Archive for the ‘Cheney’ Category

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About This “But He Kept Us Safe” Meme…

December 5, 2008

I have to apologize to my fellow members of the WPPBA, ’cause I really haven’t been paying as close of attention to politics as I should as of late.  So, I return to the fray… 

I couldn’t help but notice the recent hubub over the “Bush Legacy Project“.   Interesting, but not unexpected, all things considered.  I suppose the operative word there is “project”.  Hmmm…”project”.   When I think of “projects”, the first thing that comes to mind is one of those assignments that teachers hand out to groups of high school students.  And in the history of “projects”, I imagine that this would go down as one of the tougher ones.   Just think, having to come up with positive things to report on the Bush presidency.  I’d hope those kids would be graded on a curve.

But, hey, someone’s gotta try, right?   So, enter Peggy Noonan, who gives it a shot in today’s WSJ:  ‘At Least Bush Kept Us Safe’

Back to the Christmas gathering. There was no grousing about John McCain, and considerable grousing about the Bush administration, but it was almost always followed by one sentence, and this is more or less what it was: “But he kept us safe.”

Now, I’m not sure who hangs out at Peggy’s Christmas gatherings, but I can’t picture that statement resonating with anyone besides the zombie-eyed Bushbot kool aid overdosers that make up that 20% of Bush’s approval ratings.  Maybe it’s just me.  I guess if you’re that desperate to look at the glass as full even when it’s nearly empty, this kind of notion probably elicits a few head nods in a room full of like-minded individuals.  But the reality is that it’s so hollow that the sound of bullshit splattering actually echoes when shoveled with this sentiment.    Yep.  {{{{{echoes}}}}}  Here’s why…FILES-US-ATTACKS-BUSH

In order to really embrace this idea, one has to commit to a couple intellectually dishonest assumptions.   The primary one, of course, being  the assumption that the whole “keeping us safe” concept didn’t get added to the list of presidential responsibilities until after 9/11 (’cause certainly 9/11 was a far cry from “keeping us safe”).  The subset of that would include the “out of the blue” arguments I’ve heard from Krauthammer and others; as if the president and the entire U.S. intelligence community had never heard of Al Qaeda or bin Laden, and no one had ever thought about counter-terrorism before that day.

Since this one is pretty obvious, the 20 percenters usually follow “he kept us safe” with the qualifier “since 9/11″.   This is a nice segue into the next assumption…

A secondary assumption is that one really understands al Qaeda’s capabilities, motives or intentions.  After 9/11, no doubt many of my fellow Americans believed that AQ’s goal was something along the lines of systematically striking at every major city until we were all dead.  The attacks supposedly (perhaps because of their magnitude) marked the beginning of some onslaught, and we were expecting to be faced with wave after wave of terrorist plots and bombings.  A crisis that only a strong president could do what needed to be done to prevent the imminent Armageddon.   Or something like that…which is supposed to give the weight to the “after 9/11″ portion of the meme.

The problem is, this mindset ignores whether real terror threats to domestic targets have actually increased or decreased since 9/11.  But we’re to assume, I guess, that they’ve increased.  As Noonan correctly pointed out, much of that information is kept out of the public view, so we could speculate all day long, but just entertaining the question leads one to ponder the second one:  Has Bush kept us “more safe” than, say, Clinton?  And once you’ve gone there (comparing to other presidents), you’ve effectively watered down “he kept us safe” as a notable accolade. 

Or, it could very well be that we haven’t been attacked since 9/11 because, frankly, they haven’t really tried to.  Maybe they haven’t felt the need to.   To use a hockey metaphor, it’s hard to congratulate the goaltender that lost a 1-0 game, even though he only let in one goal.  Many, including myself, have suggested that 9/11 was less about killing Americans, and more about provoking a response.   Bush certainly gave them a response, and we got a giant, expensive, and deadly mess in Iraq (and occasionally a mocking by the al Qaeda creeps via the internet along the way). 

Anyway, after eight tumultuous years, and where we find ourselves now, its kinda telling that people like Noonan are posting up op-ed’s saying “Hey, at least we weren’t bombed again!”, and presenting it as the primary thing that matters.  It probably sounds good to the aforementioned faithful, but I don’t think it’d help the grade out on the “project”.

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Update:  Meanwhile, over at the discussion-free zone dubbed JammieWearingFool, JWF posts the following:

Say what you want about George W. Bush, but you cannot deny him this. Despite every effort made by the media and the left to undermine his policies designed strictly for this purpose–to keep us free from terrorism post-9/11–he got the job done, and for that he has earned his legacy.

That’s right, not only was Bush doing battle with al Qaeda, he was winning in spite of the plans of the evil media and half of the American citizens.  No doubt, it must be tough for him to keep that cape hidden under his suit.

