Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 26, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

ONE CALCULATION....At the end of a remarkably thorough piece of reality avoidance in the Washington Post today, Robert Kagan says this:

I would worry about an American foreign policy driven only by fear of how our actions might inspire anger, radicalism and violence in others. As in the past, that should be only one calculation in our judgment of what does and does not make us, and the world, safer.

Crikey. I would be happy (well, happier, anyway) if the Bush administration showed even the tiniest inclination to think about whether their actions might inspire anger, radicalism and violence in others. We are so far away from this being their only consideration that Kagan's unease brings to mind visions of middle-aged Victorian gentlemen harrumphing that the Royal Navy has been treating its recruits with rather too light a hand after that kerfuffle over the Bounty a few years back.

On the other hand, Kagan is right that the classified National Intelligence Estimate leaked to the New York Times the other day should be released. I'm willing to bet that it would require only light redaction, and understanding its context would allow all of us, liberals and conservatives, to judge whether its conclusions are justified. I for one would like to know the analytic basis on which our intelligence community views the world.

Kevin Drum 12:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

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I would be happy (well, happier, anyway) if the Bush administration showed even the tiniest inclination to think about whether their actions might inspire anger, radicalism and violence in others.

Oh, so you want to go back to the Clinton way of dealing with terrorism. Look what happened then. President George Bush sends troops to Somalia to fight the Islamofascists and Clintons cuts and run when the terrorists start fighting back. The terrorists destroy the USS Cole and Clinton does nothing in response. The plan you support is the Clinton plan which lead to 9/11. Now Bush has a new plan and no 9/11 has happened since. Why won't you support the Bush plan that has worked rather than the Clinton plan which has failed?

Posted by: Al on September 26, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

It's also relevant which actions we're talking about. Invading Afghanistan to kill Osama's ass, I'd say we shouldn't care--he did attack us, after all. Recreational wars like Iraq, OTOH, I'd want to make sure I'm not upsetting anyone too much. It's only fair--for instance, if I want to play a pick-up game of soccer, shouldn't I check if my neighbor minds me trampling all over his flower beds? After all, I can always play elsewhere, or maybe do my chores instead, or mow my own lawn...

Posted by: Amit Joshi on September 26, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Our policies only inspire anger, radicalism and violence in others because we are not steadfast enough.

If we were truly steadfast we would insire fear and obedience.

Posted by: Al on September 26, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

AS long as you boys want to talk about Clinton, be clear that he was a superior president to Bush in every way. In his actions toward terrorists, and in his honest confrontation with questions from froot loops like Chris the Doodlehead.

Posted by: Ace Franze on September 26, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Also Clinton didn't even know about Al-Qaeda when he was inaugurated even though Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda was very well known.

Link

"MYTH: President Clinton Said No One Knew Of Al Qaeda In 1993:

Former President Bill Clinton: "[No one] even knew Al Qaeda was a growing concern in October of '93." (Fox News' "Fox News Sunday," 9/24/06)

FACT: Osama Bin Laden And Al Qaeda Were Well Known By The Time Clinton Was Inaugurated:

Richard Miniter, Author Of Losing Bin Laden: "One of the big myths about the Clinton years is that no one knew about bin Laden until Sept. 11, 2001." ("Clinton's Loss," National Review Online, 9/11/03)"

Posted by: Al on September 26, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

the whole point of Foreign Policy is to, more or less, inspire fear in others: only when it fails is the dynamic reversed. I take it Mr Kagan is here admitting failure.

"Very much like a whale" said Osric to the Prince.

Posted by: saintsimon on September 26, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you ignorant slut.

The two reports on the Cole done by the CIA were completed in December, and January 2001. What was happening at that point you miserable blob of nothingness. Terri Schiavo would probably be able to reason this out better than you.

Clinton drew up plans. The CIA gave it's final confirmation in January 2001 that Bin Laden was behind the Cole, and Bush took office that month.

Yes, I am sure as he was clearing brush all fucking month in August, he was still contemplating how to respond to the Cole, as he was ignoring the August 6 PDF.

Yes, it is Bill Clinton's penis fault that George Bush did nothing about the Cole at all. In fact, the report was hiding underneath Clinton's ball sack and that is why Bush couldn't read it. Bill Clinton MADE Bush do nothing all year.

Posted by: trifecta on September 26, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Al is a little reading challenged.

This morning, in the Fox-owned New York Post, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reacts angrily to President Clintons criticisms of how the Bush administration approached the terrorist threat during their first eight months in office. (The Post headlines the article Rice Boils Over Bubba) An excerpt:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Bill Clinton of making flatly false claims that the Bush administration didnt lift a finger to stop terrorism before the 9/11 attacks.

