Happy Anniversary

Four years to the day that our Codpiece in Chief was handed a piece of paper he chose to ignore, rushing off instead to enjoy what was then the longest presidential vacation in American history (until his latest vacation that started this week). And the rest is history.

The Discussion: 92 Comments

Happy Annivesary for this China-hating site!!

August 5, 2005 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

I’ll leave that idiotic comment up as a testament to your anger and immaturity. Ko posts on this site as Sing, Hu, Mi, Lo and other names and always shouts hollow slogans and memorized phrases. It’s a shame that this rage cannot be rechanneled into something a little more constructive.

This site does bash the CCP plenty, praises them at times (sparingly, I admit) and never bashes the Chinese people. You are free to express your praise for the CCP all you want, without censorship. If this were a hate site, I would simply delete you into nonexistence.

August 5, 2005 @ 3:27 pm | Comment

Amazing how I can disagree with richard so much on this post and agree with him so thunderingly on his own replies…there’s a word for this, but I have too much Korean wine coarsing through my veins to remember it…

August 5, 2005 @ 3:47 pm | Comment

Thanks Johnny, for at least agreeing with my replies! I realize this is a touchy subject, but I believe with all my heart that this administration’s greatest sin, even before its incompetent handling of Iraq, was its ignoring all the warnings they were given by their own staff about terrorism, which Bush freely admitted he never focused on until after the planes hit their targets.

Analysts say Clarke’s charges could do significant political damage to a president who has built his foreign policy record largely around the campaign against terrorism. Republican leaders have responded in force, suggesting that Clarke’s testimony last week was at odds with the closed testimony he gave before the joint congressional panel and that he may have lied in one or both appearances.

But intelligence officials familiar with his classified briefing said they were aware of no obvious contradictions. Ben-Veniste said he thought Clarke’s earlier testimony should be declassified to resolve any dispute, but he added that “it is not my recollection that there were any notable or substantive differences in testimony.”

Clarke’s congressional testimony, given while he was still at the White House, put a more “positive spin” on the administration’s counterterrorism efforts, just as he did in a 2002 press briefing that was released last week, according to a senior Democratic congressional aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity. But factually, it did not appear to contradict what he told the Sept. 11 commission last week, the aide said.

Clarke’s assessment last week is also generally consistent with journalistic and congressional accounts of the early Bush administration’s approach to terrorism.

In Bob Woodward’s “Bush at War,” published by Simon Schuster, the president himself acknowledged that Osama bin Laden had not been a central focus in his first eight months before the attacks.

“I was not on point,” Bush was quoted in the book as saying. “I have no hesitancy about going after him. But I didn’t feel that sense of urgency, and my blood was not nearly as boiling.”

Imagine if Clinton had been handed a document titled โ€œBin Laden Determined to Strike in US” and did virtually nothing, with the WTC crumbling a few weeks later. Can you imagine what the Michelle Malkins and James Tarantos (not to mention the Conrads and Gordons) would have said? Can you imagine? Bush got off the hook because he picked up a bullhorn and hugged a girl and gave the one good speech of his career. We all know about John Ashtray wanting to allocate funds away from terrrorism to fight the far more lethal threat of pornography. They only became warriors when their own incompetence and stupidity left them with no other choice. Too bad all those people had to die along the way.

August 5, 2005 @ 3:59 pm | Comment

Sing, Hu, Mi, Lo, yeh. they are all my IDs, so what? as I know you know my IDs nomatter what name I use. you no need waste your energy write ” to CHinese readers”, as it is lack of sincerity. this site is basically anti-china site. don’t tell me it is only anti-ccp not anti-china. it is the same thing. I feel sorry for you brain washed westerner who do not know what really nowdays CCP means. you refused to accept different ideas from you, then why you bother post ” to CHinese readers?”

August 5, 2005 @ 4:12 pm | Comment

Thanks for taking this thread so far off the topic, Ko or whoever you are. The CCP has many wonderful members, and I believe those at the top and many others want to do what is best for China, but at the same time they want to do what is best for themselves. If you really weant to understand my thoughts on the CCP (and I suspect you don’t), please read this post and the comments that follow. Thank you.

August 5, 2005 @ 4:18 pm | Comment

Richard, why you an American so interested at our CHinese government (you say CCP)? there are so many countries in the world? why CHina you are so interested ? it is just like you as a outsider are telling me that ” hey, your parents are bad to you”. give me a break! as a family member, I’m telling you that I’m feeling fine with my parents, you as a outsider no need you worry too much!!!! leave me along. mind your own business and your own parents (your own government)

August 5, 2005 @ 4:29 pm | Comment

Ko, you’re kind of cute when you get mad.

Hey, I like Chinese food and Chinese people, and I am fascinated with the country’s many sides, the great and the not so great. Deal with it. If you don’t like it, feel free to hang out at China Daily. I know you can make lots of friends there.

August 5, 2005 @ 4:31 pm | Comment


I’m on my way out, but I couldn’t leave without saying this post was nothing but a bunch of crap.

Do you really think this administration could have done anything to prevent 9/11?

Nevermind, I already know what you would like to believe. You posted it.

Too bad your “god” President Bill “fuck the intern and sell the Chinese our secrets” Clinton didn’t take Bin Laden when Sudan offered on a golden platter.

To think that a President who had been in office less than a year could have done more than the spineless sellout who had been sitting in the White House for 8 years is beyond belief.

August 5, 2005 @ 6:56 pm | Comment

He was handed a document saying Bin Ladfen was determined to strike in the US. I heard Condi Rice try to weasel her way out of it, saying it was “a historical document,” which it wasn’t. Clinton’s staff was obsessed with the terrorism threat compared to the Bush administration and that’s a fact. Bush and his people didn’t want to be bothered; do you know about Ashtray requesting that less be spent on terrorism? Were you aware of Richard Clarke being treated like a madman because he was so upset about the impending threat? Are you aware of the intelligence and concerted effort that led to the arrest of the “millennium bomber”? (Bush has never had a success like that, years after 911; zip, nada.) And Bush came in and didn’t want to be bothered. He was handed the report and let it go. And, of course, in the typical kneejerk reaction, what do Republicans do? Simple — blame Bill Clinton! So funny to see the last great president blamed for all the world’s woes. Read what Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA branch focused on Al Qaeda, has to say about Captain Codpiece and his faux war on terrorism. Place the blame where it belongs for once, instead of reflexively blaming Clinton. After the assault on the Cole, are you aware of all the warnings and advice the Clinton people tried to give the new administration, but were basically told it was a dead issue? Yeah, it was all Clinton’s fault. Oh, and Clinton never fucked an intern and never sold secrets to the Chinese. Please, be factual here. If you can document either claim, I’d like to see it – and not from some Michelle Malkin screechfest or Free Republic Clinton lynching.

Okay, no hard feelings, we each have our view of the world. Luckily for me, mine is the right one.

August 5, 2005 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

Zowie. Heated rhetoric today.

It’s a death sentence to be MOR in blogland, but, to paraphrase Derek Smalls, bassist of Spinal Tap, Richard is fire, Gordon is ice, and I am in the middle like lukewarm water.

I think you both make some reasonable points. But you both also come from serious allegiance to particular points of view. I like Clinton and I think he was a better president than Bush (hey, I voted for the Big C twice). But he did basicall screw ML, and he did lie about it. While that’s not an epochal, nation-threatening failure, it undermined the credibility of the office and his presidency, and it disappointed me very deeply on a personal level.

Meanwhile, I have zero love for Bush and policies. And I believe that his administration was cavalier about the threat of terrorism until 9/11. But I think it’s simplistic to think that, even if he had taken the warnings more seriously, the administration could have stopped 9/11. Our hindsight about terrorism has always been better than our foresight, and nowhere moreso than with 9/11.

