Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 17, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE NEW NIE....The U.S. intelligence community released a new NIE today about terrorist threats, and it turns out to say....nothing. Really. It's less than 800 words long, and basically says that al-Qaeda's operational capability is "constrained" but they still hate us and will mount an attack on the American homeland if they can. That's about it. Read it yourself if you think I'm exaggerating.

So what's the point? I'm not sure, but I have a feeling the whole thing might be nothing more than a setup for the final paragraph:

The ability to detect broader and more diverse terrorist plotting in this environment will challenge current US defensive efforts and the tools we use to detect and disrupt plots. It will also require greater understanding of how suspect activities at the local level relate to strategic threat information and how best to identify indicators of terrorist activity in the midst of legitimate interactions.

Translation: we need more surveillance capability, more data mining capability, more federal control, and expansions of the Patriot Act that lower the bar for searches and seizures. That's my guess, anyway. But maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Also worth noting: No mention anywhere of Iran as a source of terrorist threats. Pakistan is mentioned, and al-Qaeda in Iraq is mentioned, but that's about it. In other words, the main continuing threats to the American homeland come from (a) tribal areas near Afghanistan that became al-Qaeda strongholds due to our failure to prevent their retreat five years ago, and (b) AQI, which is largely a creation of the invasion of Iraq. Our war plans aren't going so well under President Bush, are they?

UPDATE: Richard Clarke says you have to understand what's missing from the report to understand what it's really saying:

The 2006 version of the National Intelligence Estimate claimed U.S. efforts had "seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa'ida and disrupted its operations."

"That's no longer the case in 2007, and you have to read between the lines to understand how we have lost ground," Clarke says.

Kevin Drum 1:27 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (104)

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Comments

Doesn't this mean that even Bush can't get the intelligence community to back him up anymore?

Posted by: theAmericanist on July 17, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

So you post an update from Richard "Twinkle Toes" Clarke about how we're less safe than from 2006. Clarke was a holdover from the Clinton era, just in case you want to know his motivations.

Fact is we're safer because President Bush has set in place the right policies to make us safer. The surge has Al Queda on the run. Tribal sheiks in Al Anbar have joined us in the fight now. The Taliban is under fire from NATO in Afghanistan. Musharraf recently wholed up a whole bunch of Islamists in the Red Mosque and bludgeoned them; he looked wobbly earlier in the year but now he's regrouped. Everywhere you look, all the old hiding places for Al Queda are drying up. All they have left are a few mountains in Waziristan, and the Paki army is rooting them out.

Repeat after me: THERE HAS BEEN NOT ONE ISLAMOFASCIST TERRORIST ATTACK ON US SOIL SINCE 911. You can only credit one man for that accomplishment: George W. Bush.

Posted by: egbert on July 17, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. intelligence community released a new NIE today about terrorist threats, and it turns out to say....nothing

Maybe the NIE says nothing, but Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has very optimistic things to say about the terrorism threat in Iraq. He just said there have been dramatic improvements in Iraq recently which justifies Bush's Surge and means the Surge has reduced the terrorism threat to America dramatically.

Link

"In his most optimistic remarks since the U.S. troop buildup began, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that parts of Iraq have undergone a "sea change" in security in recent months, and this will influence his recommendation to President Bush on how long to continue the current strategy."
"After conferring with Maj. Gen. Walter Gaskin and other commanders in this provincial capital west of Baghdad, Pace told reporters he has gathered a positive picture of the security environment not only here but also in Baghdad, where he began his Iraq visit on Monday. "

Posted by: Al on July 17, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: But maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Nope.

egbert: Repeat after me: THERE HAS BEEN NOT ONE ISLAMOFASCIST TERRORIST ATTACK ON US SOIL SINCE 911. You can only credit one man for that accomplishment: George W. Bush.

Faint praise for a magnificent leader. Remember, he's also kept bears out of my condo these past six-and-a-half years.

Posted by: shortstop on July 17, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

THERE HAS BEEN NOT ONE ISLAMOFASCIST TERRORIST ATTACK ON US SOIL SINCE 911. You can only credit one man for that accomplishment: George W. Bush. Posted by: egbert

Dunce. Who was president on 9/11? The same person who blew off a PDB titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Within US."

Posted by: DJ on July 17, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Translation: we need more surveillance capability, more data mining capability, more federal control, and expansions of the Patriot Act that lower the bar for searches and seizures.

Well, lets see. We know that terrorism is a "law enforcement" type challenge, not a military challenge. The skill sets needed are intelligence gathering and investigation. That implies surveillance, data mining, and search and seizure. The problem is that these activities, when applied against US citizens, become the ultimate slippery slope. When information on the activities of every American are captured in some giant government (or corporate) database, using this information for other "good" purposes will be virtually irresistible. So what to do?

This is a situation where there is no good answer. No matter how many safeguards Congress places on the system, not matter how much congressional oversight, no matter how rigorous the judicial review, we are faced with Franklin's choice - do we want liberty or security?

This is what we pay or elected representatives to figure out. The only problem is that most of them slept through civics class and have never read the Constitution.

aa

Posted by: aaron aardvark on July 17, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

{THERE HAS BEEN NOT ONE ISLAMOFASCIST TERRORIST ATTACK ON US SOIL SINCE 911}

THERE HAS ONLY BEEN ONE ISLAMOFASCIST TERRORIST ATTACK ON US SOIL SINCE 9/10.

We can blame only one man for that disaster: George W. Bush

Posted by: eh on July 17, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Clarke was a holdover from the Clinton era, just in case you want to know his motivations.

Clarke began working in government in 1973, when he took an unspecified civilian job at the Defense Department. So technically, he's a holdover from the Nixon administration. He also worked in the State Department under Reagan and H.W. Bush as a Deputy Assistant and then Assistant Secretary, before he joined Clinton's National Security Council. Of course, you wouldn't let that get in the way of an unfounded attack on a civil servant's credibility, all for the sin of daring to criticize the All-Powerful Leader. You're just a simian flinging feces and hoping something will stick.

Posted by: Andrew Wyatt on July 17, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

. . . will mount an attack on the American homeland if they can.

But Bush promised that as long as we kept our troops in Iraq, al Qaeda wouldn't try to attack us here, that the only thing keeping us safe was having troops in Iraq.

If that is not so, and al Qaeda is still planning attacks here (they've already "followed us" here), then there is no longer any reason to keep the troops in Iraq.

Bush's (latest) justification for staying the course in Iraq has gone up in smoke.

Posted by: anonymous on July 17, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK
....credit one man for that accomplishment: George W. Bush. eggbutt at 1:38 PM
Actually, we can credit one man, George W. Bush, for the successful attack of 9-11 in as much as he ignored all warnings about it as if it were his secret most desire to see happen

... The document was commissioned by future Vice President Cheney, future Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, future Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Bush’s brother), and future Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff Lewis Libby. .... PNAC complains that thes changes are likely to take a long time, “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor....

Posted by: Mike on July 17, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Richard "Twinkle Toes" Clarke? Wow, that's really specific. And this from a guy who calls himself egbert?

Posted by: Kenji on July 17, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Gen. Pace is so optimistic about the Surge that he's suggesting we need more of them.

Which makes me... less optimistic.

Posted by: Grumpy on July 17, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

If there is another attack people will die and be maimed. That's precisely what happens when US citizens engage their health care system. Now just tell me why the fuck I'm supposed to get so freaked out if it happens again. Hmm?

