heels.

No pakistani police force gave us Khalid Sheikh Muhammed you dolt....we tracked his cell phone, we tracked his internet access, we found out what sattelite communications they used, how they communicated, what their cover names were all from military gathered intelligence.

You are simply out of your league.

Posted by: kesier at February 28, 2004 05:54 PM | PERMALINK

Keiser,
Maybe you need to read a little closer. The sort of military operations that Kerry supports (and myself) are the sorts that are going on in Afghanistan. If those net the kind of intel that lead Pakistan to make arrests then all the better. Neither I nor Kerry ever said the army, marines and smart bombs shouldn't be deployed vigorously against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

"What you don't hear about in Iraq id we are capturing or killing terroists on a daily basis."

This is patently ridiculous. If you define the Iraqi insurgents as terrorists then you're right. Sure, they are terrorists in the strict sense: they terrorize the Iraqi population with car bombs and random mayhem. But they aren't the international Islamists who attacked us on 9/11. And if they are, then they moved on in there after our splendid invasion. But I guess that falls into the "Better they fight us in Baghdad than Boise, better in Kirkuk than Keokuk" bullshit.

As for the $87 billion request Kerry opposed giving a blank check to the Administration for civil contracts in Iraq. Remember how hard the Administration worked to make sure the military part was paired up with the rebuilding, to the consternation of many conservatives and liberals? Kerry supported and continues to support getting the job done in Iraq. Read his damn website. But if you don't think the Administration was playing politics by coupling the $67 billion military bill with the $20 billion school painting mission then you're naive.

Posted by: Elrod at February 28, 2004 05:58 PM | PERMALINK

fw, you might just as well say that Clinton's actions in the wake of the first WTC bombing were even more effective than Bush's; after all, another attack didn't occur until after his next term was finished. In other words, we can't say ANYTHING rational about Bush's "success" compared to Clinton's until 2009. And even then we have to take into account the difference in their flexibility of action. Clinton was excoriated for every action, no matter how obviously correct (like his elimination of Hussein's ability to threaten his neighbors and his focus on bin Laden – even to the point of attacking him knowing that the Republicans couldn't put national security above partisanship and would accuse him of wagging the dog).

In other words, the pink purse is as good a model as the one you are using.

And let's be honest. Terrorism is not the number one threat to an American life. It is not number two. It's not even among the top ten (ask the CDC). But 9/11 was the best thing that ever happened to George Walker Bush. Before that he was a shoe-in for a single term given the divisiveness of the process by which he became President, the far out of the mainstream way in which he governed, and his poor handling of the concerns of ordinary Americans.

In reality, it is not the Democrats, but the Republicans whose have benefited from terrorism. That's why there is good reason to wonder which the Republicans would rather have – no terrorism that leads to Bush's defeat because people have become complacent or a terrorist attack that they can further scare Americans with so he can have a second term.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at February 28, 2004 06:18 PM | PERMALINK

Ahhh yes!Life,liberty and the pursuit of those that threaten it.----U.S. NAVY advertisement

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 06:20 PM | PERMALINK

Smallfish-
Apologies on the post, I mis-read your response and the one above as one. (too old to be reading without my glasses, and no, they are not rose colored)


France and Russia did never voted to lift the sanctions, or bring a referendum to the Security Council (that I recall, and I was in France during Feb-Aug 03). And if they did are you advocating that Sadaam should have been let free to roam. They did state that they wanted to give the inspectors more time, and more time included sanctions.

I do not agree that my statments on parilla support your argument. In the case where we are at war with a non-government, then the case of citizenship is murky, to me. Is an American in Iraqi shooting US troops a combatant, or a murderer? I beleive they are combatatants, and am glad to let the Supreme Court decide (I believe in them which is why I do not dispute the ruling on Bush, although I don't like it)

The first Bush was under a UN charter for the war that had a limited scope. I didn't agree with it, but to continue would have been true isolated actions and condemened the US. It was not the US that turned away at the end of the war, it was the world, which the US is a part.

And no the US does not want for blood. It does the best it can, and mistakes happen. But is this unusual for world politics. France backed Hitler, and realized the mistake. Is a past mistake justification for not doing something today? Where is the proof that the US is only after the oil?

My comment on the millions dying, was the millions that have died since Sadaam came to power. No one listened to the cries until the US got involved, but we keep count of everyone that has died since. My point being, don't use body count as a justification, unless you use the full body count.

Posted by: sinop85 at February 28, 2004 06:35 PM | PERMALINK

Elrod-
bullshit flag- Afghanistan is not special ops. It is a full blown war being fought at division level, with the help of special ops. To say otherwise is incorrect and changing facts to support an argument.

The Iraqi 87 billion was what was asked for and delivered. The cost to support Iraqi. Do you really believe that we can support Iraqi shool painting without the military there? Are you advocating a complete withdrawl? The UN won't even show up as they have stated.

Also, there are terrorists in Iraq. I don't believe they were there until the war, but they are there. The concept of war is to get the enemy concentrated to fight

Posted by: sinop85 at February 28, 2004 06:45 PM | PERMALINK

Nice way to get the anti-France talking points in there sinop85, too bad that not only did the US (mostly in the form of corporations) support Hitler, Bush's granddaddy did after we were at war with him. Apparently, selective use of the facts cuts across partisan lines. The intellectually honest know this and don't try to pretend that it is a defect unique to the other side.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at February 28, 2004 06:45 PM | PERMALINK

The Taliban in Iraq?

Do you get your world view from Tobe Keith?

Posted by: Ducktape at February 28, 2004 06:47 PM | PERMALINK

FW

Bush claims to be waging a "Global War on Terror" with a coalition of countries, therefore any terrorist attacks anywhere would be a failure. So you have to count Bali, Turkey, and all the attacks occuring in Iraq as proof of failure of his policies. PERIOD.

Posted by: Tom at February 28, 2004 06:51 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans have to choose a justification and stick to it. It cannot both be that we are draining the swamp and that we are using Iraq as flypaper. Each is the antithesis of the other. And if Iraq is flypaper then they must admit that Bush lied to get us there, since that broken down nation was no threat to us before we invaded.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at February 28, 2004 06:51 PM | PERMALINK

Sinop85

You have very commendable manners,I respect that.
However I somewhat disagree with your views(to a point)

"France and Russia did never voted to lift the sanctions, or bring a referendum to the Security Council "

While true it was never brought to the SC it was widely known (to the current administration)that they supported and wanted to eliminate sanctions.They and other countries wanted to allow inspectors more time,but this current regime'wouldnt allow it.


"In the case where we are at war with a non-government, then the case of citizenship is murky"


I would agree citizenship is murky at best,BUT he is still an American citizen by law and SHOULD have the same rights and venues of justice.To hold him incomminucato is against the law.True the president has certain powers but this does not include holding citizens without due process.


"The first Bush was under a UN charter for the war that had a limited scope."


This is true,BUT when saddam violated international law(against humanity)Bush could have gained widespread support to intervene in these violations at the time.He chose not to for reasons as yet untold.