Anyway, aren’t we counting our chickens before they hatch a bit here?  There’s still 40-something days left in Bush’s term, after all.   But should the unfortunate occur, I have no doubt that voices like JWF’s and Noonan’s Christmas Coctail Team will go moaning on about how much we could really use a Republican taking the oath Jan. 20 instead of Obama (because of those innate national security skills, of course) or blaming the media and/or the left for “undermining” the policies of the wise GWB.

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Brainstorming An Iraq “Super-Surge”

March 28, 2008

Last night I took a few hours to watch FRONTLINE “Bush’s War” on the PBS site.  My reaction was mixed.  Part of me felt vindicated for some of the things that I’ve been posting here in the Chamber and elsewhere, another part felt angry at people like Cheney and Rumsfeld, and yet another part felt just…depressed (which is probably the overriding feeling, but I do encourage everyone to watch it in case you’ve missed it).  

I gave myself a few hours to digest what I had just watched, and although there was quite a bit of material that I was already familiar with, this documentary chronicled the entire Iraq adventure in a way that I hadn’t yet seen.  This led to a small epiphany on my part concerning what to do next, and I figured I’d just throw it out here for debate, so bear with me ’cause there may be some flaws in my thinking. 

The proposals coming from the presidential candidates for our course of action going forward in Iraq have pretty much fallen into two main categories.   McCain is politically wedded to the strategy he championed (the “surge”) in a way that would put him in the same position as Bush insofar as he’s going to keep up the “stay the course” mantra, and has even gone as far as to say that he’d support a permanent American presence in Iraq long after the period of shooting stops (and if it takes 100 years, so be it).  On the other side, Clinton and Obama have rejected the notion of an open-ended commitment, and while the rationale behind a responsible withdrawal may bounce between a few concepts,  the end game is the same:  leave Iraq for the Iraqis as soon as reasonably possible.  Critics on both sides have, rightly or wrongly, argued that McCain’s plan is untenable in the long run while the Obama/Clinton plan is a recipe for eventual chaos and genocide.

Other options for Iraq have gained much less steam.  For example, former presidential candidates Sens Brownback and Biden have proposed a sort of soft partition.  This proposal has probably been less popular because, the way I see it, it involves undoing a lot of what has been done already and is essentially going back to the drawing board in many ways.  That, and there is reason to believe that the idea isn’t popular amongst the Iraqis themselves.

So, I enter another proposal, one that I will call the “Super-Surge”, based on a few facts/assumptions gleaned from the documentary and elsewhere:

-Before the invasion, Gen Shinseki stated the opinion before Congress that success in the months after Saddam’s regime fell would require “several hundred thousand” troops, while people like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz urged a much smaller number.  The eventual plan was somewhat of a compromise, but today, it is pretty much considered conventional wisdom that one of the major errors in the mission was that there weren’t sufficient forces to keep the peace during that critical timeframe.

-The “coalition of the willing” was never much of an actual coalition, as 98% of the troop commitments came form the U.S. and Britain.  Brent Scowcroft,  national security adviser for President George H.W. Bush and a leading figure in the U.S. foreign policy establishment, believed from the very beginning that attacking Iraq would dissolve any kind of coalition we had built in the aftermath of 9/11, and more recently suggested that the best hope for pulling the country from chaos would be to turn the U.S. operation over to NATO or the United Nations — which, he said, would not be so hostilely viewed by Iraqis.

-The doctrine of “clear, hold, build” had shown itself to be successful on the micro scale in the city of Tal Afar.  Originally credited to Col. H.R. McMaster, it eventually became the rough blueprint for the “surge” in that it simply took more troops to employ such a strategy.    Or, in the words of McMaster himself, when asked if additional troops would help the mission:

Yeah. I think one of the critical elements of improving security is the number of forces you have to be able to carry out that security mission, along with the other missions that you have. Securing the population is obviously first and foremost. And this is a mission … for American and coalition forces working alongside Iraqi forces.

The other mission is to develop Iraqi security force capability, … and that takes a lot of soldiers and Marines to carry out that effort: to train these forces, to help them organize and then to introduce them initially in the context of multinational operations where we operate alongside them until they develop the ability to operate on their own.

Also, just securing critical infrastructure, lines of communication — I mean, there are a lot of demands on our forces, and our soldiers and Marines are just doing an amazing job with multiple tasks simultaneously. So I think additional forces will certainly help. Is it the answer in the long term? No. The answer in the long term is still very much the same: that the Iraqis have to develop their own ability to provide the kind of security that is necessary such that economic development and political development can proceed. …

-The current troop surge will come to an end for logistical reasons.  In fact, the troop drawdown is right around the corner:

A senior Pentagon official said earlier this week that the US “surge” is likely to end in July with more troops in Iraq than the 132,000 who were there before five extra combat brigades were sent in more than a year ago.