I will be angry and sorry, of course. Then I'll get the fuck on the with my life, precisely as before with no weenie fear that assholes SEEM SO COMPELLED TO SHOUT AT ME (fuck you, you immature fearmonger) is necessary to be a real American. A coward.

In all that time by far the most dangerous thing I will do is drive. What the fark do those islamofascists (aren't those our allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia?) have to do with my Ford-150? Well?

I find it hard to believe we have arrived at some many disasters because these shouting pussies can't think about being Americans for once. Jesus save us.

Posted by: paradox on July 17, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Tell the truth: Is anyone out there surprised that the Bush Administration, in which EVERY SINGLE WORD is driven by politics, has raised the specter of some amorphous "terrism" problem? We have an election coming. We will hear more and more about "terrism" from now until then. The Repukeliscum have one card to play - the WarnTerr - and they will play that to bambozell the morons who support them.

Every month, there will be more and more phantom terrism alerts. FDR said "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." The Repukeliscum say "Without fear itself, we have nothing." That's the difference between the Democrats and the Repukeliscum: the Scum are afraid of everything, the Democrats have a positive, forward-looking, pragmatic and problem-solving outlook.

Posted by: POed Lib on July 17, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

THERE HAS BEEN NOT ONE ISLAMOFASCIST TERRORIST ATTACK ON US SOIL SINCE 911.

Idiotic. 9/11 was a homerun for the terrorists and GWB's every move since has benefitted Bin Laden and Al Qaeda immensely. There is no real need for Al Qaeda to attack us directly again. Since 9/11 we have weakened our military, destroyed global cooperation, bankrupted our treasury, damaged our democracy. It could not have gone better for Al Qaeda if they had enlisted Georgie personally.

You got this right.
You can only credit one man for that accomplishment: George W. Bush.

Posted by: ckelly on July 17, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

If they're able to shell the Green Zone in Baghdad with mortars, with impunity, unanswered, then we're in deep doo doo.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 17, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

A reading from the Letter of Karl to the Philistines:

"Verily I say unto you:"

"Al Qaeda is weak yet it is strong. Its membership declines yet it forever grows. How this can be is a great mystery, for we are always defeating it yet it forever threatens to overwhelm us. Yet God has provided that we pay for the sins of our Democrats with precious liberties in order to keep it at bay. Not a sparrow falls that the NSA does not know about it.

The progressive pharisees make a great show of reason in public, making lengthy arguments about intelligent ways to handle threats. Yet consider the lilies of the field; they neither think nor do they toil, yet Homeland Security provides for their safety. Be sober and alert, for Al Qaeda goes about as a roaring lion seeking to devour you. No one can penetrate the ways of the Bush administration, and all is foolishness compared to their wisdom. Now we see through a glass darkly, but one day we will understand everything in the twinkling of an eye, and all the mysteries of Bush's plan will be made plain."

Posted by: eh on July 17, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

THERE HAS BEEN NO PROGRESS IN EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE OR THE ENVIRONMENT. You can only credit one man for that accomplishment: George W. Bush.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on July 17, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Pardon me while I roll my eyes in disgust.

This country is free from tyranny, war, strife and terror because George W Bush has ignored liberals and their whining and their cajoling and he has taken his own counsel. He has waged war on the infidels and he has slaughtered tens of thousands of them.

Tens of thousands of them! Dead! And they are free to keep on dying. You are safe and sound and you are spewing ridiculous, deranged screeds about things you don't understand. Modern war is irregular, dirty and meant to be kept under wraps. We are winning as we surge more troops into the battlespace. We are forcing the enemy to either contest large tracts of territory or suffer horrendous casualties. It is not a cure-all or an east fix--you were told years ago that it was going to be a "long hard slog" and that's all you need to know.

For instance, the National Intelligence ESTIMATE has been wrong many times in the past. How do any of you know that the current NIE was not written in such a way as to perform the age-old trick of CYA as in "cover your assets" and is not merely a political document written by some deranged hack who cannot cut it in the modern world?

These things get farmed out you know, so that the people who are doing the real work in the intelligence community can stay on the ramparts and continue defending us.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on July 17, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a myth, mostly.

But carry on, by all means. A few years from now all the suckers in the media can say, again, but everybody thought there was an al-Qaeda in Iraq. Stupid, lying, or lazy? You decide.

Posted by: frederick on July 17, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert,

"Wholed" up???

Posted by: Needles on July 17, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Al Qaeda has reconstituted its ability to cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring!

Posted by: The Knights Who Say "NIE" on July 17, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, the dead-end brain-dead Repukeliscum are here, telling us that George W. Bush and Jesus are the same. Talk about morons, and you're talking about Repukeliscum.

Posted by: POed Lib on July 17, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Pardon me while I throw up in my mouth a little.

This country is free from war, strife, and terror, because dishonest shills like yourself freely re-define simple words in order to prop up your daddy-figure, to satisfy your obsessive-compulsive need to live under authoritarian rule, most likely due to a run of bedwetting into your mid-teens.

Modern war is irregular and dirty, because archaic war was regular and clean? - and meant to be kept under wraps - because - um, you say so? Because you're uncomfortable with your daddy-figure's authority being questioned? You're uncomfortable having used meaningless buzz-words like "surge" and "battlespace", knowing that you have absolutely know clue what they actually mean, and no real competence, authority, or real world experience to use them, but using them makes you feel like a real military man, so you can't resist? We are forcing the enemy to contest large tracts of territory? How about the fact that we can't even secure the fucking GREEN ZONE, despite the fact that we not only have concentrated our troops in that region, we've added more, in total to the theater?

Do you know what territory WE are conceding? How about a $12 Billion monthly run-rate? You smugly see that DJIA go up to 14,000 points, but you don't realize that with the massive borrowing that is going on, that's the value of the greenback dropping into the toilet, as Bush prints more and more for Cheney's golf buddies. Of course the number is going up. Osama bin Laden's degree was in economics. This is economic warfare. Osama stated so, quite plainly, in 1998, that this was his intention. And Bush fell for it hook-line-and sinker. Not necessarily because he's an idiot, but because he's an arrogant, narrow minded, selfish, self-righteous sock-puppet, quite unworthy of respect of anyone other than drooling, goose-stepping boot lickers like Norman Rogers.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 17, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

THERE HAS BEEN NOT A SINGLE ATTACK BY MARTIAN SUBMARINES SINCE 2000. THE SAME VIGILANCE KEEPING ISLAMIC RADICALS AWAY FROM THE US HAS ALSO SAVED US FROM INTERSTELLAR SUBMARINE WARRIORS.

Yup, it's the same crap over and over. The plain fact is that 9/11 was a very successful lone raid. There is no conspiracy out there. Today, no Americans are at risk, unless they are in Iraq.

Any attack between now and Nov 2008 will be performed and orchestrated by Karl Rove.

Posted by: POed Lib on July 17, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Repeat after me: THERE HAS BEEN NOT ONE ISLAMOFASCIST TERRORIST ATTACK ON US SOIL SINCE 911. You can only credit one man for that accomplishment: George W. Bush.

On your knees, Boy.

There was no attack by Islamic extremists from February 2003 to September 11, 2001. Eight and a half years. Obviously, there is only one man to give the credit for keeping us safe...