"No one listened to the cries until the US got involved"

This was'nt even the justification for the war.If you know your history(that is just now comming to light) you know that Bush I actually gave the green light for saddam to invade Kuwait."we wont object to the border dispute you may have".It was only after the Iraqi invasion that the Bush I had an opportunity to use force,and then the justification was for (the public thought it was for liberation)the testing of military hardware that was brand new.There is even evidence now new,that saddam had the right to invade,Kuwait was drilling parrellel to the border for oil.Granted this was not a true case for war.

Dont get me wrong I am not trying to make saddam a good guy in any way shape or form,but the fact is the American government has and does mislead us to war many times in the recent past and it is criminal.In the meantime wars make civil liberties secondary and this too is not right.Not only that the civilian casualties created by our government is unjustified and should be(but wont) punished.


Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 07:04 PM | PERMALINK

Pol,

I've seen the UN operational boilerplate. The point I think is obvious is you fight when they don't want to fight. 10th Mountain, Rangers and SAS, SBS are anytime anywhere.

Full divisional war is a non sequitur in those mountains. Snow or 110 degrees, you are a big fat slow target. In that terrain, small forward teams piggyback, reconnoiter and maintain contact, I believe, and may very well have put the sights on where they believe Bin Laden is. Certainly, whoever is still tasked to maintain a presence there hasn't been hiding in a tent all winter. And that's the ironic part: If they've narrowed down his locations, why the hell the official pomp and circumstance and rain of press about "closing in" or "intensifying effort."

Sorry, but after witnessing the last 18 months of how these guys--Rumsfeld & Co--fight, it feels precisely like more of the same politicized rubbish. Things don't "fit." And bad fit invariably points to "bullshit" with this crew.

P.S. : Smallfish, In case you were wondering: I'm for our soldiers.

Posted by: fouro at February 28, 2004 07:23 PM | PERMALINK

>He is a war prisoner and not privy to civil rights as charged by the US Government

Jose Padilla is not a war prisoner. He was arrested in the US and has been denied his rights for the past 2 years.

As for the terrorist attack in Bali, that did not occur before the war on terrorism began, since the war on terrorism began right after 9/11.

Posted by: Robert McClelland at February 28, 2004 07:25 PM | PERMALINK

Bush claims to be waging a "Global War on Terror" with a coalition of countries, therefore any terrorist attacks anywhere would be a failure. So you have to count Bali, Turkey, and all the attacks occuring in Iraq as proof of failure of his policies. PERIOD.

That's just nuts. It sets the bar at such a ridiculous height that no president could possibly ever claim success. I suspect that was the reason you pulled it out of your ass.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at February 28, 2004 07:39 PM | PERMALINK

Lori
Where did you get the pink purse? I need one to match my shoes, and to thwack fw over the head, like Ruth Buzzi used to thwack Arte Johnson, as fw seems like a DOM (deranged old man).

Posted by: Dinosaur at February 28, 2004 07:40 PM | PERMALINK

Smallfish-
Appreciate a dialog on this page, it is welcome then the typical, Bush conspiracy that I always read, but like you say, I disagree with you point of view, but respect it.

Bush I did not pursue Sadaam, nor the rest of the world did either. America may be the lead but we can't be expected to run other countris, because the coalition would have fallen apart and Isreal would have been to blame and the mid-east would have been in flames. Already everyone is crying America is only after oil, what if we had expanded the war beyond the original charter? The I told you so's would have spun up the masses.

Like you said, there were those that wanted to end sanctions. But they did nothing. That to me is a bigger crime. Yes the US could have vetoed, so they could have vetoed the extensions.

The history is up for interpretation. The Ambassador (can't rememeber her name) did make the statement, but it did not mean green light into Kuwait. It could just have likely meant go to world court. The entire context was recorded.


Kuwait was slant drilling, but like you said, no justification for war.

Again, Citizenship is murky, and I in no way agree with violation of the 5th and 6th ammendments. But also don't want to wait for police investigation on a man with a dirty bomb. Is he still a US citizen when he has joined a group that has declared war on the West. I don't know the answer, nut have not seen abuses that make me worry, watchful, yes. War is not the same. Was the US justified in the Japannese interment camps. No in looking from the comforts of now, but what about when there was confirmed reports that Japanese mixed with the citizens were giving target information on Pearl Harbor.

Posted by: sinop85 at February 28, 2004 07:47 PM | PERMALINK

Robert:
If you beleive the War on Terrorism started at 9/11 so Bali is a reflection of the war then why do you not think the war needed to go to the next level? If the actions before Iraq were not working, and there has been no attacks since, what is your point, that Iraq has stopped these types of attacks?

... Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court has agreed to decide the case of Jose Padilla,
an American citizen who has been held by US military officials in a military ... Antiwar.com

Antiwar.com identifies Padilla as held by the military, not the police. The Supreme Court is hearing the discussion to determine if he is POW or combatant. And his lawyer has met with him as documented in Newsday- 26 Feb 04.

Posted by: sinop85 at February 28, 2004 07:57 PM | PERMALINK

Can anyone tell my why I shouldn't credit the Libyan volte-face on WMD to the US's new aggressiveness since 9/11/01?

Posted by: Mark Zimmerman at February 28, 2004 07:59 PM | PERMALINK

Dinosaur, the purse was a gift from some friends who found it in Scotland. Doing a quick google, I find that someone is selling a similar (mine is solid fuchsia, rather than a pink print) one on e-bay (what do you know, two of the biggest cliché's on the net in one post).

Posted by: Lori Thantos at February 28, 2004 08:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Can anyone tell my why I shouldn't credit the Libyan volte-face on WMD to the US's new aggressiveness since 9/11/01?"


One word: OIL

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 08:14 PM | PERMALINK

How about this article from Sep of 1999 – from the Christian Science Monitor:

The West has long viewed Libya as one of the globe's most dangerous nations. Terrorism linked to Libya in the 1980s compelled then-President Reagan to refer to Colonel Qaddafi as the "mad dog of the Middle East."

Handover of suspects

But that image appears to be changing. The catalyst was the handover last April of two Libyan suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The suspects are scheduled for trial in the Netherlands next February. After the handover, United Nations sanctions that prohibited air travel and froze Libyan assets abroad were suspended, causing a rush of euphoria in Tripoli. Libyan moves to accommodate France and Britain have also caught Washington's attention.

Despite official denials - and President Clinton's reassurance to Congress in July that he would maintain unilateral US sanctions "fully and effectively" - the Clinton administration is known to be considering removing Libya from the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism.

More can be found at the link, but crediting Bush with success in Libya is like crediting Reagan for the success of the Cold War. Both were there when it happened, but neither laid the foundations, and neither can demonstrate that their part was more than that of their predecessors.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at February 28, 2004 08:16 PM | PERMALINK

More can be found at the link, but crediting Bush with success in Libya is like crediting Reagan for the success of the Cold War. Both were there when it happened, but neither laid the foundations, and neither can demonstrate that their part was more than that of their predecessors.