-Staying in Iraq until the shooting stops (and beyond), as McCain has suggested, is likely to be financially untenable.  The estimates for the cumulative cost of the war have been projected to be as high as $3 trillion.  And although many nations have a significant stake in a stable Iraq, the United States has taken on the vast majority of the burden in terms of monetary sacrifice.

So, you toss some of these things into a pot and stir.  I’m left with a few questions.

  1. Is it too late to deploy a peacekeeping force of “several hundred thousand” troops to stabilize Iraq, or has that ship sailed?  If not, then…
  2. Is it too late to bring together a meaningful coalition to share the burden of the effort, or have those bridges burned?  If not, then…
  3. Could a new, charismatic, inspiring and internationally popular U.S. president (*cough*Obama*cough*) bring together the nations of the world to address the issue?  If so, then…
  4. Would it work in a way that would ultimately save Iraq from descending into chaos, prohibit the formation of a terrorist safe haven, and allow the troops to come home a lot faster than the current proposals?   If so, then…

It’s something to think about.

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Why Obama, Part V: Ethics

February 6, 2008

For the fifth installment of the Chamber’s Why Obama series, I’ve picked the ethics in government issue.  The same format applies; this is right from the Obama website

Ethics (pdf)

The Problem

Lobbyists Write National Policies: For example, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force of oil and gas lobbyists met secretly to develop national energy policy.

Secrecy Dominates Government Actions: The Bush administration has ignored public disclosure rules and has invoked a legal tool known as the “state secrets” privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.

Wasteful Spending is Out of Control: The current administration has abused its power by handing out contracts without competition to its politically connected friends and supporters. These abuses cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

Barack Obama’s Plan

Shine the Light on Washington Lobbying

  • Centralize Ethics and Lobbying Information for Voters: Obama will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format.
  • Require Independent Monitoring of Lobbying Laws and Ethics Rules: Obama will use the power of the presidency to fight for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations so that the public can be assured that ethics complaints will be investigated.
  • Support Campaign Finance Reform: Obama supports public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. Obama introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and is the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) tough bill to reform the presidential public financing system.

Shine the Light on Federal Contracts, Tax Breaks and Earmarksobama08_thumblogo100.gif

  • Create a Public “Contracts and Influence” Database: As president, Obama will create a “contracts and influence” database that will disclose how much federal contractors spend on lobbying, and what contracts they are getting and how well they complete them.
  • Expose Special Interest Tax Breaks to Public Scrutiny: Barack Obama will ensure that any tax breaks for corporate recipients — or tax earmarks — are also publicly available on the Internet in an easily searchable format.
  • End Abuse of No-Bid Contracts: Barack Obama will end abuse of no-bid contracts by requiring that nearly all contract orders over $25,000 be competitively awarded.
  • Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.
  • Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending: Obama’s Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.

Bring Americans Back into their Government

  • Hold 21st Century Fireside Chats: Obama will bring democracy and policy directly to the people by requiring his Cabinet officials to have periodic national broadband townhall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies.
  • Make White House Communications Public: Obama will amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public.
  • Conduct Regulatory Agency Business in Public: Obama will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates.
  • Release Presidential Records: Obama will nullify the Bush attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult.

Free the Executive Branch from Special Interest Influence

  • Close the Revolving Door on Former and Future Employers: No political appointees in an Obama administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.
  • Free Career Officials from the Influence of Politics: Obama will issue an executive order asking all new hires at the agencies to sign a form affirming that no political appointee offered them the job solely on the basis of political affiliation or contribution.
  • Reform the Political Appointee Process: FEMA Director Michael Brown was not qualified to head the agency, and the result was a disaster for the people of the Gulf Coast. But in an Obama administration, every official will have to rise to the standard of proven excellence in the agency’s mission.

Barack Obama’s Record:

  • Federal Ethics Reform: Obama and Senator Feingold (D-WI) took on both parties and proposed ethics legislation that was described as the “gold standard” for reform. It was because of their leadership that ending subsidized corporate jet travel, mandating disclosure of lobbyists’ bundling of contributions, and enacting strong new restrictions of lobbyist-sponsored trips became part of the final ethics bill that was signed into law. The Washington Post wrote in an editorial, “The final package is the strongest ethics legislation to emerge from Congress yet.”
  • Google for Government: Americans have the right to know how their tax dollars are spent, but that information has been hidden from public view for too long. That’s why Barack Obama and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) passed a law to create a Google-like search engine to allow regular people to approximately track federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and loans online. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “It would enable the public to see where federal money goes and how it is spent. It’s a brilliant idea.”
  • Illinois Reform: In 1998, Obama joined forces with former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon (D-IL) to pass the toughest campaign finance law in Illinois history. The legislation banned the personal use of campaign money by Illinois legislators and banned most gifts from lobbyists. Before the law was passed, one organization ranked Illinois worst among 50 states for its campaign finance regulations.
  • A High Standard: Unlike other candidates Obama’s campaign refuses to accept contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.