On the other hand, I think the administration’s record with regard to terrorism and middle-east policy has been a disaster since then, and I, for one, feel the world is steadily becoming less safe. Not more.

August 5, 2005 @ 9:41 pm | Comment

Clinton was not a god-president. But Bush is! Here:

August 5, 2005 @ 9:46 pm | Comment

Thanks for reminding us, Ivan.

Look, Clinton wasn’t a God, though he was as close as a president could get. To blame him after all the documented evidence of the bushies waving away their warnings — it is so ignorant and so ludicrous, it’s such a tired GOP talking point it breaks my heart. It is full of so much sound and fury and based only on anger and Clinton hatred.

27 US soldiers died in 7 days in Iraq this week. And still, all Republicans can do is rage against….Clinton. Where is the outrage over this travesty, this bloodbath? And Bush’s own father warned us of this. But Chimpy McFlightSuit knew better. And now, we have created a meat grinder in the desert, sucking in the lives of American boys as fast as we can ship them over.

August 5, 2005 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

Also, I recall the missile attack on OBL that Clinton got so much crap for – the Republicans were calling it “wag the dog” – they ALMOST got OBL that day…

And yes, Asscroft was MUCH more interested in busting prostitution rings in New Orleans, as I recall…

August 5, 2005 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

Hi Will.

No, Clinton didn’t screw Monica. I believe he received fellatio from her. There is a difference. Whether 911 could have been prevented…I guess we’ll never know for sure. But wouldn’t it have been nice — I mean, like really, really nice — if they had read the reports and stepped up intelligence and focused on the threat of terrorism over the threat of pornography?. It may have save a few lives; it may have saved thousands. Due to Bush Hubris, we will never know. And I can never, ever forgive him for that. And then, when he does focus, what does he do? Invades Iraq and ruins America for generations. We are so screwed, and the news is getting near unbearable. One power-drunk incompetent idiot is to blame, going after an old family grudge and taking thousands of American lives with him. Tragic.

August 5, 2005 @ 9:59 pm | Comment

And you know something Lisa? At the time, Newt Gingrich praised Clinton for sending the cruise missiles after Osama! But now, their meme is, “All Clinton did was lob a cruise missile after Osama and let him go.” As though “lobbing” cruise missiles is a trivial matter. He certainly did what he could, and spent vast amounts to counter the OBL threat. Then BushCo dropped the ball.

August 5, 2005 @ 10:03 pm | Comment

Hi, Richard

As someone who trades in fine shades of meaning, I find that screw vs. fellatiated distinction to be a terrible weasel. To me, there is little moral difference, and the only thing that restrained Clinton’s actions was a vestigial need to preserve plausible deniability. As someone who vigorously supported Clinton, I felt genuinely betrayed. Not that wouldn’t have him back in a hearbeat over W. If I have slice morality finely, I’d rather the president’s sin be deceiving me to get his rocks off than deceiving me to get his war on.

But I agree with wholeheartedly on the pettiness and misguidedness of the Iraq war. Soon, Bush will have killed more Americans in Iraq than Al Q did in Manhattan (and that doesn’t begin to count the cost in equally valuable Iraqi lives). With any glimmer of success, I might be able to forgive it. But see none.

August 5, 2005 @ 10:19 pm | Comment

Iraq is a disaster, and as Richard said, I’m afraid we’ll be paying the price for a very long time…

August 5, 2005 @ 10:24 pm | Comment

Richard, you might find this interesting if you’ve not already seen it. Dan Froomkin’s column in the Washington Post from the August 5th discusses the erosion of support for Bush based on the lack of progress in the war in Iraq:


The rumblings are growing louder.

August 5, 2005 @ 11:14 pm | Comment

Thanks Will, I saw that great article. 38 percent approval for the war. It was near 50 percent last year. Those 20 marines dying, all from an Ohio regiment, is going to turn a red state blue. I guess that would be the one good thing to come from their horrible, utterly unnecessary deaths.

August 6, 2005 @ 12:02 am | Comment

And Will, I felt betrayed by Clinton too. But I empathized a lot, as he did what most people in his situation would have done. That’s not a justification; but he should never have been asked the question to begin with. What did it have to do with Whitewater. Other presidents fucked around, as have most of our members of Congress, but their private lives have been respected. Unfortunately thanks to this precedent, anything goes. Unlike Clarence Thomas, Clinton didn’t harass an employee or hurt anyone, except ultimately himself and his family. But that’s a whole other messy ball of wax that been talked to death. And Clinton’s bounceback after the exposure of his moral frailties was a political miracle and a testament to his strength and unwavering leadership.

Finally, I didn’t mean to be “weasely” about the blow job; I’m just trying to stick to what happened. To say that Clinton screwed Monica is simply false. What he did might have been just as bad, maybe worse, but I prefer to portray it accurately. Loose talk about Clinton is a sore spot with me, because I hear crimes attributed to him so casually, I get disgusted.

August 6, 2005 @ 12:15 am | Comment

Clinton’s biggest liability in Washington was that he was perceived as a white trash outsider.His choice of women didn’t help matters.

August 6, 2005 @ 1:41 am | Comment

True enough, Arlo. He sure had the last laugh, though! Mr.White Trash is now the most popular and beloved American in the entire world, much to the chagrin of his detractors. Their vast conspiracy couldn’t keep a great man down.

August 6, 2005 @ 2:04 am | Comment

Agreed. I’d like to have a look at the Bush gene pool.

August 6, 2005 @ 2:20 am | Comment

So Bushitler ignored the warnings from Aug ’01, and believed the warnings that said Saddam had weapons.

Ignore, or not ignore. Can’t win, can he? Act on the warnings, or don’t act on the warnings, he’s got to be wrong either way. I wouldn’t want that job.

August 6, 2005 @ 3:33 am | Comment

PS. lo, Ko, gou pi, you’re a worthless idiot.

August 6, 2005 @ 3:34 am | Comment

Why would ANYONE want that job? Ego? Power?Whatever.What is left is the legacy.The Bush legacy will be grim.

August 6, 2005 @ 3:59 am | Comment

What is it about Texas?

August 6, 2005 @ 4:11 am | Comment

It looks like the last offensive is here.I’m pretty sure “Charlie” doesn’t even feel it.What mistakes we have made! We have NOT learned a thing! BTW,I’m the traitor! He,he,he….

August 6, 2005 @ 5:11 am | Comment

Republican’s are the REAL traitor’s!You’ve destroyed our country.Commies!

August 6, 2005 @ 5:18 am | Comment

Sam-s, I’m really impressed by the level you have been civilized. To return your personal insult: yourself are the stinkiest Goubi, and the most worthless idiot!!

August 6, 2005 @ 8:59 am | Comment

Thanks, Kojo. Coming from you, I take that as a fine compliment.

August 6, 2005 @ 9:48 am | Comment

Ko ,Easy now big fella! Those are fightin’ word’s … somewhere in East… Turkmenistan…or somewhere else…………Sorry Martyn…..I always seem to offend you…………..

August 6, 2005 @ 9:50 am | Comment

Sam writes:

So Bushitler ignored the warnings from Aug ’01, and believed the warnings that said Saddam had weapons. Ignore, or not ignore. Can’t win, can he? Act on the warnings, or don’t act on the warnings, he’s got to be wrong either way. I wouldn’t want that job.

Let’s look at this. Many, many insiders have come forward and said it was clear what Bush wanted the intelligence on Iraq to tell him. Do you remember Joe Wilson? Whether he’s a liar or not (and he’s not) is irrelevant; the one indisputable fact is that when he questioned the Niger uranium claim, later proven to be pure concocted BS, the Bushies instantly destroyed him — because what he said didn’t fit in with what they wanted us to believe about the Saddam threat. They only wanted inteligence that forwarded their call for war.