Wrong.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at February 28, 2004 08:21 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Mr. Zimmerman,
Good question. This is a basic logic problem: "Absent experimentation, how do you determine causality ?".

Historians get around it by looking at the minutes of government official meetings, and carefully dissect timelines.

In your case, if an official of Lybia acknowledged that Iraq influenced Qhaddafi's decision, it would be a good start. The timeline is not as good though. Lybia did overtures to rejoin the world economy ever since it decided to settle the Lockerby bombing charges. Also, it's current program was not really advanced or going anywhere anytime soon.

Iraq, may have played a role or not. It's even possible that the US's embarrassment at failing to find in WMD, was used by Libya: we'll throw you a publicity bonanza, in return for sanction-lifting.

Posted by: ch2 at February 28, 2004 08:26 PM | PERMALINK

Americans (or at least Calpundit posters) clearly do not read the news. In the past 12 months, al-Qaida has struck in Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. Why? Because standing up to secular governments in Islamic countries gets them more recruits.

Posted by: js7a at February 28, 2004 08:27 PM | PERMALINK

"America may be the lead but we can't be expected to run other countris, because the coalition would have fallen apart and Isreal would have been to blame and the mid-east would have been in flames."


But can't you say thats exactly whats happening now?Isreal Is to blame,the middle east IS in flames and America IS running other countries.
Isreal has much blame to accept due to its unceasing,blatant prodding of the palestinians.I have no love for the plestinians but they ARE a repressed people and Isreal keeps them in bondage therefor exciting anger throughout the mideast and beyond.America got itself into trouble by not denouncing this bondage and pays the price by having planes flown into buildings.Isreal eggs the U.S. into playing sherrif to uphold its status in the world and we all look the other way.
If the U.S had strongly opposed saddam when he sought our approval to invade Kuwait we would not be in the position we are now.
I was not anti republican before this administration but I am now because of these and many other policies.

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 08:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Americans (or at least Calpundit posters) clearly do not read the news."

js7a, thanks for the link.
But I fail to see which posters you are referring to ? Your blanket statement seems to show that YOU did clearly not read the thread.

Posted by: ch2 at February 28, 2004 08:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Libya: we'll throw you a publicity bonanza, in return for sanction-lifting."

NO F'in WAY.This reversal was directly related to OIL!
"The US said it would let US oil companies reopen negotiations with Libya over potentially lucrative oil leases that have been off-limits since Washington imposed sanctions in 1986"-Financial times

With the reserves of oil being touted as getting low what would be better than to reestablish relations with a killer like Libya?

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 08:35 PM | PERMALINK

smallfish,
aside the intensity, we seem to argue the same point. US companies are forbidden to trade until sanctions are lifted. Lybia wants them lifted. Qhaddafi may have decided that any action that builds US incentive to do that is great.

Posted by: ch2 at February 28, 2004 08:38 PM | PERMALINK

ch2

Your right I misread your post.My apologies.

Posted by: smalfish at February 28, 2004 08:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum:

YES. WAR ON TERROR. FIGHT TERROR. KILL TERROR.

*WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH TERROR.*

We need to transform, modernize, Islamic culture. They need to learn multiculturism. Bush can't teach them. Gay marriage? Let's get old fashioned like the Islamist fundamentalists and go for marriage between a man and a woman and a woman and a woman and a woman and a girl. Praise god.

Posted by: epistemology at February 28, 2004 08:51 PM | PERMALINK

Because standing up to secular governments in Islamic countries gets them more recruits.
Posted by js7a

Well,since we're setting up a theocracy in a non-Islamic country we're safe?

Posted by: M. Tullius at February 28, 2004 09:23 PM | PERMALINK

Unbelaivable.

Posted by: Al at February 28, 2004 09:35 PM | PERMALINK

>>>aside the intensity, we seem to argue the same point. US companies are forbidden to trade until sanctions are lifted. Lybia wants them lifted. Qhaddafi may have decided that any action that builds US incentive to do that is great

But the sanctions have been in place how long? Why act now? Why help Bush? Why throw open the whole network of illegal nuclear proliferation now?

Posted by: Mark Zimmerman at February 28, 2004 09:43 PM | PERMALINK

Well Mark,

I seem to sense that you'd prefer it if Bush's decision to attack Iraq was the impetus for Libya's decision. Don't worry, that's alright. (Disclosure, I'm a liberal scientist with no love for Bush).

But back to the data and your questions.

"But the sanctions have been in place how long?"

The Lockerbie bombing occurred in 1988, and sanctions were imposed in 1991.

Why act now?
Qhaddafi has made a number of gestures to have sanctions lifted, most importantly settling the Lockerbie charges. These precede 9/11 itself.
Now could Qhaddafi have been scared to be caught holding a WMD program after the iraq invasion ? Possible but highly improbable. It seems we are in no position to invade anyone else, we made no threats to Lybia (we did to Syria) and Lybia only had a fledgling WMD program with little activity or progress. So the threat element seems minor, and the timeline for prior cooperation establishes a clear desire for a "rapprochement" with the West.

Why help Bush?
I doubt that Qhaddafi cares much about our internal politics, as long as the US gov. pushes for sanctions to be lifted. (my personal opinion)

Why throw open the whole network of illegal nuclear proliferation now?

a) Why throw open the whole network of illegal nuclear proliferation ? If you're going clean, you don't care about burning your sources.

b) Why now ? Don't know. Maybe the Lockerbie concessions were not good enough. Or, we may have asked them to come clean about a program we suspected.

Anyway, I gotta go but that was my two cents' worth.
Regards,

Posted by: ch2 at February 28, 2004 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the link, Kevin! I, unsurprisingly, agree with everything he said, although my two main reservations would be (a.) the cheap shot at the Israeli peace process; as far as I can see, that's one of the only policy issues where the Bush administration has tried to do the right thing, and (b.) the fact that really, none of those ideas are terribly sexy. He's right in every way -- the war of ideas is the more important one -- but it doesn't give the feeling of security that well-oiled guns give to the warbloggers... I'll be interested to see if he can get these ideas across to people. He'd better start soon.

Posted by: Chris Conroy at February 28, 2004 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Mark,
Oh I forgot,

smallfish's point: the desire to exploit oil in Lybia, may have drawn Lybia and the US closer together.

Smallfish,
no need to apologize. I've gotten passionate myself very often. I'm trying to be kind, polite and patient as a lent resolution.

Keiser,
sorry for my pre-lent impatience.

Posted by: ch2 at February 28, 2004 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone else think that "the last best hope of earth" is a little bizarre?

Posted by: David Perlman at February 28, 2004 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Smallfish-
"But can't you say thats exactly whats happening now?Isreal Is to blame,..."