To me, this is one of the more important issues, and in this race I was looking for someone who could clearly reverse the trend that the Bush administration came to embody.  This is an issue that effects the very core of our democracy.  Is our government “of the people and for the people”, or is it simply guided by the whims and wishes of powerful donors, lobbyists, special interest groups and cronies? 

Of the remaining candidates, Romney and Huckabee don’t even address this issue (at least, not on their websites), and McCain’s position is pretty light on specifics.  Clinton, to her credit, does address it, but with such an established Washington political machine and extensive network, it lacks believability and it’s hard to look at this as much more than lip service.  Clinton is running a campaign run by big donors, and where there are big donors there are usually expectations of big favors.  Obama, on the other hand, has a certain amount of purity being a relative newcomer to Washington and is running his bid on an extraordinary amount of much more numerous and smaller donations.   Where some see lack of experience, I see a man who hasn’t become corrupted by the system and is genuinely coming in to do the people’s business, which gives him a lot more credibility when it comes to what he has posted on his website for this issue.

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John Bolton Gets Nostalgic

September 30, 2007

boultonmup.jpgI’m picking this for quote of the week, delivered by John Bolton while discussing what should be done about the Iran situation:

“If we were to strike Iran it should be accompanied by an effort at regime change … The US once had the capability to engineer the clandestine overthrow of governments. I wish we could get it back,” he said.

What Bolton is referring to, of course, is this.  Nothing quite like the spooks of yesteryear, compared to the moonbats that are inhabiting the CIA these days, right?

I’m not sure why he thinks of the exercise as a dead practice though.  There’s word that Bush and Cheney at least making an effort at it in Iran currently.

And Johnnyboy, it isn’t particularly “clandestine” when you’re telling the media about it, is it? 

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9/11 Made Saddam More Dangerous

August 12, 2007

I know this isn’t exactly a current event, but this was a chunk of logic that had always perplexed me.  Consider this another one of my open discussion threads, where this time I revisit the “Why the heck did we invade Iraq, again?” question.  First, we’re going to take the time machine back to 1994 and visit our pal Dick Cheney (this video seems to be making the rounds).  He’s explaining why deposing Saddam would be a BAD idea.  WARNING:  You are about to enter the Twilight Zone…


“How many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?”

Yep, he actually said  “quagmire”

Fast forward to March 2003. Cheney is explaining the rationale for war with MTP‘s Tim Russert, and mentions 9/11 ten times, al-Qaeda six times and WMD’s dozens of times.  Here is the part where Cheney explains why he’s flip-flopped on the issue:

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I hope not, Tim. Of course, in ’91, there was a general consensus that we’d gone as far as we should. We’d achieved our objectives when we liberated Kuwait and that we shouldn’t go on to Baghdad. But there were several assumptions that was based on. One that all those U.N. Security Council resolutions would be enforced. None of them has been. That’s the major difference. And it was based on the proposition that Saddam Hussein probably wouldn’t survive. Most of the experts believed based upon the severe drubbing we administered to his forces in Kuwait that he was likely to be overthrown or ousted. Of course, that didn’t happen. He’s proven to be a much tougher customer than anybody expected.

We’re now faced with a situation, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, where the threat to the United States is increasing. And over time, given Saddam’s posture there, given the fact that he has a significant flow of cash as a result of the oil production of Iraq, it’s only a matter of time until he acquires nuclear weapons. And in light of that, we have to be prepared, I think, to take the action that is being contemplated. Doesn’t insist that he be disarmed and if the U.N. won’t do it, then the United States and other partners of the coalition will have to do that.

Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. And the president’s made it very clear that our purpose there is, if we are forced to do this, will in fact be to stand up a government that’s representative of the Iraqi people, hopefully democratic due respect for human rights, and it, obviously, involves a major commitment by the United States, but we think it’s a commitment worth making. And we don’t have the option anymore of simply laying back and hoping that events in Iraq will not constitute a threat to the U.S. Clearly, 12 years after the Gulf War, we’re back in a situation where he does constitute a threat.

Of course, Cheney makes no mention of “quagmire” and he doesn’t touch on the pitfalls of having a occupying force in a “volatile region” or the dangers of having “pieces of Iraq fly off”.  Nope.  Greeted as liberators.  And as we all know, Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, little to do with al Qaeda, and those WMD’s never really turned up. 