Now, I am willing to believe there was intelligence performed sincerely that indicated Saddam had hidden weapons and posed some threat. The great Bill Clinton himself said so, but wisely avoided sounding alarms of an imminent threat and mushroom clouds. There are lots of threats out there; few are worth sacrificing thousands of young American lives for, not to mention our international honor and untold billions of taxpayer dollars. A great leader distinguishes between a threat and a dire threat.

That there was a lot of mindless hype about the Iraq threat is now a matter of common knowledge. The NY Times actually released an unprecedented apology to its readers for failing to look at the actual evidence and instead simply parroting the Chalabi-Cheney lies, via Judy Miller.

On the other hand, there was to my knowledge never a single accusation of tampering with the evidence about the Al Qaeda threat. There was no pressure to make those CIA reports lean one way or another, as there was on the Iraq reports. Richard Clarke’s warings were based on true intelligence performed with integrity without consideration of political pressure or old family feuds. But the Bush people aren’t like the Clinton people. They are purely ideological and to them all research is a tool for achieving their ideological aims. The fact that Chimpy came out this week in favor of teaching “Intelligent Design” in schools is indicative of how immune they are to critical thinking and logic. Again, it was right there in front of them, staring them in the face, but they had mightier things to worry about, namely tax cuts for the rich and pornography. The rest is, alas, history.

August 6, 2005 @ 1:36 pm | Comment

In the Bush administration, everything is subordinate to politics. There really is no policy beyond politics. I think it’s pretty much unprecedented.

August 6, 2005 @ 1:54 pm | Comment

Obviously Richard’s “Whack a Troll” didn’t work as well as it could have…

August 6, 2005 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

Whack a reality check.

August 6, 2005 @ 2:04 pm | Comment

I think this discussion is more than a little disconnected with reality. The August 6 memo entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside U.S.” mentioned the possibility of hijackings of aircraft, but hijacking aircraft have always been suspected tactics of terrorists. Al Qaeda had been the top anti-terrorism priority of both the Clinton administration (post-1998) and the Bush administration. The failure to imagine that aircraft could be used as missiles, as they were on 9/11, was a failure of the imagination, committed by many law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies, and the executives of those agencies, including both President Bush and Mr. Clarke. This threat was not mentioned specifically in the memo, as the 9/11 Commission hearings made clear, and the 9/11 Commission report detailed. Every intelligence service in the world believed that Saddam was in the process of developing weapons of mass destruction, including those of governments opposed to the war. Many of Saddam’s own officers believed he had such weapons, as well. The intelligence failure was a large one, but attempting to ascribe it to “ideology” is simply a case of 20/20 hindsight. As Kenneth Pollack detailed in The Threatening Storm, and he should know because he was writing the policy, Clinton was very close to recommending more aggressive tactics with Iraq in 1999 and 2000, until the Kosovo operation basically detracted from the political momentum behind more force deployment in the later stages of the Clinton administration. Conflict with Iraq has been on a list of options for the United States basically since 1991; September 11 changed collective perceptions of relative risk; the rest, I think, is history.

August 6, 2005 @ 6:33 pm | Comment

I wish what you are saying were true Logan, but sadly it isn’t. A direct quote from our president’s 911 commission report:

“The Joint Inquiry confirmed that, before September 11, the Intelligence Community produced at least twelve reports over a seven-year period suggesting that terrorists might use airplanes as weapons.”

In addition, to speculate that Clinton was on the verge of considering an attack on Iraq is quite pointless. If he had gone ahead, I would be willing to bet my life he would have done it as a multilateral operation with friends and allies sharing the grief and the costs. He simply didn’t have the cocky arrogance Bush did to fight a unilateral war, “with-us-or-against-us” war. And, of key importance, Clinton brought the world community closer to us, wanting to work with us; Bush drove them away. If we’re going to speculate, my guess is that if Clinton had been responsible for the invasion, it would have been done right, right from the start, with enough troops from enough nations to hold the peace and ensure a peaceful occupation.

As to the weapons that even Saddam’s lieutenants thought he had — it still wasn’t a call for immediate, drastic, lethal action. Those weapons had been speculated about for a decade. We had to finish Afghanistan first. Then move on to the next threat (which, in any case, should have been North Korea or Pakistan). To tie Iraq to the “war on terror” and to OBL was unconscionable and manipulative, and to go way out of his way to make the intelligence on Iraqi weapons appear as damning as possible (i.e., to falsify it) will be what Bush is most remembered for.

I do hope you read the Froomkin article Will references above. What an eye-opener. We are disillusioned and sick of our phony, shitty little war. Sick of all the boys dying at the hands of an insurgency “in its last throes.” Sick of hearing freedom is on the march and that we’ll stay the course. The course is death and destruction. Who wants to stay on such a hellish course?

August 6, 2005 @ 6:50 pm | Comment

12 reports over a 7-year period? So this occurred during the Clinton administration, and they ignored it for six years? I don’t think what I just said is a fair argument, but it’s a fair indictment of the assumption behind the original criticism of this administration. As I said before, this was a failure of the imagination at multiple levels, which includes the executives of both administrations.

“I would be willing to bet my life he would have done it as a multilateral operation with friends and allies sharing the grief and the costs. ”
That was not the issue; multilateral support was not forthcoming. The issue was the action and not its advocates. Under the Clinton administration France and Russia were the first to violate the commercial air travel ban and initiate action in the UN to repeal the sanctions. These were vested interests that opposed an invasion. Operation Desert Fox had no UN support, only British assistance, and if Clinton couldn’t obtain this support for a limited military strike in December 1998, why would a full-scale invasion be any different? Everyone in the UNSC supported resolution 1441; the issue was what “serious consequences” meant.

As I said before, the nature of the threat was the key debate over the invasion, and ultimately the change in the collective calculus of risk in the United States caused by September 11 changed the nature of the threat posed by the belief that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction. If you see the Blix report of January 27, 2003, you can see a fairly objective assessment of the collective ambiguities regarding Iraqi weapons programs. If the UN made these conclusions, they seem to be a reasonable assessment of the nature of the potential threat at the time.

Regarding the connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, the relevant debate is not the existence of a connection, but its nature. It is clear that Saddam did not exert command or control over Al Qaeda members, but certainly engaged with them and provided protection for some of them; there were contacts between Saddam and al-Qaeda through Ansar-al-Islam and during OBL’s time in Sudan. Thomas Jocelyn’s work is my source on this; I know of few analysts disputing that a connection existed–the nature of that connection, though, is of course debatable. It is an oft-repeated canard in the mainstream media that there was “no connection” at all, but this is simply untrue.

As for the war, I will continue to support it, for one. Providing Al Qaeda another state sanctuary would undoubtedly be disastrous, and this is the practical consequence of changing course. I’ll be happy to read the Froomkin article.

August 6, 2005 @ 8:32 pm | Comment

Don’t get me upset, Logan. Where does it say the Clinton administration ignored the data? Link, please. Are you aware the Bush people resisted efforts by the Clintonians to brief them on the threat of Al Qaeda? You faulted intelligence agencies and Clarke and Clinton for failing to see the threat of using airlines as weapons. Except they didn’t. Intelligence did their work. Just as they did with their report on how OBL was determined to strike in the US. And the Big Chimp went on vacation, as usual.

Go ahead and support the war. There’s a sucker born every minute, as I once was (I did support the war at first, and fled in revulsion as I saw how Bush was bungling things.)