Wow- that is intense. I am not a fan of Israel's actions I believe they are extreame, equal to the failed British tactics in S. Africa and Ireland. But they are not the sole blame.
This arguments ignores the regimes (as you defined our govt.- scary to me) in Arabia that use the Palestine issue as propoganda to suppress their people. We'll pay you $50k US to blow yourself up in a train station, restaurant, etc. Recommended reading reveiws of Middle East media to see what we are up against.
It is sad to see that you are turning 'anti-republican' over Iraq. It is a different point of view, do we continue with police action, or come full bore. This is not conspiracy, or hate, or make Haliburton rich. This attitude was disgusting durring Clinton's reign and disgusting during Bush's. Why are we here?
As to your other post- Oil for Libya, Come on! The sanctions were Locherbie all the way. They came clean, and denounced terrorism and WMD. Oil is a tool to get prosperity. This is turning reality into an argument. What should we send to Libya, Basket makers? Shouldn't we get mutual financial agreements with a country, then we have mutual interests. This is why we have allies, not because they love Disneyland, but because we have mutual intersts.
Why did we suppoert Kosovo? Don't see oil there.

Posted by: Sinop85 at February 28, 2004 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

This might have been posted in the wrong thread. Sorry about the repetition:


The Real Payoff for Bush to Neutralize Evil-Doer No. 1...

...is not the holy rating spike that might come with the opportunity to bask in the glory of presenting himself as the Conqueror Shrub, but to reaffirm the only device that has worked in his attempts to pillage this country: FEAR.

Images of a babbling, perhaps even cowering bin-Laden in standard issue Army leg-irons will undoubtedly energize the unwavering Bush faithful, but I would guess a lot of Americans who are on the fence experiencing crises of faith in our President would realize they'd been duped, and come to understand what a sham The Hunt for Osama - and perhaps the entire Bush presidency - has been all along. But they and the other once-believers would return to the House of the Doers of Good because...

The imprisonment or killing of bin-Laden would absolutely justify taking the whole nation to Homeland Security Code Red; how could any Bush opponent (including me!) suggest that the country would not be in truly imminent danger of a real terrorist attack then?

Rove & the Republicans not only would argue that Bush is the one man with the experience to defend us against this threat, but announce that, as a caring leader, he would immediately leave the campaign trail to work on a viable defense plan to save us all, men, women, and children - even homosexual ones.

And, well, imagine how that might leave any Democratic challenger looking...

Posted by: QueNoSabe at February 28, 2004 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Fair enough that Afghanistan is not just special ops. But it's much much smaller in terms of manpower commitment than Iraq. And even if it required 500,000 men it would still be the kind of military action Kerry would support because the actual culprits of 9/11 were hiding in Afghanistan and taunting us from there. It's not the size of the operation that would make it palatable to Kerry, but the obvious necessity of it. It would have been impeachable not to attack Afghanistan. 95% of America supported attacking the Taliban. This wasn't a "Bush Doctrine" move because it was in retaliation for a military attack against the United States.

Frankly, I don't see much of a difference, theoretically, between Bush's and Kerry's approach to the war on terror. Bush has relied heavily on law enforcement and intel operations, both domestically and internationally. In practice there's a huge difference. Bush is ready to burn the UN and "Old Europe" a lot faster than Kerry would. Bush had Iraq on the brain all along and it hasn't done jack shit to help make America or the world safer. But they would have approached Afghanistan the same way.

As for Kerry's vote on the war and on the $87 billion I have to admit I'm not entirely sure or satisfied. I can only think that he did not like "what was offered", as did many conservative Republicans whose constituents groveled over civil project spending. The US can't pull out, even though I'm quite sure Bush would like to. Perhaps this is why Kerry has asked to increase the size of the military while Rumsfeld still holds on to his cherished, nimble, smallish fighting force, even as our peacekeeping missions demand MORE, not LESS, boots on the ground. We will get minimal help from others so we should be ready to bear the burden in the future. When I hear Bush say that we'll be there for decades and we'll be spending close to a trillion dollars there when all is said and done then I'll know he's serious. Until then, I'll continue to see Bush as a political coward not worthy of leading this nation.

Posted by: Elrod at February 28, 2004 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

In Kerry's speach he makes this point of difference with Bush:

>>>Where he’s acted, his doctrine of unilateral preemption has driven away our allies and cost us the support of other nations

But then later in the speech, Kerry says

>>>As President, I will not wait for a green light from abroad when our safety is at stake.

and

>>>First, if I am President I will not hesitate to order direct military action when needed to capture and destroy terrorist groups and their leaders

So waht's the difference with Bush's policy of pre-emption?


Kerry has this brain storm as to how to enhance our intelligence capability:

>>>We must train more analysts in languages like Arabic.

The CIA couldn't get anywhere with this when the Democrats under Clinton.

This is how Kerry's going to deal with the Saudis:

>>>We will launch a "name and shame" campaign against those that are financing terror. And if they do not respond, they will be shut out of the U.S. financial system.

Is it really that easy?

This is the only reference to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict:

>>>We have seen what happens when Palestinian youth have been fed a diet of anti-Israel propaganda

The Palestinians hate Israel because of anti-Israeli propaganda? Would this propaganda be news footage of what the IDF is doing in Palestinian territory every day? Or pictures of the separation fence?

This struck me as interesting, in light of Kerry's vote on spending in Iraq last fall:

>>>Next, whatever we thought of the Bush Administration’s decisions and mistakes – especially in Iraq – we now have a solemn obligation to complete the mission, in that country and in Afghanistan. Iraq is now a major magnet and center for terror. Our forces in Iraq are paying the price everyday

No change in policy if Kerry is elected.

Posted by: Mark Zimmerman at February 28, 2004 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if your last post is sarcastic - I'm guessing not - but I agree. From here on out, Kerry would do exactly what Bush so far has said he'd do. I wish Kerry AND Bush (though especially Bush, since he's the actual President) would come clean with the American people on how long this commitment will last. Tell us that it will be decades and involve a trillion dollars and I'll know he's for real. Right now I see too many mixed signals, as if he's just thinking about how he can pull out and save face for the election. A lot of people would like the US to leave, including many conservatives. I think it would be a disaster. Kerry is right. It doesn't matter why we're there. We're there now and we have an obligation to get it right. Leaving now would yield a certain civil war.

The Palestine comments were disappointing. But in an election year do you expect honesty from a candidate on Israeli atrocities? This is the fault of America as a whole, not just Kerry or Bush.

The reconciliation of the first points is not too difficult. If the threat is real, Kerry will invade regardless of allies' objections. The practical upside of this is: what about a case where the threat is not so real. Or is only potential. The key difference is pre-emptive war. Because of the failures to find WMD a pre-emptive war in Iraq has revealed itself to be disastrous. Had WMD been discovered other nations could have said, hey, you were right. But now they'll never trust either our intel or our interpretation of our intel if it means a pre-emptive war. Who would join a future coalition of the willing? Not likely Britain or Australia. Unless the threat really is real and imminent, in which case it wouldn't be pre-emptive.

Posted by: Elrod at February 29, 2004 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Iraq may not have been a distraction, but rather a diversion. Perhaps the administration knew, or at least strongly suspected, that with serious, concerted, persistent effort OSL could be had in relative short order, i. e., in too short of order. W and his crew may not know much but they do know manipulating the electorate and the lesson of Daddy's demise could not be more obvious'

Given Ws decline in popularity, people might actually be beginning to think he is not honest, the admin may not want to risk waiting until October to trot out OSL.