And what was it about 9/11 that made Saddam more dangerous?  I can’t think of anything.  It’s a fallacy.  this sort of ties into my previous thread: What Does “Post 9/11 World” Really Mean?

Cheney was actually asked about the “quagmire” sentiment back in February:

Karl: Back in 1991, you talked about how military action in Iraq would be the classic definition of a quagmire. Have you been disturbed to see how right you were? Or people certainly said that you were exactly on target in your analysis back in 1991 of what would happen if the U.S. tried to go in –

Cheney: Well, I stand by what I said in ’91. But look what’s happened since then — we had 9/11. We’ve found ourselves in a situation where what was going on in that part of the globe and the growth and development of the extremists, the al Qaeda types that are prepared to strike the United States demonstrated that we weren’t safe and secure behind our own borders. We weren’t in Iraq when we got hit on 9/11. But we got hit in ’93 at the World Trade Center, in ’96 at Khobar Towers, or ’98 in the East Africa embassy bombings, 2000, the USS Cole. And of course, finally 9/11 right here at home. They continued to hit us because we didn’t respond effectively, because they believed we were weak. They believed if they killed enough Americans, they could change our policy because they did on a number of occasions. That day has passed. That all ended with 9/11.

Ah, I think we have it right there.  They thought we were weak, so of course the perfect way to show them how tough we are would be….invading a country that had nothing to do with it?  Something that Cheney himself said would be a extremely risky proposition just a few years earlier.  Makes sense.

I wonder if it ever occurred to Cheney that maybe they knew that if they hit us hard enough, we’d do something stupid and reckless and get ourselves stuck in a “quagmire”?

Update:  This video is really making the rounds.  It’s #3 on YouTube right now.  Also, the reaction at DailyKos.

Update:  The video was posted over at Hot Air as well. 

My effing point was to contrast Cheney’s remarkable prescience about the consequences of occupying Iraq in 1994 with the foolhardiness of some of the administration’s planning before invading in 2003. Publicly, at least, they expected an easy time of it. Cheney in 1994 knew better. Why the discrepancy? And why are you so irritated that I’d post this?

Allahpundit on August 11, 2007 at 2:51 PM

I’m beginning to like this Allahpundit.

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What Does John Gibson Mean By “Wake America Up”?

August 11, 2007

There’s been a meme that’s been permeating the rightosphere for quite a while now, which is this notion that another terrorist attack will be needed to “wake us up”.  It was repeated by John Gibson on Fox:

Gibson’s exact quote:  “I think it’s going to take a lot of dead people to wake America up” (h/t Think Progress)

What the heck does that mean exactly?

Gibson is obviously implying that America isn’t “awake”, but I guess I’m not sure why he would think that. Perhaps I should turn to my fellow bloggers to explain this for me. 

This whole idea got some attention because of that column that appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News (Gibson was interviewing the author in the vid), and I noticed that the reaction in the blogosphere was a little mixed…

Malkin says:

We don’t need healing. We need the half of the country that doesn’t believe we are under threat from global jihad to wake up and smell the suicide bomb smoke.

My pal The Sophist says:

The only thing that could possibly wake up the Other Half is for the Islamists to overreach and start demanding the imposition of shari’ah law here in the United States, on non-Muslims. 

And another WP political blogger, mpinkeyes, says:

 Let’s just hope we never find out if another 9/11 will save us. The first one didn’t wake us up, the second one won’t either.

OK… I’m not sure if you people have been sleeping for the last 6 years, but I’d say we are very much “awake” as a nation.  After all, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.  The Patriot Act passed…twice.  Just a little while ago, Congress granted Bush carte blanche to warrantlessly wiretap whoever the hell they please.  In fact, I can’t think of a single thing that Bush hasn’t eventually gotten his way on in order for him to fight his “war on terror”.  And, of course, he right loves to tout how effective it’s all been (just Google “no attacks since 9/11″).   The media constantly reminds us of the terrorist threat.

So….WTF does “Wake Up” mean?  We need to make Bush a king?  Start internment and deportation of Muslims?  Commence bombing of Iran?  Nuke Mecca?  Seriously.  What?

Or, does “America needs to wake up” = “America isn’t frightened enough” ?   If only those darn liberals were more scared, then they wouldn’t worry about losing quaint things like civil liberties in the name of fighting The Great Battle Against “Islamofascism”.  Those Islamists want you DEAD!  DEAD!!!  WAKE UP!!!  BE SCARED!!!!  

Something like that?

Suppose Gibson’s “a lot of dead people” came at the hands of another Tim McVeigh.  How would that “wake us up”? 

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Righty Bloggers Want Cheney To Pardon Libby

July 20, 2007

When news broke that Dick Cheney would be standing in for Bush for a few hours tomorrow, an interesting chorus sounded in the rightosphere.  From the front pages of Redstate, Gateway Pundit and NRO, to the comment section of Little Green Footballs, the message to Cheney is clear: Free Pardon Scooter!