Sorry if I sound vitriolic on this topic, but our boys are dying. To support the war now is to support unprecedented stupidity. Can’t you see, we are spilling all this American blood for a government that will soon be anti-woman, anti-Israel, anti-human rights, and anti-America? What a supreme irony. We fought this war at the cost of thousands of young Americans to make Iraq a sister terrorist state to Iran, a fundamentalist theocracy. Brilliant. Freedom is on the march…

August 6, 2005 @ 8:46 pm | Comment

Logan said, “As for the war, I will continue to support it.” Whenever I hear Americans say that, I want to direct them to the Army recruiting station.
If you want to “support” the war, then either enlist in the Army, or else make some equivalent sacrifices like driving less, using less oil, and sending some supplies to the soldiers in Iraq. Either go over there or else dig into your pocket and make some sacrifices – but don’t pretend to “support” the war with empty words, like Bush and the other Chickenhawks do.

August 6, 2005 @ 8:54 pm | Comment

I’m glad you’re on this Richard because I just don’t have the wherewithal to respond much any more.

The war is a disaster. There are no good options that I can see.

August 6, 2005 @ 8:54 pm | Comment

But people like Logan, who is a very intelligent guy, see supporting the war as the smart thing to do. We now have no clear objectives and we have reaped absolutely no benefits, and with so many native Iraqis firmly against us we can only boost the recruitment of more terrorists.

Do I have the perfect solution? Of course not, because our cokehead president has put us in a dead end. We just gotta get out. We know it’s going to collapse a la Saigon, and all we can hope for is to lose as little face as possible before the catastrophe comes

August 6, 2005 @ 8:58 pm | Comment

Let’s leave the anger out of this, please. Honest debate respects data and evidence, not emotional accusations and rhetoric. Richard, my point regarding your citation from the 9/11 commission was that you cited 12 reports over a 7-year period before September 11, meaning from 1994 to 2001. Therefore, if you are accusing the Bush administration of ignoring those warnings, you must also conclude that the Clinton administration did. Now, I don’t think either is a fair argument, but that was my point.

Regarding the claim that the Bush Administration “resisted efforts by the Clintonians to brief them on the threat of Al Qaeda,” I recall a well-publicized meeting on the topic during the transition with Sandy Berger. The response to this meeting, on the recommendation of Dr. Rice, was to continue to keep Richard Clarke on staff, to ensure continuity in counterterrorism activities.

I don’t claim to know the future, but my argument was that an American withdrawal would provide Al Qaeda with another state sanctuary. I don’t see this as in our interests. The costs of the war have been significant, but the costs of abandoning it would be larger, in my opinion.

Ivan, I don’t have much patience for that line of argument. The implication is that no one without military service or “an equivalent sacrifice” is qualified to discuss the conflict, which would of course exclude Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, among others. As a citizen of a democracy, I was expressing my opinion about the policies of my elected government. To argue that any citizen is unqualified to do so strikes me as ludicrous. I have had discussions concerning the war with my friends in the military and the State Department in Iraq; we have points of both agreement and disagreement, but I never heard a question concerning my qualifications to hold an opinion.

Everything else I had to say has already been posted.

August 6, 2005 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

Logan, you are missing my point entirely. The Clinton people were obsessed with the information they were getting on Al Qaeda., They told Bush it should be his No. 1 coincern. Those reports cited by the 911 Commission were just one element in a wide range of warnings Richard Clarke tried to give the Bush people, unsuccessfully, because the bush people had vastly dfferent priorities. Please don’t play the game of trying to lay this at Clinton’s feet, that won’t be appreciated here. As far as I know, Clinton NEVER ignored warning aboiut Al Qaeda, but that Bush did is a matter of public record and has been acknowledged by Bush himself. (Bush didn’t use the word “ignore” but admitted he wasn’t very concerned about OBL until 911.)

No matter what we do, we strengthen Al Qaeda. They were never in Iraq; just one lone freelance terrorist hiding out in the Kurdish region, al Zarqawi, if he even exists. Now it’s a frigging breeding grounds for terrorism and an Al Qaeda stronghold. The notion of a “beacon of democracy” has been exposed as nonsense and most Americans now feel it was a bad idea. At least we are learning. There are now no good alternatives. Whatever we do, we leave an awful mess behind. The BS about training an independent Iraqi army is painfully naive and the notion that Iraq might adopt our style of inclusive democracy is even more so. They have made it clear, their constitution must rest on Islam. They move closer to Iran every day, and the mullahs are counting down to our departure so they can fight to establish a theocratic dictatorship. Some victory.

Seriously, have you considered enlisting? I’m just curious.

August 6, 2005 @ 9:51 pm | Comment

Logan, I ask you the same question. Have you considered enlisting? That’s not rhetoric. Saying you “support the war” without making painful sacrifices for it, THAT’S rhetoric!

August 6, 2005 @ 10:25 pm | Comment

Abraham Lincoln was a combat veteran (Indian Wars on the frontier) and FDR was a Navy veteran – although, FDR was in a wheelchair during WWII, and at any rate he worked himself to death during the war.
Logan, if you’re a vet, or if you’re in a wheelchair, then you have an excuse like FDR did for staying out of combat.
But otherwise, I’m sickened by all the armchair warriors in America, who talk a good fight but then send the poor to fight it.

August 6, 2005 @ 10:29 pm | Comment

I can’t understand Ivan’s putative requirement for democratic leaders to have been in battle.
not least because different soldiers have different attitudes to fighting — you only have to look at the range of testosterone-high gung-ho military blogs being written by US servicement in Iraq.
would you want someone who has learned these attitudes in the field to one day be deciding who fights whom and how?

and in fact the best argument I can see for having an ex-serviceman in charge of such decisions is that when a hard hard choice needs to be made and thousands die, he might have more mental toughness to deal with his responsibility than a civilian who’d never seen blood would.
because, my point is that most people, ex-servicemen or not, are going to feel a ton of responsibility for sending people out to kill and die.

August 6, 2005 @ 11:47 pm | Comment

I think Ivan’s point is that all the “armchair warriors” (aka chickenhawks) who’ve been such big boosters of the Iraq War should enlist and go fight it if they think it’s such a great idea – NOT that lack of military service disqualifies one from leadership.

For a military man who understands the measured use of military power and the cosequences of war, see Wes Clark. For that matter, most of the actual military people in decision-making roles in the US gov. have been much less enthusiastic about Iraq than the neo-cons who planned and cheerleaded for it.

August 6, 2005 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

well I think it is dangerous ground letting generals decide if we wage war or not. though of course it is suicidal for leaders not to listen to their generals.
the most devastating thing I heard about the prosecution of this war was how Bush’s political advisors kept intelligence that away from him.

and what astonished me about the Iraq war was how clueless the US had been about what to do after the “official” fighting was won (“mission accomplished). they had no plan whatsoever!!! that is colossal idiocy.

I would find it very hard to support in any way any future US military venture simply because the people making the decisions are morons — and they continue to be elected!

finally, you may be interested in a small photograph that appeared in a British satrical magazine called Private Eye after the london bombings.
the photo has bush on the phone in the oval office, saying “OK, let’s invade Leeds” (Leeds being the northen british city where some of the islamikazes came from).

August 7, 2005 @ 12:15 am | Comment

Oh, and what’s worse is that EVERYONE warned Bush about the likely consequences of an Iraq invasion. The intelligence was there, the analysis was there – they just chose not to listen. And anyone who told them things they didn’t want to hear got fired, pretty much. General Shineseki (sp.?), the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that they would need at least 300,000 troops to stabilize the country after the invasion. Rumsfeld didn’t want to hear it. “Boots on the ground” went against his pet theory of a super-modern hi-tech army that didn’t actually require all that many soldiers. Shineseki “retired” ahead of schedule. And of course he was right.

And I forget which Bush administration official it was who calculated how much the Iraq war would cost and got canned for his honesty.

Yeah! Let’s invade Leeds!

August 7, 2005 @ 12:52 am | Comment

Great points, Lisa, and I look forward to Logan’s and Sam’s replies.