If that doesnt work, I shudder to think of what terrible acts or acts of omission to which these zealots will resort.

Posted by: MikeK at February 29, 2004 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

I just read the entire comments by John Kerry and I was quite impressed. Sure, there are moments when he gets his digs in on Bush, and there are points that would require more clarification. But overall it was a strong document. And it does not show him to be shunning military action in the war on terror in favor of law enforcement. Rather, he seems to be saying that we need both - and a lot of both. Just that we have to be careful that we don't hurt the very allies we need to help us on both the military and law enforcement side. I feel more confident with him as a commander in chief, and in the coming political fight. I'd like to hear other comments, especially from those who read the entire document.

Posted by: Elrod at February 29, 2004 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

RANDAL
\
I did not set the bar. Bush did. He claims to be such a humanitarian (liberating the Iraqi people from the madman) He must therefore concern himself with terrorists attacks anywhere right?

Or is it just terrorist attacks that cost him votes that concern him?

Posted by: Tom at February 29, 2004 03:38 AM | PERMALINK

::::Because of the failures to find WMD a pre-emptive war in Iraq has revealed itself to be disastrous. Had WMD been discovered other nations could have said, hey, you were right""""

Sorry, but this just doesn't make sense...
can you give me one quote from one other Nation showing they believed Saddam Hussein had fully disarmed from WMD prior to the war?

The UN, Hans Blix all said that Iraq had NOT MADE THE FUNDAMENTAL DESCISION TO COOPERATE AND DISARM.

This WMD stockpile thing is a myth...its just the last of the lefts candards...after we've proven everthng else about Hussein from all the UN resolutions.

He had concealed WMD programs, he had violated every UN resolution, he was decisiving the UN, his Final Full Disclosure wass FALSE and he had not made the fundamental decision to disarm. PERIOD.

Posted by: keiser at February 29, 2004 03:54 AM | PERMALINK

VETERANS SMACK DOWN KERRY:

http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-camp0229,0,3789710.story?coll=nyc-manheadlines-manhattan

Vietnam veterans rallied Saturday outside Sen. John Kerry's campaign headquarters in Manhattan — but a Band of Brothers they were not.

Side by side with a coalition of Vietnamese-Americans from across the country, members of the Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry chanted "Commander-in-Chief Kerry? No Way!" under banners and signs decrying the Democratic front-runner as a traitor.

"He betrayed us. He stabbed us in the back," Jerry Kiley, 57, co-founder of the ad hoc group, screamed to the crowd of about 400 people packed on Park Avenue South. "We will never allow him to be our commander-in-chief. Ever!"

Veteran after veteran passionately lambasted Kerry, for, among other things, his testimony to Congress that detailed alleged atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam. Kiley said his group plans to rally at the Democratic convention in Boston in July if Kerry wins the nomination.

Now who said Veterans weren't patriotic....ohh yeah, Kerry did.

Posted by: KEISER at February 29, 2004 04:11 AM | PERMALINK

Ahhhhh, now who's being preemptive and unilateral:

Sen. John Kerry said he would use American military forces to stop the violence if he were in office.
In a wide-ranging discussion with the Daily News Editorial Board,
Kerry (D-Mass.) said he would have sent troops to Haiti even without international support to quell the revolt against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"President Kerry would never have allowed that to get where it is," Kerry said.

So being pre-emptive and unilateral is bad , except when Kerry says its not. So Kerry wants the big old mean United States to throw its weight around..of course only when what 500 have died in Haiti while 5000 a month were dying under Hussein in Iraq.

Posted by: keiser at February 29, 2004 04:20 AM | PERMALINK

5000 a month were dying under Hussein? Why not say it was 7000?

Posted by: Dinosaur at February 29, 2004 05:29 AM | PERMALINK

This WMD stockpile thing is a myth...its just the last of the lefts candards...

The writer's plea for understanding is touching as is his contempt for punctuation. This otherwise is another example of Republican exegesis in which clarity is victimized by cant.

Posted by: Harry 3 Lime at February 29, 2004 06:32 AM | PERMALINK

Earlier posters argue that Libya made it's decision to open itself to inspection and rat out its nuclear supplies because of oil. ("the desire to exploit oil in Lybia, may have drawn Lybia and the US closer together"). It took three years of Bush for everyone to figure out there's oil in Libya and money to be made?

What I don't understand is that if Bush is such a disaster, why is Kerry proposing to continue his policies? Is Kerry going to make our intelligence infallible? The CIA and FBI bureaucrats are suddently going to come alive under Kerry?

Kerry says Israel's problems are due to the Palestinians being raised on a diet of anti-Israel propoganda???!!!! What evidence do we have that Kerry will change anything with regard to Israel? If Kerry is too chicken to talk about it now, what makes you think he can or will do anything later?

Posted by: Mark Zimmerman at February 29, 2004 06:53 AM | PERMALINK

Who among you would have predicted on Sept 12, 2001, that there would have been no further attacks on the US in the following 2 1/2 years?

Ummm, well. First, if you are talking about large-scale 9-11 style attacks, I for one said that we likely wouldn't see anything like that again for five or ten years (and, I also predicted at GWB's subsequent address to Congress that he'd claim a lack of attacks was proof of his success ... which I still believe he'll start touting on the campaign trail).

If you are talking about attacks on US "interests" abroad, then you are quite mistaken: there have been several such attacks successfully carried out by OBL and his associates. In fact, there have been more of these than I would have expected.

Posted by: Jet Tredmont at February 29, 2004 07:10 AM | PERMALINK

I guarantee you that if you'd asked 100 million Americans on Sept 12th, 2001 whether having no further attacks on US soil for the next 2 1/2 years would constitute a good result on the WOT,
98 million of them would have said yes.

Ask 100 women after they've been raped if they believe it will happen again in the next two months, and you'll get about the same percentage saying yes. It is natural human response to an unexpected and apparently out-of-our-control event to expect that event to repeat itself unless we do something about it.

There is a stark difference between human psychology and the real likelihood of an encore attack. You can't judge the "War" on Terror by its striking dissimilarity to a reactionist psychological fear, any more than you can judge the "War on Crime" to have been won because a particular woman gets through several years without having been raped a second time.

Posted by: Jet Tredmont at February 29, 2004 07:33 AM | PERMALINK

The best thing America could do to undercut ObL is withdraw from Iraq and to get the Israelis out of the West Bank and Gaza and create a real independent democratic state for the Palestinians.
He says that America must stay in Iraq until the job is finished but he is prepared to give a greater role to the UN, so on that count his position is better than W's. On Palestine, his position is the same as Bush. He thinks that the reason the Palestinians are hostile is all the anti-Israeli propaganda they see. When will Kerry realise that it is not propaganda, it is what they see every day of their lives.