Well, that… and “bomb Iran!”.

umm…

Everyone say a little prayer for George W. Bush, OK?  Even if you’re not religious.

Update:  DownWithTyranny! was thinking along the same lines.

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Radio Pundit Mark Levin Calls Cheney “Rock Of Gibraltar”

July 10, 2007

I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio, probably out of curiosity and the desire to learn about the various talking points that are put out there.  That, and there really isn’t that much liberal talk around in this area.  And I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but these on-air pundits have become increasingly piqued lately.  Just…angry.  I’m sure it has something to do with the state of the political landscape right now.  Anyway…

After listening to Jason Lewis go on for about an hour calling Democrats and liberals ‘communists’ (loudly), the equally testy Mark Levin got on and eventually the subject of Cheney came up.  Sure enough, Levin painted the VP as the best in history and then whipped out the ‘Gibraltar’ line.  Now, I’ve heard these guys say some pretty rediculous stuff before, but this one made me spill my Dr. Pepper.  I’ve never felt the urge to actually call one of these shows, but this was about as close as I’ve ever been to actually doing it.  After hearing Levin cut off another dissenting caller in Hannity-esque fashion (mid-sentence), I thought better of it.  Instead, I thought I’d put something in the blog, since there are still plenty of people out there that seem to look at Cheney as some sort of savior or something.

The love for Cheney appears to be centered around this sense of security that people are, for whatever reason, convinced that he delivers.  But lets just think about that for a second, shall we?  I mean, this was the guy who gave us baselessly optimistic phrases such as “greeted as liberators” and “last throes“, and when the Brits announced that they were going to be leaving Basra (while we were preparing for a ‘surge’), he gave us the patently absurd “Well, I look at it and see it is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well”.  In fact, I challenge any pro-Cheney reader of my blog to point to something that Cheney has said publicly that hasn’t turned out to be utter crap.  And I’m not even going to mention the rediculous bombardment of over-hyping of the pre-war Iraqi threat. 

I know, “mistakes were made”.  Sure.  It happens in any war.  But this wasn’t one of those things where historians look back and determine that they didn’t bring enough Gatling guns to defend the flank or something.  This was a VP that (mis)led us into a war with NO PLAN for the aftermath, while ignoring (seemingly) all the experts, scenarios, and war games that actually looked seriously at what we were really getting ourselves into.  A war that all of our intelligence agencies concluded has made the overall terrorism problem worse.  What sane person can say with a straight face that they actually trust this guy to keep us safe from terrorism under the guise of “understanding” the “enemy we face”?  What defense is there for the most secretive, power hungry and demonstrably wrong VP in our nations history that isn’t based in pure partisanship?  Someone better tell me, ’cause I can’t think of one. 

“Rock of Gibraltar”?  Seriously.

On a related note, the bill to impeach Cheney is slowly gaining support.

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My Use Of The N-Word

July 5, 2007

About a month ago, I received this response to one of my comments on LGF:

#30 DesertSage  6/03/2007 11:03:23 pm PDT 

…but because they figure he isn’t one of the neocons.

“neocon” is Lefty code-speak for “Jews”.

ChenZhen uses the term “neocon” as a pejorative.
ChenZhen is an anti-semite, I new there was a reason I disliked him.
Babbazee is right!

If there’s one thing I really can’t stand is an anti-semitic Leftist.
The thing I like even less is an anti-semitic Leftist that denies that he’s an anti-semite…so don’t even try it ChenZhen!

Then, last night, I spotted this comment on another WP blog:

25. Mark – July 4, 2007
…Gabe, Neo-Con is a racist slur. No shock that you use it…

 

Am I missing something here? Isn’t ‘neocon’ just short for ‘neoconservative‘? It’s just political ideology, right?

Intrigued, I did some searching, and I stumbled upon some old opinion pieces:

Blame It on Neo -Don’t call me a “neocon” unless you are a friend.

One big culprit has been Air America. Tune in to the proudly liberal radio network, and you’ll hear actress-turned-activist Janeane Garofalo and other hosts frequently blast the “influence” of the “neocons” on the Bush Administration, then go on to name names such as Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams and Libby. Not a single gentile name makes the list, so it’s the Jewish influence to which the network takes particular exception.

‘Neocon': Slang for ‘Jew’?

After laying the groundwork of neocons as superhawks, the Business Week piece informs readers that the key members of the movement who advise President Bush are “Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Pentagon policy chief Douglas J. Feith and Defense Policy Board member Richard N. Perle.” Fair enough. All three have, at various times, been labeled neocons. But then, Mr. Dunham draws an interesting distinction. He describes Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney as “key allies,” but not as “neocons.” In the remainder of the article, former Reagan administration official Ken Adelman and Weekly Standard editor William Kristol are identified as other “neocons.”