Bill Clinton.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 17, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

The ‘Just-Released’ NIE = Failed Report Card on Bush’s Policies

Normal, mentally fit, decent leaders would be mortified by this report and realize it’s an indictment of their administration’s failed policies.

After six years, BushCo hasn’t lost its ability or will to try to spin negatives into positives. To release this NIE as an exhibit in BushCo’s latest campaign to thwart efforts to change course and bring the troops out of Iraq, when it’s the best evidence of how the U.S. occupation of Iraq is making worldwide terrorism worse, is no question about it, brass without equal.

BushCo has been given a blank check to do anything and everything it wanted to do to wage a “war on terror” (and what Bush-Cheney weren’t given, they just took). We’re back to 9/10/01. Trillions of dollars spent and committed long into the future, money which was supposed to go towards making us safer, but actually went into BushCo’s pockets (their friends’ and patrons’ corporations) through privatization schemes. Our Constitutional rights, protections and guarantees are in shreds, and we’re bigger targets, more exposed and vulnerable, and hated by many more throughout the world.

But is that what Bush-Cheney-Rove and the Republicans who are still firmly behind them see when they read this NIE? Is their response, “My bad, we blew it, let’s change direction”? No. Their plan is “More of the same,” more war (Iran), more legislation (they’re now trying to tie their immigration reform legislation as “necessary to fight the war on terror”), “…and put a little hustle in it.”

Posted by: Maeven on July 17, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

This country is free from war, strife, and terror, because dishonest shills like yourself freely re-define simple words in order to prop up your daddy-figure, to satisfy your obsessive-compulsive need to live under authoritarian rule, most likely due to a run of bedwetting into your mid-teens.

Thank you for your concern, but the interesting thing is that I never, ever wet the bed. I am told by my Mother that they were usually amazed to find me curled up in the corner of the room, sleeping near a pile of books and a flashlight with dead batteries, completely dry. This was when I was four or five years old. Mother even claimed in her autobiography that I never had a leaky diaper (cloth, in those days, of course) nor did I ever projectile vomit.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on July 17, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

There was no attack by Islamic extremists from February 2003 to September 11, 2001. Eight and a half years. Obviously, there is only one man to give the credit for keeping us safe...

You need a hormone shot for your night sweats.

We were ATTACKED at Khobar Towers. We were ATTACKED in Yemen. I believe you said "Islamic Extremists" and I believe these things happened while Bill Clinton was fumbling for traction to keep from falling off of a fat girl.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on July 17, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Normie sez:

Mother even claimed in her autobiography that I never had a leaky diaper (cloth, in those days, of course) nor did I ever projectile vomit.

More of a carrier for those things, I suppose.

Posted by: just sayin on July 17, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

I note, Norman, that you make no comment about whether your head ever spun around 360 degrees.

As some anonymous Israeli security officer is reputed to have once said: "No comment is a comment."

Posted by: kenga on July 17, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

ON US SOIL

Pardon me, oh obstreperous one, for failing to include that bit in my response to the fuzzy little yella fella.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 17, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

You need a hormone shot for your night sweats.

Just what I need...More Estrogen!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 17, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

..I am told by my Mother that they were usually amazed to find me curled up in the corner of the room, sleeping near a pile of books and a flashlight with dead batteries, completely dry. This was when I was four or five years old....
Posted by: Norman Rogers on July 17, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Normie; you can't burn books with a flashlight and a magnifying glass. But I'll cut you some slack, as you were four or five.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 17, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

ON US SOIL

Oh, so that would mean THE US EMBASSIES in Africa, then. Those are considered "US Soil." They were ATTACKED when Billy Boy was playing hide the baloney roll with chunky butt. What say you to my devastating attack?

Bwah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

[Interesting postscript--I knew you were going to do that. I have studied your kung fu and I now know how to defeat you! I lured you into the spider's web and now you are trapped. No amount of hormone shots can save you now.]

Posted by: Norman Rogers on July 17, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Norman: I am told by my Mother that they were usually amazed to find me ...

Normie's not remembering it quite right. What I said, dear, was "We were usually dismayed to find you after trying so hard to lose you."

Posted by: Normie's mom on July 17, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who doesn't understand how mhr sufficiently annoys, yet egbert doesn't?

Posted by: junebug on July 17, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

What I said, dear, was "We were usually dismayed to find you after trying so hard to lose you."

Har-de-har har har.

How do you think it makes me feel to see my dead mother parodied by liberals? Don't you realize just how traumatic that is for me? Is nothing sacred? Is there no limit to what you will do to score one measley rhetorical point?

I am an old man, battling truth the best way I know how. I am here to teach you how to understand exactly why liberalism is wrong. I know there are hundreds of lurkers out there who are reading my words and have sympathy for me. I am a man who lost his mother.

And you liberals mock me for that? Just so you can take a few easy cheap shots? Just so you can get in your digs? How do you think I feel about having to read these things?

Never mind that I think you're all morons.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on July 17, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Norman: "I am an old man, battling truth the best way I know how."

The problem for you is that truth will win.
.

Posted by: junebug on July 17, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Pardon me if I just ignore the NeoConNazi shills above and point out that a few prominent American statesmen (including Rep. Ron Paul recently) are suggesting a MUCH larger ruse in the making here. And I, for one, believe they accurately perceive the writing on the wall. The genuine threat to "American security" resides squarely in the White House!:

"Impeach Now, Or Face the End of Constitutional Democracy"
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS [Information Clearing House]
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18020.htm

' Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran.

' Bush has put in place all the necessary measures for dictatorship in the form of "executive orders" that are triggered whenever Bush declares a national emergency. Recent statements by Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, former Republican senator Rick Santorum and others suggest that Americans might expect a series of staged, or false flag, "terrorist" events in the near future. ...

' If the Bush administration wants to continue its wars in the Middle East and to entrench the "unitary executive" at home, it will have to conduct some false flag operations that will both frighten and anger the American people and make them accept Bush's declaration of "national emergency" and the return of the draft. Alternatively, the administration could simply allow any real terrorist plot to proceed without hindrance.

' A series of staged or permitted attacks would be spun by the captive media as a vindication of the neoconsevatives' Islamophobic policy ...'..

' Think about it. If another 9/11-type "security failure" were not in the works, why would Homeland Security czar Chertoff go to the trouble of convincing the Chicago Tribune that Americans have become complacent about terrorist threats and that he has "a gut feeling" that America will soon be hit hard?

' Why would Republican warmonger Rick Santorum say on the Hugh Hewitt radio show that "between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public's (sic) going to have a very different view of this war."

' Throughout its existence the US government has staged incidents that the government then used in behalf of purposes that it could not otherwise have pursued. ...

' Ask yourself: Would a government that has lied us into two wars and is working to lie us into an attack on Iran shrink from staging "terrorist" attacks in order to remove opposition to its agenda? ...'

[Kevin: If you're possibly paranoiac, I'm "bloody Quadrophenic"! Of course, "a paranoiac is someone who has SOME idea what's really going on." Credit: The Who (both citations.).]

Posted by: Poilu on July 17, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

"That's no longer the case in 2007, and you have to read between the lines to understand how we have lost ground," Clarke says.

It has been a "heck-of" a Presidency.
And Mr. Bush has been doing a "heck-of" a job.

Like the name says:

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO! on July 17, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Norman is, in his own words, battling truth. May the truth win...