August 7, 2005 @ 1:08 am | Comment

This thread makes little or no sense to me. Is there any qualitative difference between the argument that supporting the war requires some sort of objective qualification of one’s commitment and the argument that opposing the war requires a similar qualification? If so, why is that logically necessary? In other words, are opponents of the war similarly indictable if they failed to raise money for anti-war groups/write letters to their representatives/march in protests/serve as human shields in Iraq? Are they similarly “chickendoves”? I don’t think that’s the case, but why is there a different standard applied to war supporters? Opinions are opinions. I was expressing mine, and the way I understand it, our constitution protects my right to do so; my qualification is citizenship. The sacrifices that each citizen should make for the policies decided through a democratic process are similarly determined through the same democratic process.

The alternative seems to be some amendment of qualifications for the right to vote or military control of the civilian political apparatus; I think these are both highly objectionable, primarily because they are not fully democratic systems of decision-making. If your argument is that all hawks must meet certain qualifications, I’m not sure why that would also not apply to doves…

The rest of this thread has morphed into a discussion of post-war planning and execution. This was beyond the scope of my original argument.

Regarding the substantive points made earlier, belonging to Richard, I believe:

I’m not trying to lay the blame for 9/11 at Clinton’s feet. I believe that the failure to imagine that 9/11 could occur belongs to the essential stasis and flatlining tendencies of bureaucracies, particularly the FBI. See Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon’s The Age of Sacred Terror. They cannot be attributed to any one individual, or any one agency in isolation. Regarding the Clinton administration’s attitude toward Al Qaeda, though, it was far from an ultra-concerned posture. The “Seniors” responsible for tracking Bin Laden in Afghanistan after the embassy bombings were told frequently not to strike without Bin Laden isolated from the rest of his crowd, or his family. Proposals to be more aggressive toward Al Qaeda or the Taliban were killed within NSC deliberations. This made sense at the time, but in hindsight, seems foolish. My point is not to fault the Clinton administration but to argue that the Bush administration cannot be singled out in this regard.

Regarding your second argument, that we strengthen Al Qaeda whatever we do, it seems more than a bit defeatist. I don’t claim to know what motivates Al Qaeda, but the record of empirical evidence seems to indicate that they grow stronger during periods of American indecisiveness (Khobar Towers, embassy bombings, USS Cole) than American initiative. Anti-US demonstrations in Afghanistan were enormous in Pakistan before the American forces were successful; after the Taliban fell, the demonstrations declined precipitously. The argument that Al Qaeda is stronger today than it was in 2001 seems remarkably weak to me. They now lack state sponsorship, significant sources of financing, and anything but the most medieval communications from their central leadership to their followers. Thousands have been arrested. The threat is still palpable, and people can always inflict harm upon prosperous societies, but the threat comes from decentralized and smaller units based around individual cells in particular countries, rather than well-financed attacks proceeding with central coordination from experienced militants. In other words, I don’t think Al Qaeda’s growth is inevitable.

August 7, 2005 @ 2:13 am | Comment

Lisa understood my point perfectly.
I’m not saying military experience is a requirement for leadership – rather, I was saying (particulary to YOU, Logan) that any able bodie US citizen who claims to “support” the war, is a moral and physical coward and a hypocrite if he doesn’t make some kind of personal sacrifice to “support” the war.
It’s a very widespread attitude in America now, especially among the more privileged classes, to say you “suppport” the war but to acknowledge no personal repsonsibility to suffer through the war JUST AS MUCH as the soldiers in Iraq suffer. And it’s laden with social Darwinism too, which disgusts me.
“Oh well, joining the military was a CAREER CHOICE (for the poor, the Blacks, the unemployed, for those who don’t have trust funds to put them through college) and so, well that’s their job, and I have my own job, my other priorities.” Grrrrrr!

August 7, 2005 @ 3:31 am | Comment

Oh and I think the VERY LEAST the Chickenhawks could do, would be to use less gasoline – like all Americans did during WW II. Back when we had a REAL “War President” (and a REAL national crisis, a war which endangered national survival) virtually all Americans made real material sacrifices, ie food rationing and gasoline rationing, etc.
You don’t have to enlist in the Army to “support” the war, but our “War President” has not asked the American people to make ANY sacrifices – oh except for the 1800 dead and the tens of thousands wounded – oh but that’s their JOB, isn’t it?
Yeah, that’s the Middle Class Chickenhawk argument: We have OUR jobs, and the soldiers have THEIR jobs. Their job is to die and get their legs shot off, and ours is to
“analyze” why it’s a necessary war….
(Now I’m growling again….)

August 7, 2005 @ 3:37 am | Comment

A scary new article on the growth and spread of Al Qaeda. Four years after 911. Freedom is on the march, victory is around the corner and ourt enemies are in their last throes. You really have to see it.

Logan, I’ve looked at all the evidence at hand, and more blame falls on GWB than anyone else for ignoring warnings and cutting back on anti-terrorism. You still haven’t addressed my poihts about their priorities (tax cuts and pornography) and Ashcroft’s disinterest in terrorism.

You mentioned the USS Cole and Clinton not responding. I’d love you to chew on this for a moment.

The National Security Archive today posted the widely-debated, but previously unavailable, January 25, 2001, memo from counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke to national security advisor Condoleezza Rice – the first terrorism strategy paper of the Bush administration. The document was central to debates in the 9/11 hearings over the Bush administration’s policies and actions on terrorism before September 11, 2001. Clarke’s memo requests an immediate meeting of the National Security Council’s Principals Committee to discuss broad strategies for combating al-Qaeda by giving counterterrorism aid to the Northern Alliance and Uzbekistan, expanding the counterterrorism budget and responding to the U.S.S. Cole attack. Despite Clarke’s request, there was no Principals Committee meeting on al-Qaeda until September 4, 2001.

The January 25, 2001, memo, recently released to the National Security Archive by the National Security Council, bears a declassification stamp of April 7, 2004, one day prior to Rice’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission on April 8, 2004. Responding to claims that she ignored the al-Qaeda threat before September 11, Rice stated in a March 22, 2004 Washington Post op-ed, “No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration.”

Two days after Rice’s March 22 op-ed, Clarke told the 9/11 Commission, “there’s a lot of debate about whether it’s a plan or a strategy or a series of options — but all of the things we recommended back in January were those things on the table in September. They were done. They were done after September 11th. They were all done. I didn’t really understand why they couldn’t have been done in February.”

Also attached to the original Clarke memo are two Clinton-era documents relating to al-Qaeda. The first, “Tab A December 2000 Paper: Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects,” was released to the National Security Archive along with the Clarke memo. “Tab B, September 1998 Paper: Pol-Mil Plan for al-Qida,” also known as the Delenda Plan, was attached to the original memo, but was not released to the Archive and remains under request with the National Security Council.

I honestly, sincerely and wholeheartedly believe 911 would not have occurred under Clinton. I can’t prove it, it’s pure speculation and it doesn’t mean much. But Bush chose inaction, while the Clinton people were urging action. And that’s a fact.

August 7, 2005 @ 1:11 pm | Comment

Ivan, you haven’t addressed anything that I’ve said. Repeating yourself and racheting up rhetoric isn’t debate. How did social Darwinism come into this? Why are anti-war critics not similarly held to another standard before their criticism is taken seriously? Should anyone take these arguments seriously unless they have come from someone who has sacrificed to try and stop the war? The rest of your accusations are canards that have been thoroughly repudiated elsewhere.

The article you mentioned virtually echoed what I said in my previous post: the new al-Qaeda is still a threat, but it is diffuse, organized into smaller groups, cut off from their central leadership. I’ll take this threat over a centrally organized group with protection from a sovereign state.