What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years, Rice added.

The 9/11 Commission Report contradicts Rices claims. On December 4, 1998, for example, the Clinton administration received a Presidents Daily Brief entitled Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks. Heres how the Clinton administration reacted, according to the 9/11 Commission report:

The same day, [Counterterrorism Czar Richard] Clarke convened a meeting of his CSG [Counterterrorism Security Group] to discuss both the hijacking concern and the antiaircraft missile threat. To address the hijacking warning, the group agreed that New York airports should go to maximum security starting that weekend. They agreed to boost security at other East coast airports. The CIA agreed to distribute versions of the report to the FBI and FAA to pass to the New York Police Department and the airlines. The FAA issued a security directive on December 8, with specific requirements for more intensive air carrier screening of passengers and more oversight of the screening process, at all three New York area airports. [pg. 128-30]

On August 6, 2001, the Bush administration received a Presidents Daily Brief entitled Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S. Heres how the Bush administration reacted, according to the 9/11 Commission report:

[President Bush] did not recall discussing the August 6 report with the Attorney General or whether Rice had done so.[p. 260]

We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisers of the possibility of a threat of an al Qaeda attack in the United States. DCI Tenet visited President Bush in Crawford, Texas, on August 17 and participated in the PDB briefings of the President between August 31 (after the President had returned to Washington) and September 10. But Tenet does not recall any discussions with the President of the domestic threat during this period. [p. 262]

Rice acknowledged that the 9/11 Commission report is the authoratative source on this debate: I think this is not a very fruitful discussion. Weve been through it. The 9/11 commission has turned over every rock and we know exactly what they said.

Posted by: Al's Mommy on September 26, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Oh, so you want to go back to the Clinton way of dealing with terrorism."

Yeah -- stopping terrorist attacks, not ignoring threats, not making things worse. The horror, little Al!

Posted by: Al's Mommy on September 26, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

The Decider in Chief has made it clear that the public doesn't need to know anything about his actions, and so we should just change the subject to how Clinton made the world safe for terrorists.

Posted by: Charlie on September 26, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

So if you say something that gets me mad, then I can hit you? And if the way you think & act make me mad, I'm justified in killing you?

Hmm, I think I would love to live in your're world if I were a bully, religious zealot, homocidal maniac, ... On second thought, I think I like my world better, where what you do is you're fault and what I do is my fault. Much simpler.

Posted by: Martian on September 26, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

"it would require only light redaction"

Maybe, but you can bet that the Bush team will redact the hell out of it so as to favor the continuation of their failed policy -- just like they did with the Iraq WMD NIE.

Because they are happy to lie to us to get their way.

Posted by: Dr. Anatole Gavage-Huskanoy on September 26, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Al, you can listen to this -- it won't strain your reading comprehension:

What did Bush do?

Posted by: Al's Mommy on September 26, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Even Condi could not say more than mere 'we were at least as aggressive as Clinton'.

Would she have said it this way if she was demonstrably more or equally aggressive?

Clearly, Condi and her boss dropped the ball on terrorism.

Too bad that 30-40% of Americans are so blind in their zeal to support GWB.

Posted by: gregor on September 26, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

If we were truly steadfast we would insire fear and obedience.

Okay, I try to never comment on an "Al" post. But this made me chuckle, envisioning Al trembling before a Dominatrix.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 26, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

President George Bush sends troops to Somalia to fight the Islamofascists and Clintons cuts and run when the terrorists start fighting back.

The same dumb fucking over and over.

Cowardly fascists like you ALbot, wanted Clinton to leave. He showed courage in NOT cutting and running, as the Repukeliscum cowards wanted him to.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 26, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Repukeliscum cowards wanted Clinton out of Somalia immediately. He left in an orderly fashion, and did not cut and run.

Repukeliscum cowards wanted Clinton to stop the bombing campaign against the serbofascists. He did not, and concluded this very successful campaign in about 9 months.

Democrats run wars well. Repukeliscum run wars to pay off their buddies who are war profiteers.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 26, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Bush was too busy getting blowjobs from Jeff Gannon/Guckert to pay attention to the August 6 PDB.

Bush: "I was jealous that Clinton got so much head. It's not fair that that big fat tub of goo gets head in the White House. Us Republicans ought to be able to get some too! Besides, Clinton set the standard, so it's all his fault anyway. He can get head and bomb Bosnia and Afghanistan all at the same time. But I can only concentrate on Jeff Gannon's sweet mouth."

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 26, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

POed lib: I think "Republiscam" sounds better, don't you? Rolls off the tongue easier.