Never mind that I think you're all morons.
I won't.

Posted by: thersites on July 17, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

I can't decide if Norman or OBF is more on his game today. Both are hilarious. But I think the prize has to go to OBF for: "Pardon me while I throw up in my mouth a little."

junebug: Am I the only one who doesn't understand how mhr sufficiently annoys, yet egbert doesn't?

Probably not the only one. But egbert is a parody, while mhr is generally considered to be "for real." Interpret that any way you like.

Posted by: shortstop on July 17, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

October 2001. Anthrax.

Posted by: JohnF on July 17, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

THERE HAS BEEN NOT ONE ISLAMOFASCIST TERRORIST ATTACK ON US SOIL SINCE 911. You can only credit one man for that accomplishment: George W. Bush.

Osama Bin Laden and members of Al Qaeda don't commit acts of terror to kill people as their ultimate goal. It's the means toward their goal: Destroying the U.S., driving us to ruin - financial ruin, without power and influence.

Al Qaeda has gotten a lot of bang for their buck. We're just about there, depleted of our "community chest," our wealth having been privatized, in the hands of BushCo. Very few people have financial security in the U.S. since Conservatives have been in power. Fewer still have real wealth, obscene riches, and they include the Bush and Cheney families, their friends and patrons.

Al Qaeda just has to make it seem like their terror is constant, imminent.

Towards that end, Al Qaeda's objectives and Bush's objectives converge. Bush needs to squeeze the last dime out of his 8 year turn at the wheel (and keep inquiries and investigations into his administration at bay), and he can only do that by fanning the flame on our fears of terrorism.

In the last week and a half, as Republicans peel away from Bush and his failed policies (I suspect it's because they caught wind of the September-Petraeus plan to sell continued war in Iraq and expansion into Iran), we've been treated to a video with old-but-not-seen-before-images of OBL surfaces, neocons like Bill Kristol, Cliff May, Frank Gaffney, et al, fanning out across the media to whip up fear (and backbone into the base), leaked reports that Cheney has won over Rice, and this "declassified" (cherry-picked) NIE saying nothing new but repeating fear-rhetoric.

I don't know what you're seeing on the cable news channels, but it's like 9/12/01 all over again - that stock film of black-swathed and hooded members off Al Qaeda on monkey bars in Afghanistan training camps, knives in their teeth, repeated every every fifteen minutes.

The first attack on the WTC was in 1993 and the next attack on the "homeland" (ja vohl!) didn't happen for another 8 years. Bush-Cheney haven't broken the record; not by a good two years.

If you think "we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here," that really isn't working so great for Great Britain, is it?

Bush's record for truth is non-existent. He has no credibility. If you are so sure he's an honest agent, and doing the right thing, let's open up all of the records, all of those Blackberries, all of the emails, the minutes of Cheney's energy task force, and see what stands up to scrutiny. If there's nothing to hide, why all the effort to block investigation? Certainly it keeps Democrats busy and out of Bush's hair.

There really is nothing to fear but Bush, Cheney, and the politicians who are helping them block the truth, and tearing down our democracy.

Posted by: Maeven on July 17, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Is nothing sacred?

You know my motto...sacred cows make the tastiest burgers.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 17, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

leaked reports that Cheney has won over Rice, and this "declassified" (cherry-picked) NIE saying nothing new but repeating fear-rhetoric.

Thank you for making my point for me--liberals are obviously cherry-picking from the NIE. They are using sites like this and a complacent Kevin Dumbo to spread lies. Good luck with that! Most Americans don't even know what a blog is, thank the Creator.

I'm for real. I've even got my index finger pressed close to my temple--I am now touching my temple. I feel real. I am real. I am as real as anything there is.

However, Mother is still with us. I have her in a timeshare down in Miami. The ungrateful old bat wants to summer in Connecticut, but I'd rather not deal with her when I visit my ex-wife.

This has been another example of how you liberals have weak and ineffective kung fu and this has been a demonstration of my power and my ability.

You have been schooled. Cast your eyes downward, in shame.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on July 17, 2007 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

How does one effectively "cherry pick" from a mere 800 words?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 17, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

"This country is free from tyranny, war, strife and terror because..."

So, exactly what country do YOU hail from, stranger? (Obviously, it's NOT the US -- we're riddled with "tyranny, war, strife and terror", thanks to the NeoConNazis in power.) Better ask the nurse to adjust your meds ... SOON.

"I am an old man, battling truth the best way I know how."

Now THERE's an inadvertent admission if ever I saw one!

And naturally, the BEST way to "battle truth" is to lie and fabricate ad nauseum. (By George, I think he's got it!)

Posted by: Poilu on July 17, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Pardon me while I roll my eyes in disgust.

No. You're a freak.

He has waged war on the infidels and he has slaughtered tens of thousands of them. Tens of thousands of them! Dead! And they are free to keep on dying.

To keep on dying after they are dead?

Posted by: E Henry Thripshaw on July 17, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

BG: sacred cows make the tastiest burgers.

Wow! Can I steal that?

Posted by: thersites on July 17, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

I have her in a timeshare down in Miami.

But what do you do with her the other 50 weeks of the year?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 17, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Bwah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!"

Boogie, boogie, boogie! [Think "Groucho".]

Posted by: Poilu on July 17, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm for real. I've even got my index finger pressed close to my temple--I am now touching my temple. I feel real. I am real. I am as real as anything there is.
Posted by: Norman Rogers

And what about those other nine voices in your head? Are they real?

Posted by: DJ on July 17, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! Can I steal that?

Sure...But if it makes money, I get a cut!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 17, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

"As all Americans know, recent weeks have brought a second wave of terrorist attacks upon our country: deadly anthrax spores sent through the U.S. mail."

-- President George W. Bush, radio address, November 3, 2001

Posted by: croatoan on July 17, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm for real. I've even got my index finger pressed close to my temple ..."

Alas! if only it were poised on the trigger of a gun. {sigh} ;-)

Posted by: Poilu on July 17, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

How could this be? We're fighting them "over there" so that they do not come attack us here.

Homer www.altara.blogspot.com

Posted by: Homer Hewitt on July 17, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop;
I still believe Lieberman would have offed Gore had Gore beat Bush in 2000, and we'd still be in Iraq, and the timetable for Iran would have been pushed up.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 17, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Sacred Cows make the best burgers" a book written by Robert Kriegel and David Brandt. C 1996, ISBN 0-446-67260-2

Posted by: POed Lib on July 17, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Clarke was a holdover from the Clinton era, just in case you want to know his motivations.

actually, a holdover from the Reagan administration. but, admittedly, reagan was not the godhead, so cult members can't trust him.

Posted by: benjoya on July 17, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Sacred Cows make the best burgers" a book written by...

Spoilsport. ;)

Posted by: thersites on July 17, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well damn. Honestly though, I have been saying that since I was a teenager, and can produce a high-school year book to prove it...

If I were litigious (other than when the fate of the nation hangs in the balance) I would sue, since that book is only ten years old.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 17, 2007 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, don't worry. As I understand it, titles can't be copyrighted, only content. You're safe. Just don't expecty any royalties from me. ;-)

Posted by: thersites on July 17, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

OBF: shortstop; I still believe Lieberman would have offed Gore had Gore beat Bush in 2000, and we'd still be in Iraq, and the timetable for Iran would have been pushed up.