Richard, it is of course interesting that you exclude this, quoted immediately after your selection:

“SLADE GORTON, Commission member: Now, since my yellow light is on, at this point my final question will be this: Assuming that the recommendations that you made on January 25th of 2001, based on Delenda, based on Blue Sky, including aid to the Northern Alliance, which had been an agenda item at this point for two and a half years without any action, assuming that there had been more Predator reconnaissance missions, assuming that that had all been adopted say on January 26th, year 2001, is there the remotest chance that it would have prevented 9/11?


GORTON: It just would have allowed our response, after 9/11, to be perhaps a little bit faster?

CLARKE: Well, the response would have begun before 9/11.

GORTON: Yes, but there was no recommendation, on your part or anyone else’s part, that we declare war and attempt to invade Afghanistan prior to 9/11?

CLARKE: That’s right. ”

The “Clinton people” also urged stronger action against Iraq in 1999, and then followed this by inaction following the complications of the Kosovo operation. These were complicated debates in the executive branch, and there was no one voice for the “Clinton people” or the “Bush people.” And to characterize the Clinton administration’s post-embassy bombings strategy as “action” strikes me as more than a bit discordant with the facts.

“I honestly, sincerely and wholeheartedly believe 911 would not have occurred under Clinton. I can’t prove it, it’s pure speculation and it doesn’t mean much.” Okay, well then I’m not sure what the point of continuing this discussion is. All I can argue is that the reality is always much more complex than the partisan debate.

August 7, 2005 @ 1:56 pm | Comment

The reason I find it hard to agree with you Richard is that, as I understand it, Bush didn’t shut down any serious anti-Bin Laden operation that had been set up by Clinton, because there wasn’t anything *major* that had been set up. it was just intelligence gathering and the odd missile.

can I just pounce on something Ivan said about Roosevelt: from Britain’s point of view Roosevelt was no hero in WW2: he refused to fight the Germans and screwed Churchill and later the whole of Britain over.
Instead he hoped that the UK and Russia would keep the Germans busy and the US troops wouldn’t have to fight.
Even after pearl harbour Roosevelt only declared war on Japan, not on Germany (but then, thankfully, Hitler declared against the US).
Roosevelt used WW2 as leverage to destroy the British Empire and ensure the US became the most powerful country in the world.
(though I’ve no problem with the last bit.)

August 7, 2005 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

KLS, I hope you check the last link I gave, to the archive of security records. It is incredibly informative, the way they sat on Clarke’s recommendations until after September 11. He presented them in February and was literally ignored.

As to Roosevelt, England could never have held out against the Germans for so long without the US cash and carry program. He was certainly not perfect but he’s probably the most beloved oresident in US history, along with Clinton. This was mainly for his ability to communicate with people and his deep compassion for the plight of his citizens during the Depression.

August 7, 2005 @ 2:18 pm | Comment

Logan, of course Clarke didn’t recommend declaring war on Afghanistan (which America would never have done without the provocation of 911). But he did put forward a detailed warning and recommendations which were ignored. Nice try to cherrypick quotes letting Bush off the hook. The issue wasn’t whether we should invade Afghanistan. It was whether we should take Al Qaeda seriously and start putting a plan into action. Bush decided it wasn’t worth it.

August 7, 2005 @ 2:22 pm | Comment

Richard, the quote from Slade Gorton and Clarke’s response illustrates clearly that the measures offered in the January 25 memo would not have “the remotest chance” of preventing 9/11. That was what I was referencing. I don’t think that’s cherry-picking. Again, if you believe this so strongly, there’s not really a point in debating it, as I mentioned before. Again, the reality is more complex than the soundbites.

August 7, 2005 @ 2:35 pm | Comment

Well, I guess we’ll never know, will we? Sorry for being sensitive on this topic, but I know I’m right in ths case. Watching every second of the 911 Commission hearings convinced me. And I do hope you check the piece I linked on Al Qaeda’s growth and spread. And don’t worry, I completely understand why you don’t want to discuss the Bush people’s famous lack of concern about terrorism pre-911 and their utter disinterest in the report on the USS Cole.

August 7, 2005 @ 2:40 pm | Comment

Richard, I don’t mind discussing it, but if you truly believe this, then there’s no point in going further without some form of falsifiability standard (“If this was true, then I would change my belief…”). The reality is much more complex than the notion that there is always someone to blame. And if this is based on the 9/11 Commission hearings, how do you rectify your beliefs with the report itself? Just wondering.

August 7, 2005 @ 2:50 pm | Comment

It’s based on the testimony I heard. The final report was bipartisan and very politically correct; still, it was a great accomplishment.

I am willing to change my mind. All I need to learn is that the Bush people jumped to fight the threat they were so anxiously warned about. Unfortunately, I read Ashtray’s memos and saw Condi’s weaseling as to why she wasn’t so concerned with the “Bin Laden Determined” report. Shameful. There has never been a regime like this one in America. And what a price we all paid.

August 7, 2005 @ 2:54 pm | Comment

Of course you know I disagree, but I’ll drop the subject as it’s impossible to assess “jumping to fight the threat” against an objective standard.

August 7, 2005 @ 3:56 pm | Comment

For me, just about everything I needed to know about the Bush administration’s attitude towards Al Qaeda and OBL pre-9/11 came when Condi Rice testified in front of the Congressional 9/11 committee, and the Committee asked her about the famous August Presidential briefing. And her response was that she couldn’t remember that much about it, as it was a “historical” briefing. And the chair asked her what said “historical” briefing was called. And her reply was: “I believe it was called, ‘Bin Laden Determined to Attack Within the United States.'”

Yeah. Very historical…

August 7, 2005 @ 4:21 pm | Comment

I loved the way she said, “I believe…” As if it was so insignificant she didn’t even remember it. I’m sure after the jets hit, the name of that paper was in Condi’s nightmares every night for months. Oh well, we all learn by our mistakes.

August 7, 2005 @ 4:32 pm | Comment

Um…guys…the brief was linked to above:
http://thinkprogress.org/wp-images/upload/august6pdb.pdf. Most of the information discussed concerned 1998 and 1999, hence Rice’s attribution of the document as historical. Are you arguing that it’s not? The brief discusses ongoing FBI and CIA monitoring of Al Qaeda activity in the US. You don’t need to speculate about the title. What was it in this brief that was “ignored” exactly? What should the actions have been that resulted from reading this brief? Easy to respond in hindsight, but there’s no discussion of flight training or anything specific regarding Al Qaeda’s ongoing activity at the time. The FBI was tracking suspicious activity. What in this document could have predicted that the attack would take the form it did, as opposed to a more conventional bomb attack?

August 7, 2005 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

Alright Logan, we know where you stand. If you won’t deal with the facts of the Bush people ignoring the warnings in the wake of the USS Cole attack and their cutting back on terrorism and consigning Richard Clarke to the nuthouse and implelenting none of his suggestions until AFTER 911 despite his begging they do so in February 2001, we aren’t going to get anywhere. Thanks.

August 7, 2005 @ 6:01 pm | Comment

Wow…I guess we’re not. I’m not trying to be difficult. I thought I have dealt with those things. What should have been the response to the October 2000 Cole bombing, in your opinion? The Clarke quote above (selection above) indicates that he believed these measures would not have prevented 9/11. I just thought we were talking about the 8/6/01 PDB.

August 7, 2005 @ 6:18 pm | Comment

And he still won’t give a good reason for not enlisting to fight in the war he “supports”. He’s a typical spoiled little middle class American boy who thinks war is a video game, not a deadly serious business which you have to take personal responsibility for, and not just in words.

August 7, 2005 @ 7:03 pm | Comment

Well, maybe Ivan. Meanwhile, he writes a good blog and I respect him. He’s intelligent, and I have no doubt he’ll eventually see the light.