Posted by: Red on September 26, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

In her interview with the New York Post, Condoleezza Rice claims that the Clinton Administration did not develop a strategy to fight al Qaeda:

The secretary of state also sharply disputed Clintons claim that he left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy for the incoming Bush team during the presidential transition in 2001.

We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda, Rice responded during the hourlong session.

Heres what the 9/11 Commission Report has to say about it:

As the Clinton administration drew to a close, Clarke and his staff developed a policy paper of their own [which] incorporated the CIAs new ideas from the Blue Sky memo, and posed several near-term policy options. Clarke and his staff proposed a goal to roll back al Qaeda over a period of three to five years [including] covert aid to the Northern Alliance, covert aid to Uzbekistan, and renewed Predator flights in March 2001. A sentence called for military action to destroy al Qaeda command-and control targets and infrastructure and Taliban military and command assets. The paper also expressed concern about the presence of al Qaeda operatives in the United States. [p. 197]

Clarke, who also worked for the Bush administration, wrote Condoleezza Rice a memo as soon as the Bush administration took office, stating, [W]e urgently needa Principals level review of the al Qida network. His request was denied.

Posted by: Al's Mommy on September 26, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/09/who-wanted-to-cut-and-run-from-somalia.html

President Clinton's response was refreshingly aggressive because the premise of the question is so patently and outrageously false. Clinton responded: "They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in 'Black Hawk down,' and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations."

As I document in the Salon post, that defense, if anything, is a profound understatement, because it was Clinton (along with Senate Democrats like John Kerry) who wanted to stay in Somalia because a precipitous withdrawal would be panicky and weak, but it was primarily conservatives in Congress -- mostly Republican Senators and some conservative Southern Democrats -- who were demanding that American troops be withdrawn immediately, and were even threatening to cut off all funds for our troop deployment.

My analysis is set forth in the Salon post. Following are the full excerpts providing the factual support for that analysis:

GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, speech on the Senate floor October 6, 1993


I supported our original mission, which was humanitarian in nature and limited in scope. I can no longer support a continued United States presence in Somalia because the nature of the mission is now unrealistic and because the scope of our mission is now limitless. . . . Mr. President, it is no small feat for a superpower to accept setback on the world stage, but a step backward is sometimes the wisest course. I believe that withdrawal is now the more prudent option.


GOP Sen. Dirk Kempthorne, speech on the Senate floor, October 6, 1993


Mr. President, the mission is accomplished in Somalia. The humanitarian aid has been delivered to those who were starving. The mission is not nation building, which is what now is being foisted upon the American people. The United States has no interest in the civil war in Somalia and as this young soldier told me, if the Somalis are now healthy enough to be fighting us, then it is absolutely time that we go home. . . It is time for the Senate of the United States to get on with the debate, to get on with the vote, and to get the American troops home.


GOP Minority Leader Sen. Robert Dole, Senate speech, October 5, 1993


I think it is clear to say from the meeting we had earlier with--I do not know how many Members were there--45, 50 Senators and half the House of Representatives, that the administration is going to be under great pressure to bring the actions in Somalia to a close. . . .


GOP Sen. Jesse Helms, Senate floor speech October 6, 1993:


All of which means that I support the able Senator from West Virginia--who, by the way, was born in North Carolina--Senator Robert C. Byrd, and others in efforts to bring an end to this tragic situation. The United States did its best to deliver aid and assistance to the victims of chaos in Somalia as promised by George Bush last December.

But now we find ourselves involved there in a brutal war, in an urban environment, with the hands of our young soldiers tied behind their backs, under the command of a cumbersome U.N. bureaucracy, and fighting Somalia because we tried to extend helping hands to the starving people of that far-off land. Mr. President, the United States has no constitutional authority, as I see it, to sacrifice U.S. soldiers to Boutros-Ghali's vision of multilateral peacemaking. Again, I share the view of Senator Byrd that the time to get out is now.


President Clinton's speech, on October 8, 1993, arguing against withdrawal


And make no mistake about it, if we were to leave Somalia tomorrow, other nations would leave, too. Chaos would resume, the relief effort would stop and starvation soon would return. That knowledge has led us to continue our mission. . . .

If we leave them now, those embers will reignite into flames and people will die again. If we stay a short while longer and do the right things, we've got a reasonable chance of cooling off the embers and getting other firefighters to take our place. . .

So, now, we face a choice. Do we leave when the job gets tough or when the job is well done? Do we invite the return of mass suffering or do we leave in a way that gives the Somalis a decent chance to survive? Recently, Gen. Colin Powell said this about our choices in Somalia: "Because things get difficult, you don't cut and run. You work the problem and try to find a correct solution." . . .