Posted by: casualworker at February 29, 2004 08:13 AM | PERMALINK

No terrorist attacks in 2.5 years is good. It is also an indication that OBL and his crew got lucky on that date, gave it their best shot, made it, but with increased vigilance we have prevented further attacks, and that future ones will be few and far between. One big plus in our favor - attacks have been by Arabs, who stick out like a sore thumb right now. Not good for the law abiding Arabs, but it does help our fight. The white supremacists would be harder to fight because they blend in, but they are stupid. And where does W fit into the above equation - he happened to be the Pres during this 2.5 years, so he gets credit for it? Nah, it's like sports, it has been a team effort, all the way down the line, and the manager should give credit where it is due.

Posted by: Dinosaur at February 29, 2004 08:57 AM | PERMALINK

Kerry is wrong on Israel. But so are 99% of all other US politicians. The last one to get it right was Cynthia McKinney and she was ousted for her honesty.

Keiser,
You are a complete fucking moron. You just recycled every GOP talking point. Unfortunately most of it is outdated. Did you get the memo that you're not supposed to call the WMD stockpile claim a "canard". You're supposed to blame Tenet now. Come on, get with the program! I mean, Republicans aren't the only ones who can drag out the hundreds of times the Administration specifically cited stockpiles of WMD as the prime reason for war. Oh, and Blix has stated several times that failure to prove destruction of WMD doesn't ipso facto PROVE the existence of said weapons. And one guy did get it right from the getgo. His name was Scott Ritter. He was there longer than anyone else. And for his truthfulness he was labelled a Saddamite stooge. You and every other GOP shitbag owe him a personal apology. Better trolls please! Where are you Al?

Posted by: Elrod at February 29, 2004 09:02 AM | PERMALINK

""""5000 a month were dying under Hussein? Why not say it was 7000?"""

Because the 5,000 a month number is accurate and comes from the United Nations reports. Duhhhh...do you ever read?

""""And one guy did get it right from the getgo. His name was Scott Ritter"""""
YEAH, LET'S SEE WHAT RITTER SAID:
"Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors] suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production." -- Ex-Un Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter

What some fools fail to understand is that we never feared that Saddam would give Osama tractor trailer loads of chemical weapons but a handful of Antrax, or Botulinum Toxin, or Ricin.

In fact if you were well read you would understand that Saddam set up Ansar Al islam into operation through his secret police and Al Queda operatives got biological and chemical weapons training from Saddams secret labs. That allowed them to make RICIN in Northern Iraq in no mans land (But with the support of the Mukabarat) and then try to take it to England. That is if you had spent 20 years with a top secret security clearance...you maybe btter at connecting a few news articles.

Posted by: Keiser at February 29, 2004 09:16 AM | PERMALINK

Wooowwww. Is ense so Anti-semetism brewing among Liebrals - - what's the beef??

Isn't it funny how the news media keep asking the question is the Passion of the Christ anti-semetic.....But no one in the media asks...Is one of the leading Democrat presidential candidates an Anti-semite???? Why do you liberal democrats associate with an Anti-Semite like Al Sharpton?????

Posted by: keiser at February 29, 2004 09:21 AM | PERMALINK

Keiser wrote: "In fact if you were well read you would understand that Saddam set up Ansar Al islam into operation through his secret police and Al Queda operatives got biological and chemical weapons training from Saddams secret labs"

If you're well read on fantasy, then of course this makes sense. To those of us who live in the real world, well, sorry, but this little fantasy never was more than a fantasy.

You just gotta love someone like Keiser. Definitely a hoot.

Posted by: PaulB at February 29, 2004 09:26 AM | PERMALINK

"""And for his truthfulness he was labelled a Saddamite stooge""""

No, I believe he was labelled that because he took a bunch of money from his movie producer who got it from it being skimmed off the oil for food program by Saddam Hussein..

Please educate yourself about Mr. Ritters activities.

Mr. Ritter got $400,000 from an Iraqi American businessman, Shakir Alkhafaji, he produced a documentary about Iraq, "In Shifting Sands.
Now it turns out Mr. Shakir Alkhafaji got his money from Saddam Hussein who was handing out bribes in the for of oil contracts.

Scott Ritter...now PROVEN Saddamite Stooge.

Posted by: keiser at February 29, 2004 09:31 AM | PERMALINK

Keiser wrote: "can you give me one quote from one other Nation showing they believed Saddam Hussein had fully disarmed from WMD prior to the war?"

Wrong question, Keiser. Can you give me one quote from one other nation (other than Britain, of course) showing that they believed Saddam was a threat that required immediate action? Can you give me one quote from one other nation showing that they believed that Saddam still had an active nuclear program?

Everybody believed he had something. Nobody believed he had anything significant or immediately threatening.

"The UN, Hans Blix all said that Iraq had NOT MADE THE FUNDAMENTAL DESCISION TO COOPERATE AND DISARM."

Actually, that's not what Hans Blix said, but thanks for playing.

"This WMD stockpile thing is a myth"

So I just imagined Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and Donalf Rumsfeld talking about stockpiles?

"...its just the last of the lefts candards"

Dear me, I wasn't aware that I had any "candards" [sic].

"after we've proven everthng else about Hussein from all the UN resolutions."

LOL...yeah, right. Nice try, Keiser. (Talk about denial!)

"He had concealed WMD programs,"

Um, no, Keiser, he didn't. Using the David Kay standard, every single country in the world has a "concealed WMD program." It's nonsense.

"he had violated every UN resolution,"

Well, except for the one that required that he disarm, which he, in fact, did.

"he was decisiving the UN,"

By claiming that he had no WMDs? Some deception!

"his Final Full Disclosure wass FALSE"

You mean the one where he claimed he didn't have WMDs? That was subsequently supported by the fact that he didn't have WMDs?

"and he had not made the fundamental decision to disarm."

Well, except for the fact that he had already disarmed. PERIOD.

Too funny.

Posted by: PaulB at February 29, 2004 09:34 AM | PERMALINK

"""If you're well read on fantasy, then of course this makes sense. To those of us who live in the real world, well, sorry, but this little fantasy never was more than a fantasy."""

Your forgetting, Keiser knows much more than you.

Three years ago, the world believed Saddam had WMD.
Three weeks ago, the world thought gay marriage was illegal in San Franciso.
Three days ago, you though Scott Ritter wasn't a Saddam Stooge.
Three minutes ago, you thought you knew Saddam hadn't coordinated and trained Al Queda....

Imagine what you will KNOW tomorrow. Thanks to me. Stay tuned.

Posted by: keiser at February 29, 2004 09:35 AM | PERMALINK

keiser uses UN reports for the number of dead under SH - Should we be looking to the UN for guidance on all issues? I do not care if it was 500, 5000 or 50,000, I do not want the US go after cruel dictators. What does that make me? An uncaring person? OK, I'll accept that, paint me a Republican.

Posted by: Dinosaur at February 29, 2004 09:38 AM | PERMALINK

Operation Avenge My Daddy

Well, I think if you look at the record, I made it clear that this war was all about avenging mah daddy. If there's one thing the american people appreciate and support, it's a family vendetta.

Now, you'll excuse me, it's the lord's day. i got an auto race to watch.