Amazing, how some people still support a war based on deception and resulting in nothing for America except shame and needless bloodshed.

August 7, 2005 @ 7:16 pm | Comment

Ivan, you know nothing about me. Don’t pretend to do so. I’ve never heard a meaningful response to my previous argument asking why anti-war critics are not similarly held to another standard before their criticism is taken seriously. Are people unqualified to oppose the war unless they have “sacrificed” to try and stop the war? I don’t think so, but you seem to favor qualifications for holding opinions…

As for the war “resulting in nothing” I have more responses than I could reasonably list in an hour or two, but I’ll refrain because I doubt the thread is interested…I wouldn’t expect me to change opinions anytime soon, either…I’ve been having this argument for three years or so…

August 7, 2005 @ 7:33 pm | Comment

Logan, I’ve heard th Bush propagandists, especially the Powerline types and Charles Johnson, rhapsodically praise the war and all it’s brought — “freedom,” “democracy,” elections, etc. Except it’s all an illusion. Death and destruction are everywhere and we are hated, even by those who violently oppose the insurgency. Chrenkoff would tell us about some new Halliburton-built schools. But we all know we are right on the verge of either civil war or Iranian-style theocracy. And those are the best-case scenarios. In the worst case, the insurgents would win, and then all hell would really break loose. No benefits, no victories, nothing to justify the death of scores of thousands. All we have are the photo-opps of purple-fingered voters that so captured the media a few months ago, but ultimately meant nothing.

I think Ivan’s point is pretty simple. If you say you support the war, what do you actually mean? Where is the “support”? Is it a state of mind or is there some actual commitment to those words? I see all the luxury SUV’s driving around with those yellow ribbons and “Support our troops” bumper stickers, but are they supporting our troops or soothing guilty consciences, even as they waste the gasoline our troops are dying for? Ivan is saying, I think, “You say you support our troops. Show me your support. Where is it and what is it? Is it a hollow slogan or is it a sincere commitment?” And yes, I would expect those who support the war to make sacrifices and be able to show something for their convicrtions. Under the Big Chimp, no one is asked to sacrifice or to give. We’re asked to “support our troops” whose death is a terrible shame, but well, that’s their job (as someone said above).

I’m getting tired of this circular argument; I think we all know where we stand. Luckily, as the site owner, I can state as indisputable truth that the war is an atrocious mistake and will be looked upon as one of the obscene crimes of modern history in the not so distant future.

August 7, 2005 @ 7:48 pm | Comment

I’m going to opt out at this point for the sake of all involved. Ivan is not making that point, Richard, he is merely spouting accusations without warrants. I will simply turn the question around: “You say you oppose the war. Show me your opposition. Where is it and what is it? Is it a hollow slogan or is it a sincere commitment?” Both action and inaction have consequences. I think history will judge the decision to go to war favorably. That’s all I’ll say for now.

August 7, 2005 @ 8:03 pm | Comment

Well Logan, I write about it, give money to my anti-war causes, attend meetings (only two so far, admittedly), and if I could enlist in an organization parallel to the US military that was dedicated to ending the war and that would pay me enough so that I could eat, I’d do it in a heartbeat. But you have a real alternativ e. You can enlist right now. I can’t because there’s nothing to enlist into, though I do all I canwith the means available. A huge portion of my life is dedicated to this cause, which far transcends money or personal reward. And you…?

August 7, 2005 @ 8:16 pm | Comment

Conrad, you’re not going to like this post. I suggest you ignore it.

August 7, 2005 @ 10:01 pm | Comment

Logan’s done a great job here. It’s funny how Iraq and 9/11 have caused a fundamental shift between left and right. In the past when looking at the glass lefties tended to be “half full” whereas righties tended to be “half empty”. Now it is the right that are full of hope and wonder, and the left full of doom and gloom.

This thread fundamentally demonstrates how the two sides of the debate talk past each other without communicating. Richard et al continually repeat the left mantra that Iraq is a disaster and refuse to see any good coming from the venture. Others see it as a poorly executed but correct move that has brought substantial benefits. Is the world better off without Sadaam? Yes. Is the world a safer place post-Sadaam? Yes, because as we’ve seen the threat of terror is an effective weapon of terror.

But wait, the lefties will say. Iraq has brought about more terror, added to Al-Qaeda’s recruits etc. Rubbish. Bin Laden was using Bosnia and American troops in Saudi Arabia as excuses to attack America years ago. AQ only wants one thing: an end to Western civilisation. There is no reasoning, no negotiations (hell, even the North Koreans negotiate). They are literally an implaccable opponent, and will always find excuses to attack “Crusaders and Jews”.

The Bush admin’s attitude to terror pre 9/11 reflected that of the rest of the world. It wasn’t considered as significant an issue as engaging Russia or dealing with China. The world had been lulled, despite incidents such as the African embassy and Cole bombings, into thinking that terror was remote and unlikely. 9/11 changed all that, as it would have under Al Gore. Was 9/11 preventable? Likely not. If amongst all the reports over all those years the idea of planes as weapons had been mentioned, they would have been mixed with potential chemical, biological and nuclear weapons as well. Unfortunately the potential weapons vastly outnumber the ability to patrol them effectively. That will always be the case. If bad people seek to do bad things, they will find a way. We can only continue to hope the police and intelligence services catch as many as they can before they execute their plans.

Finally, coming back to the original post. What is the correct way to react when handed a note saying a building has been hit? Jump in a panic and run? Richard, you’d be having a field day with that. Or is it to carry on, wait for more information and then deal with it in light of the full facts? Did he looked confused? Hell yes. So did I as I watched it on CNN. In the first few minutes, even hours, the information was sketchy and changing rapidly. His response was a very human one.

One more thing. Calling the man Bushitler is simply one of the most offensive comments one can make. Without invoking reductio ad hilterum, inane comparisons between the mass murderer of 6 million Jews (some my family) and gays, gypsies, Catholics, union leaders, intellectually disabled and more, the wrecker of Europe and the epitomy of evil and the current President of the US show an ignorance of history and an inability to articulate. If you don’t like the Prez, that’s fine. But please try and come up with something remotely witty.

August 8, 2005 @ 1:17 am | Comment

He was handed a document saying Bin Ladfen was determined to strike in the US.

Do you realize how vague that statement is?

The US gets hordes of terror threats everyday.

Did Bush receive a document saying that OBL was going to have his terrorists fly 747’s into the World Trade Center?

No he didn’t.

Come to think of it, you’re claim that Klintoon did more to prevent terrorism than the Bush administration has kind of falls through. Which President had more terror attacks on his watch, Klintoon or Bush?

Outside of Iraq, we haven’t had a successful terrorist attack against the US since 9/11.

August 8, 2005 @ 5:07 am | Comment

Simon, i never, ever called Bush “Bushitler” so please don’t say that I did. I am trying to keep the conversatrion calm and dignified and stick to the facts. It’s all in the memos and Clarke’s warnings and the Bush people’s refusal to show even minimal interest in them. “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in the US” – yes, very vague, not at all perturbing. I can imagine if Clinton got a memo with that title and then went to clear brush. No one should have panicked and run, as you bizarrely say I am sugesting. How about meet and discuss it, instead of putting the meeting off for four months? How about acklnowledge the danger and work to do what you can? Instead of cutting anti-terrorism funds and focusing on pornography and tax cuts? (I love the way the Bush defenders skirt this issue.)

You may say the Bush people were lulled into complacency, but they were warned they shouldn’t be complacent. Did you read how they didn’t want to be bothered with the USS Cole reports and OBL’s involvement? It’s all a matter of public record. You can defend Bush til the cows come home. I have my opinion based on the actual facts in front of me, not dreamy excuses. And if you want to believe we are getting benefits out of Iraq, it’s your privilege, I can’t alter that. I’ve looked for these benefits, and a few new schools and an improved economy for a handful are mighty slim pickings in the wake of the death toll and other costs.