So let us finish the work we set out to do. Let us demonstrate to the world, as generations of Americans have done before us, that when Americans take on a challenge, they do the job right.


Sen. John Kerry, Senate floor speech, 10/7/93, supporting Clinton's anti-withdrawal position


But, Mr. President, I must say I have also been jarred by the reactions of many of our colleagues in the U.S. Senate and in the Congress. I am jarred by the extraordinary sense of panic that seems to be rushing through this deliberative body, and by the strident cries for a quick exit, an immediate departure notwithstanding the fact that what we are doing in Somalia does not bear any resemblance to Grenada, to Panama, to Iraq, and most importantly, to Vietnam. . . .

We must recognize that any decision that we make about Somalia is not just a decision to get our troops home. It is not just a decision about looking out for the interests of the United States. There are extraordinary ramifications attached to the choice that we make in the next days in the Congress and in this country. . . .

Mr. President, we are in a situation now where withdrawal would send the wrong signal to Aidid and his supporters. It would encourage other nations to withdraw from the U.N. effort in Somalia and no doubt would result in the total breakdown of the operation and possibly the resumption of the cycle of famine and war which brought the United States and other members of the international community to Somalia in the first place.

Rightly or wrongly, the Bush administration committed us to this operation. We, as a nation, have accepted this responsibility. We should not panic and flee when the going gets rough. If we are going to withdraw, we have an obligation to do so in a responsible manner, in a way that does not undermine the operation or leave the Somali people to a worse fate. I think the President's plan, as currently outlined, will allow us to step aside responsibly.


New York Times article, October 6, 1993, by then-reporter Thomas Friedman


As hundreds of additional United States troops with special weapons and aircraft began heading to Somalia, a wave of hostility toward the widening operation swept Congress. . . . But Mr. Aspin and Mr. Christopher were besieged by skeptical lawmakers, who scorched them with demands for a clear road map for an exit from Somalia, coupled with bitter complaints that the policy goals were unclear or unrealistic.

It is not clear whether the critics can assemble sufficient votes to pass a law requiring Mr. Clinton to stop the operation. But Congressional anxiety, already high, has been fueled by a wave of constituents' telephone calls reflecting outrage over the prospect of a new hostage crisis, and television pictures of Somali crowds dragging a dead American servicemen through the streets. . . .

Mr. Christopher said the United States wanted to withdraw its forces when possible, "but not before our job is done of providing some security."


New York Times, October 6, 1993


A wave of hostility toward the military operation in Somalia swept Congress today, forcing the White House to send two Cabinet secretaries to Capitol Hill to try to calm critics and plead for additional time to formulate a new policy.

"It's Vietnam all over again," said Senator Ernest F. Hollings, Democrat of South Carolina, who is in a group of conservatives calling for quick withdrawal from Somalia. . . .

Mr. McCain, a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War, said of Mohammed Farah Aidid, who has been blamed for attacks on United Nations peacekeepers: "We should tell Mr. Aidid that we want the Americans back. Otherwise he will pay sooner or later. Then we should come home."


As always, no matter how many times it occurs, it is truly disturbing how there seems to be no limit on the false propaganda and rank historical revisionism which can be disseminated by this administration and its followers and uncorrected by our national media.

Posted by: Al's Mommy on September 26, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

We draw ever nearer to the day when the Washington Monthly "Comments" threads bear no relation whatsoever to the blog posting to which they are attached!

Posted by: S Ra on September 26, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Are you guys are using the cutouts Al and Thomas1 to generate artificial controversy, because they often don't make sense and you have made no attempt to debunk their near continual hijacking of your posts.

Why not adopt a conversational system like reddit, where comments are rated by users, and trolls like these "guys" find themselves can not hijack the conversation.

You guys are pissing away the value of what could be a high value property in these threads.

Posted by: patience on September 26, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

What make you think Bush will declassify and release ALL of the NIE report? He'll cherry pick parts that support their positions and will offset what has been released. I agree being able to read the WHOLE THING and make one's own conclusions would be preferable...but not in line with the SHUT UP and I'll tell you what to think mantra!

Posted by: Dancer on September 26, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

To return to the point of the post:

I would be happy to have American foreign policy driven by virtually anything other than what currently drives it, which appears to be the need of this administration to compensate for its teeny-tiny penis.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on September 26, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

You can crumple up and feed the FACTS from the 911 report to the likes of "AL" and the other silly trolls (as well as CONDI) and they'll still say whatever they damn well please expecting (and, sadly being correct) that the sheeple out there will swallow it whole! Not to mix metaphors...SO, what difference will releasing the NIE report make if they just read it their way, revise and rewrite the history and the facts AND GET AWAY WITH IT!!! Don't bother to open your eyes...it won't help.