Posted by: dubya at February 29, 2004 09:56 AM | PERMALINK

see, i'd like to testify before the 9/11 commission (which i tried to strangle in its crib), but, you know, it's racing season. plus, i got a vacation or two coming up.

Posted by: dubya at February 29, 2004 09:59 AM | PERMALINK

dubya - How dare you make fun of such a serious topic?
WH conversation:
Rove - "We may have to go in and remove Aristide"
W - "Did he try to kill my Daddy?"
Rove - "No".
W - "He's OK. What time is the NASCAR race?"

Posted by: Dinosaur at February 29, 2004 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

This thread is veering into idiocy. What do people (other than Keiser Wilhelm) think of Kerry's national security address at UCLA? It seems to be worthy of lots of commentary. So far only Mark Zimmerman has joined the fray. Maybe this should be a separate blog entry - Kevin?

Posted by: Elrod at February 29, 2004 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

""""I do not care if it was 500, 5000 or 50,000, I do not want the US go after cruel dictators"""

That's the point....we, the United States and the United Nations ALLOWED Hussein to kill these people because we set up the rules for the oil for food program, do you still not get it?

We left Saddam in charge of basically a concentration camp that WE were responsible for creating.

Posted by: Keiser at February 29, 2004 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

"Why are we stepping up the search for Osama? Well, considering this is now the third time since 9/11 that winter has moved toward spring, it shouldn't be a surprise. Soon the snow will melt, making movement through the mountains significantly easier. The peaks of the Hindu Kush reach into the 7,000 meter range, and the passes are in the 3,000-4,000 meter range. At those elevations, winter is harsh, with snow pack piling up over two meters deep. Think Colorado without highways and snow removal."

Too bad that geography became "Social Studies" a generation ago. If that had not happened all you guys would understand things like snow in the Hindu Kush and 140 degree summer temperatures in Iraq. We had to go into Iraq before summer and Saddam and the UN weasels knew that if they could delay the war until May we would have to wait until the end of 2003 when Saddam could have bought a few more UN members. Afghanistan, especially the mountains, is impossible in winter. That's one reason why we went in so fast after 9/11. Now spring is coming and Osama is running. You people who know no geography, let alone military geography, think it's some sort of conspiracy.

"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man"

Posted by: Mike K at February 29, 2004 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a list of the victims of the Patriot Act:

--> Padilla (maybe he is a victim and maybe he isn't)

Here's a list of libraries raided due to the Patriot Act:

-->

Here is a list of other abuses of the Patriot Act that did not involve a court/judge:

-->

Did I leave any out?

Here is the number of gallons of oil stolen from Iraq by President Bush's 'Texas buddies'since 3/03 during or after the War for Oil:

--> 0

Here is the number of people in Iraq and Afganistan who are now free to fly kites or to buy bananas in the streets:

100,000,000 (approximately)


Posted by: Dennis Slater at February 29, 2004 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration's record on terror has been amazingly flimsy, all bluster and very little genuine progress

You wish.

Posted by: Dennis Slater at February 29, 2004 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Freeing people to fly kites and buy bananas has never been high priority. Arabs killing Arabs also. Arabs coming to our shores and attacking - very high priority. Who did it? Let's get 'em. WE/I did not create SH. Someone earlier said we were veering into idiocy. I disagree, I have never veered, and neither has Bush.

Posted by: Dinosaur at February 29, 2004 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

If the Bushies are such great fighters against terrorism, why did they shut down operation Green Quest in March of 2002? That, in case you are not aware, was a Customs Service effort to follow up on leads found in documents seized in raids that month in Northern Virginia on the International Relief Organization and the Muslim World League. Green Quest was looking into Saudi Arabia financing of terrorism. This effort was shut down by Tom Ridge and John Ashcroft. Could it be that the trail was leading into the Bushes? Wonder what was in the 28 redacted pages in the congressional report on 9/11? Could Talat Othman, board member of Harken Energy, be mentioned in those documents? And perhaps Khalid bin Mahfouz? I think it possible that Osama himself, just like Iraq, is the classic red herring. If so, these false trails seem to be drawing off all (or most) of the dogs in Kevin's hunting pack.

Posted by: coz at February 29, 2004 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

The liberals LOVE the joke about Bush taking soo much vacation time. Well if he is actually on vacation, he deserves it. He is actually getting things done while Clinton spent his work hours sodomizing interns, hosting coffees for foriegn donors and gernerally getting nothing done.

Posted by: keiser at February 29, 2004 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

right on, coz. these fuckers are so dirty. does any bush apologist have an answer for the 28 redacted pages or the one hour of testimony Dear Leader has deigned to give to two members of the 9/11 commission? i bet if you put a 9/11 widow alone in a room with aWol, she'd strangle the little prick.

Posted by: flatulus at February 29, 2004 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

"the United States and the United Nations ALLOWED Hussein to kill these people because we set up the rules for the oil for food program, do you still not get it?

We left Saddam in charge of basically a concentration camp that WE were responsible for creating."

Keiser,
That's the first intelligent thing you've said. As I've said before, the ONLY justification for the war was that the sanctions program resulted in more Iraqi civilian deaths than war. And it's this reason why I don't declare myself "anti-war" with respect to Iraq.

Posted by: Elrod at February 29, 2004 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Flatulus-
Nice emotions, no facts, but nice emotion. I am not a Bush apologist, but am a historical analyst. No President has ever sat for a debreifing while in office.
The move is unprecedentd. The investigation is not about Bush remember? The concept is to determine where the intell broke down, and not to get dirt on the President, or former President.

Posted by: sinop85 at February 29, 2004 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

"The best thing America could do to undercut ObL is withdraw from Iraq and to get the Israelis out of the West Bank and Gaza and create a real independent democratic state for the Palestinians."

Great! This is to be the new Democratic Party position on Israel ? What do you call the proposal that Clinton and Dennis Ross presented to Arafat in 2000 ? Arafat can't accept peace because he has convinced his followers that only the destruction of Israel will satisfy them. He is a careerist in the pattern so well described by Pryce-Jones in his book "The Closed Circle". Arafat was a creation of the Soviets but they are gone now. He was never intended to govern.

Read the piece today in the NYT magazine on anti-Semitism in France. The person in the article is a French radical leftist whose husband is a deputy mayor of Paris. Their children are terrorized at school. See if that helps you decide on the prospects for Palestinians governing themselves.

Posted by: Mike K at February 29, 2004 01:29 PM | PERMALINK

No President has ever sat for a debreifing while in office.

you might want to qualify that with the standard "created by a legislative body" as there once was a failed real estate deal that required the president to be deposed. i forget what happened. something about a penis, i believe.

does any bush apologist have an answer for the 28 redacted pages or the one hour of testimony Dear Leader has deigned to give to two members of the 9/11 commission?

that would be a No,

just a hypothetical - if we invaded saudi, and for some reason bush had to fight (i know, it's a hypothetical), which side would he be on?