I know. And I still think you're talkin' crazy. But I love you anyway for all your other contributions here.

Posted by: shortstop on July 17, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well, remember that good artists borrow, great artists steal. There are no new ideas, just new packages for old ones. Or, as a famous psychologist that you never heard of said, "Science progresses by giving new names to old things."

Posted by: POed Lib on July 17, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

This report is pathetic. The first five pages of it's seven page length describe how the report was produced and the content amounts to a big zero.

It's clear from this report that Bush has now effectively swept away all of the objective voices in the intelligence community, like Richard Clarke, and all you have left is a partisan, sycophantic group of paper-pushers who support George W. Bush's myth that a bunch of ragtag fanatics with boxcutters represent as grave a threat to this nation as did the Soviet Union. Hogwash.

For the egberts of the world, who always use the simple-minded line about "Well, al-Qaeda hasn't attacked the U.S. in the six years since 9-11", as some sort of measure of Bush's leadership, I respond -

Al-Qaeda didn't attack the United States in the six years before 9-11, either. Asshole.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 17, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Clarke was a holdover from the Clinton era, just in case you want to know his motivations.

You know, I know egbert is a parody, but this shit really pisses me off, because when they say that, they imply that everyone has an agenda and that is all that matters.

Newsflash...some of us don't. Some of us actually put service to the country and all of the people who comprise the citizenry, no matter their politics first and foremost.

Perhaps your agenda is to slavishly serve a party. Mine is not. I did not ask the politics of a patient in the trauma bay, I did my job as part of the team to try to save the life. My husband wore the uniform and was willing to go to war for this country and die if necessary. The officers oath binds the officer to uphold the Constitution and the Honor Code. It says fuck-all about supporting and upholding the Republican party. So even for a parody, even if egbert is a closet liberal, sometimes he just goes to god-damned far.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 17, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

they imply that everyone has an agenda and that is all that matters.

You mean some people don't?

Some of us actually put service to the country and all of the people who comprise the citizenry, no matter their politics first and foremost.

Now you're just talking crazy.

Posted by: The GOP on July 17, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Odd that the first concern is whether the new NIE lays the groundwork for "more surveillance capability, more data mining capability, more federal control, and expansions of the Patriot Act that lower the bar for searches and seizures."

Weren't people here arguing that the whole jihadist terror problem was one of effective police work? Are we to assume that once we get rid of that pesky Bush-generated war in Iraq, the whole problem will sink back to something that doesn't even need those extra capabilities?

Posted by: Trashhauler on July 17, 2007 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK
This country is free from tyranny, war, strife and terror.... Norman Rogers at 2:46 PM
Bush, Worse than Watergate; while the number of innocent Iraqis killed because of Bush's invasion is appalling. At this stage of the war, Bush has slain more Iraqis than Saddam. Bush, The Number One Butcher of Baghdad!
....you liberals have weak and ineffective kung fu....Norman Rogers at 4:15 PM
Is that your Yellow Belt or are your Depends showing? Posted by: Mike on July 17, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Trahshauler,

Can you demonstrate that more data mining, surveillance, etc. constitutes "effective police work" as opposed to harrassment of anyone who questions the current regime at all? After all, even without the extra police powers, there was clear warning that something like 9/11 was going to happen. The problem wasn't with the intelligence-gathering; it was because of a a management problem (to put it mildly) that the results of effective police work were dismissed with "you've covered your ass."

Posted by: thersites on July 17, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Al-Qaeda didn't attack the United States in the six years before 9-11, either."
__________________

Correct, if limited to attacks in the United States. Al Qaeda did repeatedly attack US military personnel and US facilities overseas. Not that many here cared back then, much less advocated doing anything about it.

Posted by: Trashhauler on July 17, 2007 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

trashhauler: Odd that the first concern is whether the new NIE lays the groundwork for "more surveillance capability, more data mining capability, more federal control, and expansions of the Patriot Act that lower the bar for searches and seizures."

Given that we know this administration has violated the law and the Constitution, scoffed at the generous leeway provided them by FISA, lied about the extent of spying on the citizenry and defied any suggestion that civil liberties should not be tossed overboard in the name of a false security--well, no, it's not odd at all.

The actual scope of the terrorist threat is very much under debate. The extent of the successful assault on American laws and civil liberties by Bushco is not--except, of course, that we don't know yet how far it's actually gone. Perhaps someday we will.

Weren't people here arguing that the whole jihadist terror problem was one of effective police work? Are we to assume that once we get rid of that pesky Bush-generated war in Iraq, the whole problem will sink back to something that doesn't even need those extra capabilities?

Are we to assume that you believe those "extra capabilities" should be extralegal, extra-Constitutional and extra-civil libertarian?

Assuming that you're arguing in good faith is a mug's game.

Posted by: shortstop on July 17, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

thersites asked:

"Can you demonstrate that more data mining, surveillance, etc. constitutes "effective police work" as opposed to harrassment of anyone who questions the current regime at all? After all, even without the extra police powers, there was clear warning that something like 9/11 was going to happen."
____________________

I can't, no. I'm not an expert in policing and even less so in intelligence. I'm just asking how far down the scale of activity are we expected to go after we get out of Iraq. I thought the idea was to be able to prevent another attack, not just have clear warning that "something" might happen. Or is this another of those ex post facto, if-but-for-the-incompetence-of-Republicans all would have been well sorta argument?

I can ask the other side of your question, thersites and it is just as fair: Once the Republicans are banished forever from power, can you demonstrate that we'll have no need for those capabilities?

Posted by: Trashhauler on July 17, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Trahshauler,
I'm no expert on police work either, but in crime prevention there are probably two parts:
1 - knowledge of what might happen
2 - acting on this knowledge.
Bush and his buddies clearly dropped the ball on #2. Would a Gore administration have done a better job? I'm not foolish, or partisan enough, to say "yes of course," but I suspect the PDB would have gotten more of a response response than "Okay you've covered your ass." And I'm pretty sure that (unless Lieberman would have offed him, like OBF says) a Gore administration would have gone more aggressively after those that actually attacked us, instead of plunging into this wild misadventure in Iraq which has yielded nothing but recruiting posters for al Quaeda?

Nobody's foolish enough to claim that the threat of terrorism will vanish when the Repubs leave power, or when US troops leave Iraq. But the question is, will these "extra capabilities" help against any real threats in the future? Would they have helped in the past? I don't think so.

Posted by: thersites on July 17, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just asking how far down the scale of activity are we expected to go after we get out of Iraq.

0. No attacks. The entire "imminent attack" thing is simply crying wolf. Americans in the US are in no danger, regardless of where they live. The entire "war-n-terrr" is just a big Repukeliscum election ploy.

I refuse to cower cravenly in my basement, chanting "Save me, O Holy George." That is reserved for the fucking morons who today call themselves Repukeliscum. The entire Repukeliscum party is a bunch of cowards who crap in their bloomers if someone coughs unexpectedly.

Posted by: POed Lib on July 17, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I refuse to cower cravenly in my basement

Ah, come on over to our basement, dude! Normie saved you a spot on the couch, and egbert's ordering pizza!

Posted by: thersites on July 17, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Once the Republicans are banished forever from power, can you demonstrate that we'll have no need for those capabilities?"

According to every article I've read, we didn't need such capabilities to stop 9/11. We already had all of the data we needed. What we lacked was the will and the focus at the top.