Posted by: Dancer on September 26, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Al's Mommy -
You are definately a M.I.L.F.!

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 26, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Al's Mommy.

I see your Greenwald, and raise you one Tom Maguire.

Posted by: blueheron on September 26, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Bush-41 invade Somalia and didn't Clinton inherit it? And didn't the Publicans demand withdrawal? That's how I recall it anyway, and my brother was actually in the middle of that mess. But then, I haven't been drinkin' the kool-aid, either.

Somalia was a political football from the outset, and not the Publicans finest hour, so don't come peddling that shit here.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 26, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I would worry about an American foreign policy driven only by fear of how our actions might inspire anger, radicalism and violence in others.

It just plain old liberals are aiding terrorist ploy again. Did we hear how Clinton tired to get Bin Laden? But pre-9/11 Bush even lied about swatting flys as Rice said. Jamie Gorlick as Rice direct what flys Bush swat only the hear the crickets singing in the 9/11 commission.

Bush didn't nothing in run up to 9/11, not even listen to his August 6th briefing.

And war in Iraq is misdirected, so poorly un-planned that it did inspire anger, radicalism and violence. And Bush, even now:

Bush: Assertion About Iraq Is 'Naive

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
WASHINGTON - President Bush on Tuesday said it is naive and a mistake to think that the war with Iraq has worsened terrorism, as a key portion of a national intelligence assessment by his own administration suggests. He said he was declassifying part of the report.

"Some people have guessed what's in the report and concluded that going into Iraq was a mistake. I strongly disagree," Bush said.


HUMP, Bush strongly disagree with the truth, and that's ugly thing about Bush, if the truth were big snake that bit Bush right on his ass, then he still wouldn't admit it even as he dragged the critter around with him.

Or perhaps, seeing how much oil Bush's buddies have siphoned of Iraq, without paying the Iraqi people for any of it, must seem like the heist the century to Bush.


Posted by: Cheryl on September 26, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

is Kevin going to comment on Clinton's meltdown Sunday or not?

Typically dishonest, Charlie -- since Clinton didn't have a meltown, merely called a Fox news propaganda apparat on his network's typical dishonesty, there's no meltdown for Kevin to comment on.

But Charlie's pose as a Democrat is sure slipping. ;)

Back on topic, Bush is reported to have complained that the report was leaked for "political purposes."

Of course it was! "Political purposes" may be a focus-group tested buzzword forthe Freeper crowd, but holding elected officials accountable for their incompetence is the very essence of politics.

Maybe our so-called "liberal media" might wake up to the fact.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Not only is Kagan worried about something non-existent (formulating policy based solely on expected blowback) as Kevin points out, he is also articulating a false dichotomy. Dealing with blowback is something that you plan for in addition to formulating policy. One of the big failings of the GWB admin is that they have never bothered to develop any plans to mitigate policy blowback.

Posted by: Disputo on September 26, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

AND oil Ira q brings me around to one thing, WHAT Compensation, if any, is Bush giving the Iraqi people for their oil?

I have not seen one single story in the press on exactly how Bush is manage the old Oil for Food Program? If you read Baghdad Burning then you know that the military isnt getting involved in civilian insurgence, there is no security, kids cant go to school in Iraq anymore, Iraqis wait hours in line for gasoline. Iraqis get very little electricity, no sewage, no trash pickup what is Bush doing for Iraq besides simply pumping out all their oil.

There isnt one single press story on this subject and I WANT TO KNOW WHY?

Posted by: Cheryl on September 26, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

please, folks, stop feeding the tommie troll this close to the top of the thread; wait until the topic is exhausted before poking him through his cage.

Posted by: Disputo on September 26, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Nancy Pelosi is calling for a closed session to deal with the declassified NIE. Apparently the Democrats weren't expecting this.

Posted by: clark on September 26, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

I see your Greenwald, and raise you one Tom Maguire.

...and you still come up sveral Friedmans short.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I guess it is clear now--nobody could have anticipated that Condi should have read the papers Dick Clarke left on her desk.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 26, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton Tried, Condi Lied, Americans Died

Kagan has decent credentials but deficient theory.

All he'd have to do is read Paul Kennedy's mid 1980s foriegn policy primer "The Rise and Fall of Great Powers" to realize everything he has ever written is pure drivel.

More likely he did read that book, meaning everything he's written was scandalous and disengenuous if only to support the sinister designs of a few wealthy neocon cohorts who intend to dominate our government for the purpose of turning it into their own private estate.