I have to apologise.  I had no idea that when I called Francis Fukuyama a ‘neocon’ in this post a year ago I was actually using code to label him a Jew.

fukucross.jpg

I’m hoping some of my fellow bloggers could help me out here. What would be more politically correct? Should I just spell out ‘neoconservative’? Or should I adopt some sort of family-friendly way to post the word, like n**cons?

Edit- That was sarcasm, BTW.

One final note.  I see all this as grievance theater.  Accusations of anti-Semitism seem to get fired at people on a hair trigger all the time, and I think this is a perfect example. 

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My July 4th Sentiment

July 4, 2007

I have a confession.  I was pretty close to celebrating the 4th of July on my blog by posting a nice video of flags waving or fireworks bursting and the national anthem blaring.  I must have searched YouTube for a half an hour looking for the perfect vid.  However, as I sat there watching these videos I couldn’t help but to think that the whole idea just didn’t seem sincere. 

Call me unpatriotic if you want, but displaying such a video while our country is being led by a dangerous administration and an equally broken Congress wasn’t going to encapsulate my attitude this day.  I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that ‘taps’ would be the tune that jumps ahead in one’s mind, actually.  So, I’ve decided to post a different video.

As I mentioned a couple of posts down, I did a lot of blogging on the FearBush.com site before starting the blog here (I’m still a regular in the forums).  I thought of it as kind of a privilege, since it was one of the few sites out there whose founders were prophetic enough to have actually predicted the Bush disaster back in early 2000.  In fact, the url was originally intended as a warning (as you might have guessed).  Since then, many others have joined on the anti-Bush bandwagon, and I suppose by now I feel a sense of vindication for having felt passionately about this for so long. 

Of all the anti-administration rants I posted over there over the last couple of years, I never posted any of the Keith Olbermann “Special Comments”, since I preferred to give my own perspective.  Today, however, I’m gonna give Keith a post on this blog, because tonight’s edition was one heck of a doozy.  On this 4th of July, we should all consider what’s being said here and what it really means to be patriotic.


(video hat tip: Suzie Q)

Enjoy the fireworks.

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His Royal Cheneyness

June 21, 2007

There’s already a consensus that Dick Cheney is the most powerful VP in our nation’s history, and it’s no secret that he has a long history of being a proponent of almost unlimited power for the executive branch, but this is getting pretty surreal: Vice President Exempts His Office from the Requirements for Protecting Classified Information

The Oversight Committee has learned that over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President Cheney exempted his office from the presidential order that establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. The Vice President asserts that his office is not an “entity within the executive branch.”

As described in a letter from Chairman Waxman to the Vice President, the National Archives protested the Vice President’s position in letters written in June 2006 and August 2006. When these letters were ignored, the National Archives wrote to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in January 2007 to seek a resolution of the impasse. The Vice President’s staff responded by seeking to abolish the agency within the Archives that is responsible for implementing the President’s executive order.

For documentation purposes:   Fact Sheet on the Vice President’s Efforts to Avoid Oversight and Accountability (pdf)

In my quest to figure out what that really means, I spotted a great post from Scholars:

Having the Vice President, and a Republican at that, responsible for egregious breaches in national security sets a very poor example. After all, if the Vice President’s office can be exempt from secrecy requirements, then other offices could be as well. How long will it be before the entire Justice Department uses the identical argument (its duties are split between the executive and judicial branches, after all) to exempt itself from annual ISOO oversight?And what are the sanctions for breaking this particular EO?

Is “What the hell is he hiding?” a fair question?  Does it have anything to do with what happened to Scooter Libby?  

If you’re not part of the legislative, judicial, or executive, I suppose that leaves some sort of position of royalty.  How should we address thee?

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PBS FRONTLINE: “Endgame”

June 18, 2007

Since this seems to be related to my previous post, I thought I’d mention that I’ll be watching this program tomorrow night at 9pm (tptHD).  Here’s the summary:

Endgame

coming Jun. 19, 2007 at 9pm (check local listings)

(60 minutes) As the United States begins one final effort to secure victory through a “surge” of troops, FRONTLINE investigates how strategic and tactical mistakes brought Iraq to civil war. The film recounts how the early mandate to create the conditions for a quick exit of the American military led to chaos, failure, and sectarian strife. In Endgame, producer Michael Kirk (Rumsfeld’s War, The Torture Question, The Dark Side, and The Lost Year in Iraq) traces why the president decided to risk what military planners once warned could be the worst way to fight in Iraq — door-to-door — and assesses the likelihood of its success. Top administration figures, military commanders, and journalists offer inside details about the new strategy. (read the press release)

..and a short teaser vid posted on YouTube:


(Hat Tip: Hot Air)

I’ll post more here after I watch the program. Should be interesting. 