And I've not seen any evidence thus far that the new capabilities have generated anything but numerous false hits that require endless legwork to track down and debunk.

And I've not seen any evidence thus far that the various additional (and, for the most part, laughably inept) plots here in the U.S. were identified and stopped because of these new capabilities.

There's an additional factor and that is that the Bush administration is asserting that it is above the law rather than working within the law. If it truly believed these tactics are effective and necessary, it should have had no problem reporting this to Congress and getting the law modified to support such needs. It did not do so.

Show me the evidence and I'll take you seriously. Absent such evidence and I'd prefer to have the Bush administration stay within the law and within the Constitution, thanks. And if that puts me at a slightly greater risk than without such tactics, I can live with that. I'm still at far greater risk each day on the road to and from work.

[Insert Benjamin Franklin quote here.]

Posted by: PaulB on July 17, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

The bottom line is that you can never be completely and totally safe. And every argument you can make to take away just a little of our rights can be used to take away just a little more of our rights. Where do you stop?

If I let myself get stampeded into a state of paranoia where I'm imagining "terrorists" on every street corner, in every subway car, in every airplane flight, in every taxi; if I imagine vast conspiracies and plots directed at me from every corner of the world; if I imagine that the very existence of this country or the very future of the world is at stake; and if I let myself vote accordingly, I'm letting the terrorists win.

Personally, I'd rather say "the hell with 'em" and get on with my life.

Posted by: PaulB on July 17, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

For those keeping score at home this year's traffic fatalities, only counting the United States, will outstrip worldwide terrorist deaths. Wait, sorry, that's will outstrip worldwide terrorist deaths over the last four decades.

Terrorism is not a problem that dwarfs the rest of our problems. It isn't even a drop in the bucket. Increasing the power of the police state will not make us safer from terror. Removing those who terrorize us from power will. And what group is foremost in terrorizing Americans? The Republican Party by selling terrorism as the #1 threat to our way of life.

A full police state with everyone under observation by the state and with everyone informing on the slightest deviation from the norm will nearly eliminate terrorist attacks. On the other hand, confiscating every single automobile will save more lives. Neither of these makes a lick of sense. Then again, spending more than $2 Billion a week to foment terror in foreign lands doesn't make much sense either.

Oh, and for those who want to count attacks on military targets or embassies as "attacks on US soil," then you are pretty much SOL. If you count them under Clinton then you must count them under Bush and now you have to declare that no soldier in Iraq counts as a victim of a terrorist attack and you are stuck demonstrating that there were fewer deaths and that they were further apart under Clinton. Sorry partisan jokers.

Posted by: heavy on July 17, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Every single "plot" discovered by Bush's Ever-Ready Trusty Terrism Scouts has been laughably incompetent. How 'bout them Lackawanna Six? They went to Osama bin Laden summer camp, and came home and made phone calls. Wow!! DANGEROUS. The rest of the plots are similarily preposterous, dangerous only to a repukeliscum idiot.

Posted by: POed Lib on July 17, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

You know it, POed Lib!

Just remember - half of all the terrorists Bush fears are below average...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 17, 2007 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Here is some news that has me stoked -

We are paying Pakistan to shelter Osama bin Laden!

Woo-hoo!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 17, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and for those who want to count attacks on military targets or embassies as "attacks on US soil," then you are pretty much SOL. If you count them under Clinton then you must count them under Bush and now you have to declare that no soldier in Iraq counts as a victim of a terrorist attack and you are stuck demonstrating that there were fewer deaths and that they were further apart under Clinton. Sorry partisan jokers.
______________________

Well, actually, I made the point about the earlier OCONUS Al Qaeda attacks and it was simply a clarification, not an argument. Historically, most people haven't cared about terrorism, for a very good reason. As is so often stated here, the odds are heavily in their favor that they'll never suffer from such an attack. Like piracy, the tactic of terrorism alone doesn't threaten our way of life, nor our safety.

Truthfully, the world can live with an occasional senseless massacre or gruesome beheading. It's the combination of terrorism with an inimical, organized ideology that makes jihadism something to be worried about. An Administration must act when the combination of ideology and ability to act threatens something we deem as vital, or at least important, to our national interest.

The Clinton Administration deemed the threat to be worthy of action, though none of the actions taken did much in the end to stop jihadism. The actions taken by the Bush Administration will almost certainly not stop jihadism, either. However, the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have the changed the Middle East in ways that the Clinton Administration actions never could.

It is the stated belief of most here that those changes are uniformly negative and that the best thing to do is give up Iraq, at least, as a bad mistake. However, it's quite probable that we cannot return to the status quo ante. It is the ideology of Al Qaeda that threatens our national interest, not their current or past use of terrorism. That threat will remain, even if we try to pull back into the shell of fortress America, because our interests overseas remain vital to us.

It is quite possible to have disagreed with invading Iraq, yet realize that allowing Iraq to fail now would also be a mistake. I suspect that's why the Democratic leadership seems so hesitant about ending the war. They know that simply abandoning the Middle East is not an option and that Iraq as a failed state would be a real setback to our interests. They're trying to have it both ways right now, blaming Bush and yet basically acknowledging that we must deal with the situation as it exists, not as we wish it existed.

In the end, the only truly meaningless position is one which demands that we "bring our troops home." Even if we pull most of our troops out of Iraq, we're not coming home. There is too much at stake to do that, no matter who becomes President.

Posted by: trashhauler on July 17, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

"It's the combination of terrorism with an inimical, organized ideology that makes jihadism something to be worried about."

Out of curiosity, just when is it that terrorism has not been combined with "an inimical, organized ideology?"

"An Administration must act when the combination of ideology and ability to act threatens something we deem as vital, or at least important, to our national interest."

And that would be, what, exactly?

"The actions taken by the Bush Administration will almost certainly not stop jihadism, either."

There's no "almost" about it. Rather, the reverse is true; it's gotten worse under his watch and as a direct result of his actions (and inactions).

"However, the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have the changed the Middle East in ways that the Clinton Administration actions never could."

That is not a point in Bush's favor. Destruction is easy.

"It is the stated belief of most here that those changes are uniformly negative"

Based on all of the available evidence, yes. You have yet to present any evidence to the contrary.

"and that the best thing to do is give up Iraq, at least, as a bad mistake."

Certainly we cannot do what the Bush administration wanted to do. "Stay the course" is not working; some kind of change is required.

"However, it's quite probable that we cannot return to the status quo ante."

No shit, Sherlock. We've driven off the cliff and the car has crashed.

"It is the ideology of Al Qaeda that threatens our national interest,"

Really? And what interest is that, exactly? And in just what way is that "interest" "threatened?"

"That threat will remain"

Will it? And your evidence for this is, what, exactly? Personally, I think the sentence should read: "That threat will remain ... marginal, at best."

"It is quite possible to have disagreed with invading Iraq, yet realize that allowing Iraq to fail now would also be a mistake."

What you fail to grasp is that the choice is no longer ours to make. There is no "allow" here; our endeavor will fail, has already failed. The sooner you recognize this, the sooner we can have a serious discussion about what to do next. We have no good choices; we are seeking the least bad choice.

"I suspect that's why the Democratic leadership seems so hesitant about ending the war."

See above. They know damn well there are no good choices. And they also know damn well that people like you will blame them for whatever happens in Iraq, even though they had little to do with driving off the cliff.