Posted by: Bubbles on September 26, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I guess it is clear now--nobody could have anticipated that Condi should have read the papers Dick Clarke left on her desk.

It's worth mentioning that Rice was going to give a speech that day about the threats facing the US.

Rogue nations like Iraq, yes. Terrorism, not so much.

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Didn't Bush-41 invade Somalia and didn't Clinton inherit it?"

True, up to a point.

Somalia chronology. Don't know if "invade" is the right word, considering the U.N. involvement.

Posted by: harry on September 26, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Just to note, radical Islamists are eating the nation of Somalia alive right now, and nobody's doing a damn thing about it.

Posted by: harry on September 26, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I guess it is clear now--nobody could have anticipated that Condi should have read the papers Dick Clarke left on her desk.

Richard Clarke

Start with Exhibit 1.

Posted by: rnc on September 26, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: I would be happy (well, happier, anyway) if the Bush administration showed even the tiniest inclination to think about whether their actions might inspire anger, radicalism and violence in others.

Many of us do make that calculation, but draw the opposite conclusion.

What happens when certain actions are met with harsh reprisal? As a general rule, harsh reprisal discourages those actions. E.g., the monsters who dragged James Byrd, Jr. to his death were incarcerated for life or executed. We believe that this sort of harsh punishment deters others from committed similar heinous acts.

In the same way, if people who join al Qaeda are killed or incarcerated, one would think that would discourage more people from joining.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 26, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Many of us do make that calculation, but draw the opposite conclusion.

"Us" would be "us at the RNC talking point factory," I presume.

In the same way, if people who join al Qaeda are killed or incarcerated, one would think that would discourage more people from joining.

Niche theory, "ex-liberal," but unfortunately, the NIE -- the consensus of the American intelligence community -- is that your theory has no more basis in fact than any of the other Republican bullshit you spout here. Terrorism is increasing, not decreasing under Bush's disastrous policies, you dolt.

Seriously, "ex-liberal" -- why do you bother?

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory - my apologies to you and to shortstop for mistaking her gender.

You have made the post hoc ergo propter hoc error. Terrorism increased during Clinton's Presidency, not because of Clinton's action, but because of the terrorists' actions. Similarly, war deaths increased once the allies began to fight Hitler, but in the long run, fighting back was necessary. I don't believe al Qaeda would be less powerful today, had Bush pursued a passive course.

BTW terrorism isn't increasing in the US. During Clinton's 8 years in office, there were at least 4 terrorist attacks against the US -- the USS Cole, 2 embassies, and the WTC. Bush deserves some blame for not preventing 9/11, but in the last 5 years there have been no terrorist attacks against us.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 26, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

So the Iraqis who are killing our soldiers are not terrorists?

Leave it upto a Bush supporter like ex-liberal to call the killers of our soldiers 'freedom fighters'.

Posted by: gregor on September 26, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

BTW terrorism isn't increasing in the US. During Clinton's 8 years in office, there were at least 4 terrorist attacks against the US -- the USS Cole, 2 embassies, and the WTC. Bush deserves some blame for not preventing 9/11, but in the last 5 years there have been no terrorist attacks against us.

Except, of course, for the forty to fifty attacks against us EVERY SINGLE DAY in Iraq. So you can stack Clinton's 4 attacks the 40,000 plus under Bush.

Posted by: Stefan on September 26, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK
Legitimate military targets cannot be called "terrorism".

So, you are saying the Cole attack was not terrorism?

Posted by: cmdicely on September 26, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK
but in the last 5 years there have been no terrorist attacks against us.

Aside from the anthrax attacks, the LAX attack, and the thousands of attacks on military targets in Iraq and Afghanistan that are as much "terrorist attacks against the US" as the attack on the Cole, exactly so.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 26, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

my apologies to you and to shortstop for mistaking her gender.

An apology from a serial liar like you isn't worth a bucket of piss, "ex-liberal".

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Legitimate military targets cannot be called "terrorism".

So I'm assuming that this poster doesn't consider any attacks against US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to be "terrorism," then -- which means Iraq can hardly be the "central front in the War on Terror" if there is no actual terrrorism....

Posted by: Stefan on September 26, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

More dishonest from "ex-liberal":

You have made the post hoc ergo propter hoc error.

No, I haven't. If anyone has, it's the 16-some-odd US intelligence agencies who have identified Bush's folly for what it is. Seriously, "Ex-liberal", why do you bother?

And BTW, what a serial liar like you professes to believe is also not worth a bucket of piss.

BTW terrorism isn't increasing in the US. During Clinton's 8 years in office, there were at least 4 terrorist attacks against the US -- the USS Cole, 2 embassies, and the WTC. Bush deserves some blame for not preventing 9/11, but in the last 5 years there have been no terrorist attacks against us.