Remember, this war was all about protecting us from WMDs. It was also sold to us as a way to fight Al Qaeda. On those two points, what kind of marks do your give our Codpiece in Chief? And Al Qaeda is growing. I linked to the article above that documents its spread and successful recruitment. Iraq has been the key catalyst, now that we are occupying an Islamic nation.

Anyway, we all know where the others stand, and I know that in your heart you know I’m right. Arguing the facts is impossible because some people keep spewing out the Instapuppy-Chrenkoff BS on all the “good news” in Iraq and how we are winning the “war on terror,” but it’s sloganeering, like Kim Jong Il insisting North Korea is a utopian paradise. Sounds soooo nice, but it’s based on hot air only. Thanks for sharing.

By the way, would you be proud to sacrifice your child for the noble cause that is the Iraq war?

August 8, 2005 @ 9:03 am | Comment

Sacre bleu! In an act of unprecedented Frenchness, even Republican members of the 911 Commission are damning the Bushies, who obviously still don’t care very much about terrorism except in regard to how it boosts their electability. This is extraordinary. I guess Simon and Logan are going to be a bit red-faced today! ๐Ÿ™‚

The White House has failed to turn over any of the information requested by the 10 members of the disbanded Sept. 11 commission in their renewed, unofficial investigation into whether the government is doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil, commission members said.

The members said that the Bush administration’s lack of cooperation was hindering a project that was otherwise nearly complete.

Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey who led the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission, said he was surprised and disappointed that the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and several other executive branch agencies had failed to respond to requests made two months ago for updated information on the government’s antiterrorism programs.

The requests came not from the disbanded commission, which was created by Congress, and had subpoena powers, but from its shadow group, which the members call the 9/11 Public Discourse Project. It was established by the members of the Sept. 11 commission when the panel formally went out of business last August, shortly after releasing a unanimous report that called for an overhaul of the nation’s counterterrorism agencies.

“It’s very disappointing,” Mr. Kean said of the administration’s failure to cooperate with the group. “All we’re trying to do is make the public safer.”

Mr. Kean said there had been no response of any sort to interview requests for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Porter J. Goss, the C.I.A. director; Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, and Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff, among others.

A White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, would not answer directly when asked if the administration intended to respond to the project’s requests for information before next month, when the group is scheduled to publish an updated report that assesses the progress of the government’s counterterrorism.

Get that? “All we’re trying to so is make the public safer,” says the Republican. But Bush won’t let them. The more things change…

August 8, 2005 @ 11:40 am | Comment

I’m red-faced and rednecked most of the time, but that’s genetics, I suppose. This item certainly does not contribute. What exactly is the accusation here? That the Bush Administration has not provided information based on a private, unofficial group’s requests? Why is this a problem? I think the 9/11 Commission produced a fair and balanced report, but its recommendations were, to put it mildly, beyond the scope of its mandate. These recommendations, if merited, should be implemented through the political process, as all policy is. Therefore I understand the administration’s reluctance to provide information that will contribute to an assessment of their “progress” in implementing recommendations based on a standard with which they don’t necessarily agree.

August 8, 2005 @ 3:36 pm | Comment

Oh my, a true believer in Bush. They are few and far between nowadays, and for good reason. (Approval at 42 percent – ouch!)

In case you haven’t noticed, this “president” always resists giving any information to anybody. It is a kind of sickness, an obsession with secrecy that flies in the face of the notions of transparency and the freedom of information. These are highly esteemed public servants requesting information of the president that he should cheerfully offer up, even if it could save a single human life., But life means precious little to the man who rushed back to DC at Easter to plead for a bogus law to protect the pile of tissue that was once Terry Schiavo. (Just more BS politicking.)

You’d let Bush off the hook for everything, even his allowing 911 to occur under his watch, even for sitting there weak and helpless, reading The Pet Goat after hearing America was attacked. Shocking.

August 8, 2005 @ 3:44 pm | Comment

Wow, America is wising up! Only 34 percent of us think Bush is doing the right thing in Iraq.

Poor, deluded souls, those 34 percent. I knew Americans would come around to see the Truth about Bush and his McWar in Iraq. How sweet it is. Sad, too, of course. What a waste. One day the cheerleaders will look back at this and cringe, like the die-hard supporters of our last unwinnable war. Eventually, even chief architect McNamara had to admit it was impossible, and he knew it.

August 8, 2005 @ 3:47 pm | Comment

One last thing. I want to apologize if I sound a touch partisan and even somewhat opinionated on these issues. It was a long, slow evolution, from a former supporter of the Iraq War (something for which I can never forgive myself) to a see-er of the light. There are many complex reasons why my opinion evolved, but at the root of them is the borrom-line fact that our president is an incompetent fool and he has made me ashamed to be an American for the first and only time in my entire life. So if I sound a touch emotional or personally invested, it’s because I care so much about our country and cringe when I think of what the final results of this horrible, utterly unnecessary war will be. I don’t even want to think about it, it’s so frightening.

August 8, 2005 @ 4:05 pm | Comment

Let me make it clear I don’t think the Bush team have a great record in how the dealt with terror pre-9/11. However post 9/11 woke them up to the dangers. Would 9/11 have been prevented even if they had read all the reports? Who knows, but unlikely. Most of the murderers were in the US under legitimate visas and living law-abiding lives. Not being a believer in pre-emption, Richard, there were no grounds to arrest them under laws at that stage.

Richard, it wasn’t you that mentioned “Bushitler”…I can’t be bothered tracing the thread, but it’s up there somewhere.

One final thing: this constant flinging of “why don’t you sign yourself/your kids to fight in Iraq” is nonsense, and you know it. The armed forces are a professional outfit based on volunteers. Whether one chooses to join or not has nothing to do with my opinions on the war. I have many opinions on politics, but I’m not a politician. I have many opinions on economics, but I’m not a central banker. I have many opinions on blogging…oh, hang on a sec. You get the drift.

August 8, 2005 @ 6:39 pm | Comment

Thanks for the clarification, Simon. I don’t harp on the “If you support the war you should enlist” argument. Ivan brought it up; I followed up by trying to discern what Logan means exactly when he says he “supports” the illegal war. It is an argument I have never flung at anyone.

To me, a more valid question is the one I raised several comments up: “By the way, would you be proud to sacrifice your child for the noble cause that is the Iraq war?” I honestly would not. For WWII, the civil war, and several others – yes. Even Iraq I, and Kosovo. But for Bush’s war based on a family grudge and doctored intelligence, absolutely not. Tell me honestly, is it such a good war you would peacefully deal with your child’s death fighting it and see it as a reasonable sacrifice?

August 8, 2005 @ 7:09 pm | Comment

Read this:


August 8, 2005 @ 9:37 pm | Comment

I’d love us to win in Iraq. I was rooting hard for us back in 2003. But now we cannot possibly win. The only victory will be losing as little face as possible. As General Shinseki said, we didn’t have enough boots on the ground to conduct a successful occupation. And like Richard Clarke and all others who offered some sane advice to the Codpiece in Chief, he was smeared and thrown out. What a great leader. What a great war.

I read a superb article today on what a BS’er Christopher Hitchens has become on Iraq and why – I’ll try to find it.

August 8, 2005 @ 9:42 pm | Comment

Ah, here it is. I used to respect Hitch, but no more.

August 8, 2005 @ 9:46 pm | Comment

Richard, in short that piece says Hitch changed his mind in views of events. If that’s a crime, then he’s not the only one who’s guilty.

He’s certainly not the only ex-leftie who has crossed the divide.

August 9, 2005 @ 10:19 pm | Comment

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