"They know that simply abandoning the Middle East is not an option"

Few have called for such a thing. I doubt anyone here has. A reevaluation of our role there? Hell, yes.

"and that Iraq as a failed state would be a real setback to our interests."

Iraq is already a failed state. It's foolish and counter-productive to pretend otherwise.

"In the end, the only truly meaningless position is one which demands that we 'bring our troops home.' Even if we pull most of our troops out of Iraq, we're not coming home."

We don't have a choice. Not only are we doing harm in Iraq, we are also destroying our military. We simply cannot sustain this.

"There is too much at stake to do that, no matter who becomes President."

Sorry, but whoever becomes president will have to deal with reality, not fantasy.

Posted by: PaulB on July 17, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler, why don't you just admit that you're looking for "stay the course," both here at home and in Iraq. And that you're doing so on a platform of fear, wholly unsupported by any real evidence or rationality.

Posted by: PaulB on July 17, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

"[W]hoever becomes president will have to deal with reality, not fantasy."
____________________

Agreed, Paul. Reality. Which means that any "reevaluation of our role" in the Middle East cannot be based on the fear that whatever we do will inevitably make things worse, hopeless, and ruinous. That's convenient as a way to beat up on political opponents. It is not a way to run a foreign policy. That's why you are out of step even with your own political leaders.

Posted by: trashhauler on July 18, 2007 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Damn you PaulB, you've left me no points with which to beat trashhauler over the head. All that's left is to agree with your fundamental thesis that trashhauler, like all of the apologists for the bludering Bush babies, provides no evidence to support his arguments and neglects the elephant in the room - Iraq is a failed state and is only so because George W. Bush's highly inept and highly counterproductive war has made it one.

Wait, I do see one thing that you didn't address. trashhauler's damning with faint praise concerning the Clinton administration. That Clinton didn't stop terrorism based on Islam is true, but he made it a serious priority and did nothing to exacerbate the issue. The opposite can, and indeed must, be said of Bush.

Oh, and Clinton's actions were taken in spite of the Republicans wasting a hundred million dollars and thousands of FBI agents' valuable time trying to spite Clinton. Indeed the culpability of the Republican Party in 9/11 goes far deeper than Bush's AG moving terrorism off the list of top priorities or the August 6 PDB.

Posted by: heavy on July 18, 2007 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

My god, what a monumentally stupid comment trashhauler. No one is saying that "whatever we do will inevitably make things worse, hopeless, and ruinous." In fact, what is being suggested is that we take a serious look at the situation and act appropriately.

Appropriately at this juncture starts with getting our soldiers out of the way of the civil war George W. Bush has unleashed. Appropriately at this time means rejecting the dead-enders who insist that we must keep arming both sides of the civil war and keep our troops in the middle. Appropriately means diplomatic relations with the neighboring nations and paying them cold, hard, cash to bring order where we cannot.

Appropriately means ensuring that every one of the progenitors of George W. Bush's war on the Iraqi people is given a fair trial and a sentence appropriate to the results.

Posted by: heavy on July 18, 2007 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

"Agreed, Paul. Reality."

Then deal with it, please, rather than the nonsense you posted above.

"Which means that any 'reevaluation of our role' in the Middle East cannot be based on the fear that whatever we do will inevitably make things worse, hopeless, and ruinous."

Nice strawman argument. I had a lot to say above, none of which translated into this comment. It's a lot easier to have the debate when you supply both sides of the argument, but ultimately unsatisfying. I'm not saying that "whatever we do will inevitably make things worse," I'm saying two things:

1. What we are doing now is making things worse and I see no sign that continuing to do these things will not continue making things worse.

2. We have no really good options ahead of us and it's foolish to think we do. We don't necessarily have to make things worse, though, unless we keep doing what we are doing.

"That's convenient as a way to beat up on political opponents. It is not a way to run a foreign policy."

LOL... Oh, the irony, considering that this is a very good description of the Bush administration's actions over the past few years.

"That's why you are out of step even with your own political leaders."

They'll come along, since I am in step with the majority of Americans. Now are you prepared to deal with what I actually wrote or do you want to keep playing silly games? You wrote a lot of crap above, not one item of which was supported by, well, anything. I called you on your crap and you responded with non sequiturs and strawman arguments. Frankly, I'm not impressed.

Posted by: PaulB on July 18, 2007 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

heavy wrote:

"All that's left is to agree with your fundamental thesis that trashhauler, like all of the apologists for the bludering Bush babies, provides no evidence to support his arguments and neglects the elephant in the room - Iraq is a failed state and is only so because George W. Bush's highly inept and highly counterproductive war has made it one."
___________________

You see, heavy, that's where folks like you and Paul go off the beam - you think that, somehow, "beating up on trashauler" is some sort of success or somehow proves your point. It doesn't. Take your best shot, I'll stand still for it. If that's what blows your skirt up, fine.

This "apologist" meme gets a bit old, though. I've served enough Administrations (seven) to know better than to hang my hat on any of them entirely. They've all been mixed bags of successes and mistakes. I plan to end my career serving an eighth and I hope I do as good a job for the last as I did for the others. As I see it, it's you folks with the Bush Derangement Syndrome who'll have a problem when he's gone, not me.

I don't post here for those who are so determined to see us beaten, they'll do or say anything, even if it makes that defeat more likely. There are plenty of reasonable people here. If anything I point out strikes a chord with them, that's enough for me.

Posted by: trashhauler on July 18, 2007 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Every time I read one of these government reports I shake my head about how lame they are. Kevin is right that it says virtually nothing. Clark is a self important fool who literally is trying to make something out of nothing. The Washington Post has a front page story trying to make something out of it. All ridiculous.

It is especially silly when this type of report and varous pundits intone about "recuiting" efforts by Al Qaeda. There is almost never any hard evidence, all conjecture. And often they ignore the obvious point that if Al Qaeda can claim a win in Iraq, as a matter of common sense it will be a great recruting tool for them.

Posted by: brian on July 18, 2007 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

"You see, heavy, that's where folks like you and Paul go off the beam - you think that, somehow, 'beating up on trashauler' is some sort of success or somehow proves your point."

Oh, garbage. As usual, you're just making shit up. You made a bunch of unsupported, and unsupportable, claims and completely failed to back them up. You got called on it. That's what happens on a political forum like this.

There's nothing even remotely new or noteworthy here, nor is it all about you, despite your evident wish. Frankly, I don't give a damn about you, other than to note whether you're an honest debater or a dishonest one. The evidence to date suggests the latter, particularly in light of this discussion, where you've been freely tossing out ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments and have yet to respond to the valid criticisms raised.

"This 'apologist' meme gets a bit old, though."

Then stop posting like one and actually defend your point of view instead of ducking and weaving like this. This entire post is just another elaborate exercise in avoidance. As I said, I'm not impressed.

"As I see it, it's you folks with the Bush Derangement Syndrome who'll have a problem when he's gone, not me."

Another ad hominem attack, and a clumsy one. And once you toss out that idiotic BDS meme, you have conclusively shown that you are not an honest debater. Yes, we'll have a problem when he's gone, since we'll be spending years, if not decades, cleaning up the fricking mess he's made of things. It is not even remotely "deranged" to point this self-evident fact out.