Others have already pointed out how dishonest "ex-liberal" is when defining attacks "in the US". For example, the USS Cole counts for him/her/it as an attack on the US when he/she/it can blame it on Clinton, but as pointed out, the attacks in Iraq -- which include attacks against US civilians and not just military targets -- go unremarked.

Why do you bother, "ex-liberal"? It's vastly encouraging to see how bereft the Bush apologists are of legitimate arguments.

But then, considering that Chuckles is one of the a team trolls around here, it's obvious, isn't it?

Posted by: Gregory on September 26, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Chris, according to the Geneva Conventions (specifically under the principles set out in the first Additional Protocol), it is only legitimate to attack targets that "make an effective contribution to military action" and whose destruction or capture "offers a definite military advantage" -- I think a billion dollar warship qualifies --

By that definition, then, the attack on the Cole was not terrorism -- and Republican attacks on President Clinton for supposedly failing to respond to this act of "terrorism" are unjustified because it was not actually terrorism.

Posted by: Stefan on September 26, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

BTW terrorism isn't increasing in the US. During Clinton's 8 years in office, there were at least 4 terrorist attacks against the US -- the USS Cole, 2 embassies, and the WTC.

Hey, as long as we're counting embassy attacks, a two minute Google search turned up at least four major attacks against US embassies and consulates -- in Damascucs, Baghdad, Karachi, and Jeddah -- during Bush's term. That's twice as many as the embassy attacks under Clinton, isn't it?....

U.S. Nabs 7 in Embassy Attack
Sunday, January 30, 2005
BAGHDAD, Iraq U.S. forces on Saturday captured seven suspected insurgents believed to be behind an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that killed two Americans and wounded six.

Syrian Security Foils Attack on U.S. Embassy; Al Qaeda Group Eyed Al Qaeda-linked group takes credit for Saudi attack
At least 5 employees killed in assault on U.S. Consulate
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
DAMASCUS, Syria Three Islamic militants suspected to have Al Qaeda ties were killed Tuesday after a failed attempt to attack the U.S. Embassy with automatic rifles, hand grenades and a van rigged with explosives. A Syrian security officer was also killed, but no Americans were hurt.


Attack on U.S. Consulate in Saudi Arabia leaves several dead.
Tuesday, December 7, 2004 Posted: 6:36 AM EST (1136 GMT)
(CNN) -- A Saudi group linked to al Qaeda claimed responsibility early Tuesday for the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in which at least five employees and four attackers were killed.

Bush: 'Radical killers' behind Karachi bomb
Group warns of more attacks

June 14, 2002 Posted: 8:53 PM EDT (0053 GMT
KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- A previously unknown militant group called "Al-Qanoon" claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed 10 people Friday at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi and warned the attack was just "the beginning."

Posted by: Stefan on September 26, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Even if the terrorists limited their attacks to legitimate military targets (which they don't), it is still a central front to prevent actual terrorist attacks in the U.S.

This remains one of the silliest and most counter-intuitive talking points issued by the RNC.

Can someone please explain in precise terms how our military operations in Iraq will prevent a trained and disciplined terrorist team, assigned the job of attacking us, from attempting to carry out such an attack.

Is it because they will be drawn inexorably, as if by a great magnet, to Iraq, so as to give up a chance to attack a softer target?

Does anyone seriously believe that there aren't any "terrorist assets" out there that seek to attack us, but aren't trying to move forward because of the war in Iraq?

Posted by: Wonderin on September 26, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

harry:

I dunno about Somalia. The people there seem to consider the Islamists, who brought peace to the warlord anarchy Somalia's been for over a decade, a marked improvement -- at least in Mogadishu.

They claim they're looking forward to elections, and they've actually been telling their religious police to mellow out somewhat.

Off topic: Sorry to feed a troll, but just for the record, that YouTube link the Thomas entity posted is not me -- as should (sigh) go without saying.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 26, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Whether NeoCon Kagan likes it or not, a war against terrorism is conducted, over the long haul, by drying up the sea of sympathizers that the terrorists 'swim' in. And drying up that sea is fundamentally a battle for hearts and minds.

There's no getting around that. A decent respect for the opinions of the Arab world is our basic strategic weapon in conducting this war. Unfortunately, it seems as if we've unilaterally disarmed.

Memo to wingnuts: please note that 'decent respect for =/= 'kowtowing to.' Where the Arab street is wrong in ways that matter, it is important to say so.

But pretending that we can win the War on Terror while inflicting high levels of "collateral damage" in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon...we're only bullshitting ourselves here, even as we're shitting on them. The people you're crapping on are rarely fooled by the bullshit.