Update:  “The plan was, there was no plan” …wow

Update:  OK, I just finished watching it.  I gotta tell ya, it was sobering.  In a nutshell, we’ve been making our ‘plan’ up as went along. 

I think I’ve learned more about the Iraq conflict in this 60 minutes than I have in 4 years of watching media outlets like CNN and reading stories on the internet.  It was an excellent account of the behind-the-scenes events that have led us to our current situation.

My opinion?  I’m pretty sure that Shinseki would be vindicated.  In order for this to have worked, we would have needed several hundred thousand troops employing Col. McMaster’s ‘clear, hold, build’ blueprint from the very beginning.  If that had happened, we probably could have seen serious success within a year or two.  As it sits right now, however, it’s hard to be optimistic.  

If you want to view the full program online, or view extended interviews with key military players, strategists and journalists, go here

Update:  One more thing I figured out.  Bush hasn’t been straight with the American people about this war since the very beginning.  Not until his Jan. 11 address from this year did he decide that it was finally time to level with us (a little).  This is, of course, deplorable.

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Duh! Headline Of The Day

June 17, 2007

Blair knew US had no post-war plan for Iraq

!

Tony Blair agreed to commit British troops to battle in Iraq in the full knowledge that Washington had failed to make adequate preparations for the postwar reconstruction of the country.

In a devastating account of the chaotic preparations for the war, which comes as Blair enters his final full week in Downing Street, key No 10 aides and friends of Blair have revealed the Prime Minister repeatedly and unsuccessfully raised his concerns with the White House.

Well, on second thought, that might be news. Sorta. But I think we all suspected or assumed that this was the story ever since all those British memos surfaced back in 2005 (there was another one that came out late last year, although that had more to do with the dog and pony show).  I guess it does put those “WTF were they thinking?” questions back out there again though. 

BTW- I still want to know how Blair came up with the whole ’45 minutes’ thing.  Maybe he thought of it while he was shaving or something. 

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Election ’08, And The Perception Of Being “Tough” On Terrorism

June 5, 2007

As readers of my site have probably figured out by now, I spend a lot of time on ‘righty’ sites (mostly LGF).  I do this not because I like to be a pest or a troll, but because I figure that my own political perceptions need to be challenged in order for me to justify where I may stand on any given issue.  I’m not afraid to take on a debate (for the most part), as I feel it enhances my own knowledge and understanding.  Sometimes I get a hostile reaction, but, hey, thats the way it goes I guess. 

Yesterday, my pal Killgore Trout made a comment about the “left” and terrorism that I only addressed briefly (but feel I should expand upon it).  Here it is:

#57 football-profile.gif Killgore Trout  6/04/2007 8:28:41 am PDT

#44 ChenZhen

Sorry if you’re offended. I felt your take on the recent poll of American Muslims was a good example of downplaying terrorism.

The recommendation to talk to you about why the left is soft on terrorism should be flattering. As long a Lizards can control their rage I felt you’d be willing to patiently answer questions and explain your views.

Again, No offense intended.

I think that this really struck me because the whole idea of being “soft” or “tough” on terror is more a matter of perception than reality.  This is going to be important because this issue will be virtually unavoidable as we head to the presidential elections next year.  While it seems most on the left and even some moderates avoid this issue whenever possible, I’m going to take it head on.  To me, there’s really no reason for Dem. candidates to shy away from this.

First, lets look at reality.  Not perception, mind you, but reality.  The perception is that Bush (or the GOP in general) is more “tough” on terrorism, remember….

  • Last year’s declassified NIE describes a situation in which the reckless invasion of Iraq has, as one analyst put it, “made the overall terrorism problem worse”.
  • The State Dept. released a study that found that terrorism increased nearly 30% last year (worldwide).
  • Al Qaeda’s main voicebox Ayman al-Zawahiri continues to mock the US in video releases (of seemingly improving production quality), undoubtedly emboldening their supporters.  Bin Laden is still at large.
  • A survey taken in four Islamic countries (Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, and Indonesia) reveals that a vast majority of Muslims believe that the US’s current foreign policy seeks to “weaken and divide the Islamic world”, evidence that al Qaeda’s message has become increasingly convincing.   In other words, we’re losing the propaganda war.

So this begs the question(s):  What does it really mean to be “tough on terror”?   Is it support for torture, unconstitutional wiretaps, reckless invasions, “doubling gitmo“, increasing anti-American sentiment, etc.? 

Or, does it mean not doing what this administration has done?

and…

What the heck does it mean to be “soft”?

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