Posted by: flatulus at February 29, 2004 04:30 PM | PERMALINK

Just heard that the New Yorker is reporting that American troops will be allowed into Pakistan this spring to search for bin Laden. If this report is true, they definitely don't have bin Laden already. I know someone else in this thread (or a related one) said they would do this anyway even if they already had him, but sending U.S. troops into Pakistan seems pretty risky (it might provoke a coup and there'll likely be more U.S. casualties)--I don't think Bush would do it if bin Laden were already being held. Can't stand Bush, but I just don't think he'd run this risk (for his re-election) if he didn't have to.

Posted by: otherpaul at February 29, 2004 09:15 PM | PERMALINK

I think ion has it right. The thing that's hard to keep in sight when analyzing the schemes of the Bushites is that, on the whole, they're about as bright (as opposed to nefarious) as a moderately intelligent 5th-grader explaining about the dog and their homework. In other words, don't get too far out in front of them. They're not there with you.

And a moderately intelligent 5th-grader would think that throwing out commments about "refocusing" on bin Laden February is more than adequate to explain "finding" him in time for the news to make aWol's prime-time acceptance speech at the Repub convention. And when people shout, "October Surprise!", these deep thinkers will respond, "Whaa? But it's only August!"

Posted by: Buck at March 1, 2004 07:09 AM | PERMALINK

> This is to be the new Democratic Party position on Israel ?

I am not a Democrat, I just think Kerry is no different to Bush on Palestine.

> What do you call the proposal that Clinton and Dennis Ross presented to Arafat in 2000 ?

Bantustans similar to those in South Africa under apartheid - the solution proposed in 2000 would have created a Palestinian state consisting of five cantons, four in the West Bank and one in Gaza. Israel would have annexed 69 settlements in the West Bank and the network of roads would have stayed in place continuing to cause great disruption to the Palestinians. To compensate the Palestinian for the loss of prime agricultural land, the Israelis offered stretches of desert adjacent to the Gaza strip currently used for dumping toxic waste.

> Arafat can't accept peace because he has convinced his followers that only the destruction of Israel will satisfy them.

Arafat recognised in 1973 that Israel could not be defeated militarily and that a political solution must be found. The reason that there has been no solution is that neither Israel nor the U.S. want one. Arafat acknowledged Israels right to exist in 1993.

> He is a careerist in the pattern so well described by Pryce-Jones in his book "The Closed Circle".

Arafat was elected by the Palestinians as their President.

> Arafat was a creation of the Soviets but they are gone now.

> He was never intended to govern.

Who decided he "was never intended to govern". The war criminals, Sharon and Bush?

> Read the piece today in the NYT magazine on anti-Semitism in France. The person in the article is a French radical leftist whose husband is a deputy mayor of Paris. Their children are terrorized at school. See if that helps you decide on the prospects for Palestinians governing themselves.

I have read the article. Odd how the incidents of anti-semetism increase following Israeli attacks on Palestinian targets. By the way, almost all of the Moslems in France are from France's former North African colonies and not from Palestine and they are far more at risk of racial discrimination and violence than Jews. If I was Jewish, I would be far more concerned about the anti-semitic Christian Zionists in the U.S. than a few marginalised Moslems in France.

Posted by: casualworker at March 1, 2004 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

"Bantustans similar to those in South Africa under apartheid - the solution proposed in 2000 would have created a Palestinian state consisting of five cantons, four in the West Bank and one in Gaza. Israel would have annexed 69 settlements in the West Bank and the network of roads would have stayed in place continuing to cause great disruption to the Palestinians. To compensate the Palestinian for the loss of prime agricultural land, the Israelis offered stretches of desert adjacent to the Gaza strip currently used for dumping toxic waste."

Even accepting for arguments' sake that you are correct about the proposal, why not negotiate from that position ? That was the Israeli proposal ! Arafat does not negotiate.

Dennis Ross has written that there were venture capitalists ready to go into the Palestinian state and fund new projects. They will never again have such a chance.

When Iraq is a free, self-governing country, what do you think will happen to Arafat ? Iran will throw out the mullahs sometime in the next two years. Unless Kerry is elected, of course, but that is a small chance. Syria will then be faced with a new reality in the Middle East. They will have no friends. They will dump Arafat and Hezbollah and the Palestinians will have to beg for what Israel will give them.

The Sudentan Germans and the Prussians were expelled from Czechoslovakia and Poland after WWII. The Palestinians had better learn some history. The Arabs have used them with disdain and they will discard them when it is time to do so. That time is coming.

Posted by: Mike K at March 1, 2004 02:50 PM | PERMALINK

Flatulus-

You are still wrong, but don't let facts get in your way of your prejudiced opinion. Clinton did not give a debrief, he testified as a witness in a criminal case. The sitting President testifying in an Intelligent investigation is un-precedented.

"does any bush apologist have an answer for the 28 redacted pages or the one hour of testimony Dear Leader has deigned to give to two members of the 9/11 commission?

that would be a No, "

The 28 retracted pages were deemed security risks. Yes, there is such a thing in the Intelligence World. This may surprize you as it is less critical in the 'I will make a charge and have nothing to base it one except useless cospiracy theory world'. The one hour testimony is not even a required activity to support the investigations intent, so one hour or 30 hours does not bother me. By the way, the previous President and VP have also not agreed on a time limit, or public hearing. This should be more shooking if you really want to blame POTUS, as the majority of the intell failures were under his Presidency. (before you get on the high hores, I did not, nor ever will blame Clinton. Yes the information was there for all to see up until 9/11. The questions is why were the dots not connected, not who to blame) But like I said, it is not about a witch hunt, is it?

Posted by: sinop85 at March 1, 2004 02:51 PM | PERMALINK

"The 28 retracted pages were deemed security risks. Yes, there is such a thing in the Intelligence World. This may surprize you as it is less critical in the 'I will make a charge and have nothing to base it one except useless cospiracy theory world'."

The zeal with which one side is pursuing the witch hunt in the CIA and the administration in public has produced this cautionary note. The piece is, of course, in a source that many of you will dismiss. Still, you should consider that this man is the highest ranking defector we ever got from the Soviet side.

Penkovsky probably prevented a third world war, just by keeping us informed of what was going on. He paid with his life. Another major defector, author of "Inside the Aquarium", the description of the GRU, chose to defect to the Brits because he thought they were more hard nosed than the CIA which was being trashed by Church at the time. Sometimes these childish games of 'gotcha' being played by politicians, and always of the left, have real consequences. Here's the link:

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/pacepa200403010848.asp

Posted by: Mike K at March 1, 2004 04:55 PM | PERMALINK

A little joke; Salesman comes to a house and knocks on the door and the owner answers.

Salesman: I am selling a device that will keep elephants away.
Owner: There are no elephants around here.
Salesman: See it works.

Moral of the joke. The fact there has not been any terrorists attacks against Americans in America only proves there have been no attacks. The terrorists in Iraq are doing quite a job on American troops hundreds dead thousands wounded but Iraq is free and America is safer because of Bush. If I not mistaken the worst terrorists attacks against Americans in the last 30 years has occurred while a Republican has been in the White House. Ironic

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