Posted by: RT on September 26, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Wonderin':

What's even scarier is that it probably works in the reverse: Having US troops draws jihadis to Iraq, who then get to hone their skills against the world's most sophisticated military, and the ones who survive (pure natural selection) can then take their new and lethal training back to their home countries -- or wherever they wish.

Flypaper may work in the *very* short term -- but then grab your ankles and get under the nearest desk.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 26, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno about Somalia. The people there seem to consider the Islamists, who brought peace to the warlord anarchy Somalia's been for over a decade, a marked improvement -- at least in Mogadishu.

Well, they said the same thing about the Taliban (who began, as you remember, as a movement against the warlords), and we know how that turned out....

Posted by: Stefan on September 26, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

Very true. It would depend if they held legitimate elections. Hopefully they'll be enough international observers ...

That info was from a NYT piece a couple days ago, expressing surprise at how moderated they seemed to be compared to what most observers expected.

But yeah -- it could always curdle. We'll see ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 26, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Having US troops draws jihadis to Iraq, who then get to hone their skills against the world's most sophisticated military, and the ones who survive (pure natural selection) can then take their new and lethal training back to their home countries -- or wherever they wish.

To some extent, this is likely to be true. The question, at least from the narrow perspective of US national security, is whether or not such veteran jihadis are capable of taking their fight to the US, which seems to be the gist of the talking point.

My guess is that only a small fraction would be; those that are educated, well-trained, multilingual, capable of moving relatively easily between cultures. Guys who could, like, sign up for and complete a series of flying lessons in an English-speaking country.

I'm actually more concerned about the type of attacker exemplified by the London bombings: homegrown and radicalized, perhaps like Ali A. Mohamed, who is (as pointed out by Larry Johnson well before 9/11) "an Egyptian-born former US Army green beret sergeant, and one of six men indicted in the U.S. for the bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998."

The majority of guys who are undoubtedly honing their skills in Iraq are unlikely to be able to carry out an attack on the US mainland, unless, of course, they manage climb on top of the fuselage of one of Saddam's fleet of deadly unmanned aerial vehicles and ride it over here, Slim Pickens-style.

Posted by: Wonderin on September 26, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Wonderin':

I'm not trying to paint a doomsday scenario. Like many of us, I also think the terrorist threat is vastly overblown.

But I'd also think that some of those same insurgents fighting the US in Iraq qualify in the ways you cite: English speaking, Westernized to an extent and comfortable in cosmopolitan environments.

And it only might take a few of them to do a helluva lot of damage. Again -- not saying this to give anybody the shivers. Only to suggest how the Flypaper Theory may very well provoke precisely the scenario it has been pitched as avoiding.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 26, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

The Rest of the Story: The NIE Reflects Previous Statements About the War on Terror

The office of intelligence director John Negroponte released a 3-1/2 page section of the April report "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States" compiled by the 16 U.S. spy agencies hours after Bush ordered it declassified.

Declassified Portions here: http://dni.gov/press_releases/Declassified_NIE_Key_Judgments.pdf

Posted by: Susan on September 26, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: amr铃声 on September 26, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK


ex-lib: During Clinton's 8 years in office, there were at least 4 terrorist attacks against the US -- the USS Cole, 2 embassies, and the WTC.

yet...

#1 killer of americans by terror from 1993 until 9-11:

timothy mcveigh..

he's dead...

osama?

not so much..

heck of a job..

again..

Posted by: mr. irony on September 27, 2006 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: the USS Cole, 2 embassies, and the WTC. Bush deserves some blame for not preventing 9/11, but in the last 5 years there have been no terrorist attacks against us.

american death toll

under clinton:

uss cole - 17
african embassies - 12
1st wtc bombing - 6

under gwb:

9-11 - 2800+
iraq and afghnistan - 2800+

conclusion:

gwb = more dead americans

and f.y.i.

more debt too....

but that's another thread...

Posted by: mr. irony on September 27, 2006 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, buckets of piss were collected in ancient Rome to be used in the tanning (of leather) process.

Posted by: Ace Franze on September 27, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Our policies only inspire anger, radicalism and violence in others because we are not steadfast enough. If we were truly steadfast, we would insire fear and obedience.

Ahhhh......the famed Green Lantern Theory!

http://yglesias.tpmcafe.com/blog/yglesias/2006/jul/10/the_green_lantern_theory_of_geopolitics

Posted by: Ed Tracey on September 27, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

of course, the Bounty was 18th century, so Victorian gents harrumphing about it is rather like Bush & Co getting upset about the Korean War ...

Posted by: firefall on September 27, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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