"I don't post here for those who are so determined to see us beaten"

And again, do you think we care why you post here? You will either post here or you won't. You'll either defend what you write or you won't. If you disappeared from this forum tomorrow, if you posted 300 posts here tomorrow, it would not affect our lives one whit. On a political forum, it's not about you, it's about what you write, how well you write it, and how well you support it. Thus far, you're failing on all three counts.

What a drama queen. I will simply end by noting that, as expected, you completely failed to support your many assertions above, completely failed to respond to the criticisms raised, and instead ducked, weaved, issued further ad hominem attacks, and did everything in your power to avoid any serious discussion, despite your avowed interest in doing so.

Posted by: PaulB on July 18, 2007 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

"And often they ignore the obvious point that if Al Qaeda can claim a win in Iraq, as a matter of common sense it will be a great recruting tool for them."

Al Qaeda has already claimed a win in Iraq. No matter what we do, they will claim a win in Iraq. Basing a foreign and military policy on what a terrorist organization will or will not claim is one of the dumbest things the Bush administration has ever done.

Posted by: PaulB on July 18, 2007 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

First off, while I agree with all PaulB has written on this topic (which is generally the case anyway) and I especially enjoyed his dissection of the intellectual incoherency of Trashhauler's position and argument for the continuation of the status quo approach and of course the continual binary choice of either that or total abandonment as supposedly the only other option available and of course pressed by those 'traitorous' Dems. However, I found that his post on July 17, 2007 at 7:01 PM was truly the only way to beat AQ and terrorism's true power which is not the actual damage they cause but the fear that it engenders. It is called "terror"ism for a reason after all. While yes the threat has increased by the ability of smaller and smaller groups to destroy even cities if they can get their hands on nuclear weapons or sufficient chemical/biological ones, guess what, the world is a risky place by its very nature and that to live in fear is not to live at all but merely to at most/best survive (after all, during most of the Cold War the planet lived knowing that within any one hour we could become a completely destroyed planet, a radioactive cinder, and we did not live in the kind of fear we've seen post 9/11/01 from a far less extreme threat of the physical survival of the species or even a nation). PaulB elequently and elegantly sums up the attitude of the America that was before the GOP/Bushco nightmare took control and the MSM and alas too many of the American citizenry simply sat by and either ignored it or worse cheered it on despite it being such a fundamental betrayal of the American Constitution and the very soul of America itself.

I also found Maeven's post on July 17, 2007 at 4:09 PM to be a particularly well summed up situation of this issue as well. The bulk of the damage to America from this war and this loss has already been done, and it will continue to play itself out for at least a generation or more thanks to the incredibly stupid, incompetent and brutal way Bush has run this war in Iraq. All that remains is trying to salvage as much of the American military as possible (because it is, the ground components anyways, so close to the actual breaking point at this very minute that there will be no choice but to withdraw some by next year or institute some sort of draft) and to try to at least channel the inevitable sectarian violence aka civil war already ongoing as well as trying to contain it enough to prevent significant/serious destabilization of the neighbouring nations (since some is inevtiable thanks to the scale of what is already occuring). The reality is what it is and the information has been out there for anyone to see if they bothered to look AND had some basic understanding of the context in which said data applies to.

This is true in terms of the realities on the ground in Iraq for all sides involved, and especially having some basic understanding of the military limitations involved not just in terms of settling the conflict itself but also in terms of how much it can do for how long and at what long term costs to both human and physical resources. In other words at least a basic understanding of how a military works including the logistical aspects and their role underpinning everything else, the wear and tear on all soldiers serving and the lengths of time with dangerously minimal time between combat tours, and especially the lack of full coverage once one is medicaled out on some disability because of that war. You think those currently serving do not talk to their old buds that were medicaled out? That they do not know what kind of horrors awaits them if they are wounded in the service of their country and the lack of support from those that put them there (while those same folks denounce anyone that raises these and other concerns regarding Iraq policy using the military and troops as a spin shield, a most truly vile and disgusting sight), who are responsible for the operations of the war and its underlying strategy, and who have so clearly thrown away any possibility of any reasonable definition of success in Iraq after the clearly efficient decapitation of the Saddam regime/government? My Gods folks the morale issues alone must make sulfuric acid look like water in terms of the corrosive effect that has on retention and selling others to take up the fight in their place.

Anyway, the Iraq war (or a similar invasion of a oil rich Arab/Muslim nation, Iraq just happening to be an especially useful case for Osama since he and Saddam were foes/antagonists, something else ignored from the public record well before the war began) was the goal of 9/11/01 by Osama bin Laden. It was exactly what he had been saying in his propaganda about America since the late 90s. About how America would invade under false security pretenses an oil rich country, dominate its resources, claim to be bringing freedom and instead chaos and thuggery as bad as when their own was doing it to them, etc. That the best way to fight America would be as defenders of Islamic lands and peoples in such a war by tying down American military forces, draining American economic resources and wearying a population into becoming more isolationist (thereby removing their influence over the govenrments of the regions to some if not all amount) by constant war where no real improvements let alone sustained success of any type occurs and more and more American military blood is spent for so little gain, if any really at all, exactly as the Iraq war has done.

This was all in the public record and yet Bushco did exactly what he wanted. If Bushco had stuck with Afghanistan and ignored Iraq AQ would have been totally shattered if not completely destroyed and the idea of such stateless networks being good for more than one (at most/best) successful major attack would seem not worth the resources. Remember, AQ was in the worst position it ever was by the end of 2002, and Tora Bora was a particularly decisive event in the recovery of AQ, which would have not likely happened if America had not been diverting troops and resources for Iraq and had started doing so six months after invading Afghanistan. Osama could not have made the same political hay out of that approach, and if Bush had actually followed through on his promises of not forgetting the Afghan people this time around and truly helping to rebuild their infrastructures both political and physical it would have really worked to discredit his and other extreme Islamic ideologies regarding America and the West.

However, that is not what happened, and things like what we see with this NIE and the way it is being treated by Bushco and those that support Bushco's position on Iraq only underscore just how much they cannot comprehend (through either inability or cowardice) just how much Bushco's entire Iraq policy from the outset was and is responsible for empowering not just Osama and AQ but also spreading virally (because it so clearly worked to such a massive degree and far more than anyone could have reasonably predicted prior) their model of successfully fighting America as is clearly the case with Iraq as a post 9/11/01 result and is increasingly likely looking to happen in Afghanistan if that is not soon reinforced by American resources. Which given how badly overstretched those forces are cannot happen without a major withdrawal from Iraq ASAP of a good third+ percent of the total troops currently serving there from what I can see. Even then it will take time and hard effort in doing something Americans tend to be poor at these days, nation building and making a government that actually works because clearly that talent has been lost by those that have governed these past six and a half years now.

Well on that rather pessimistic yet alas reality based set of observations I am calling it a night.

Posted by: Scotian on July 18, 2007 at 3:35 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and for the record, Trashhauler, the "wise old man asking penetrating questions and providing insight in order to teach callow youths to think" act only works if:

a) You're really a wise old man. Free clue: serving in seven administrations (Seven! Count them! Seven!) doesn't cut it.

b) You're really talking to callow youths who haven't thought through these issues and argued about them dozens of times already, here and elsewhere.

c) You're really asking penetrating questions and providing real insight, as compared to, say, obvious questions like, "Once the Republicans are banished forever from power, can you demonstrate that we'll have no need for those capabilities" and inanities like, "In the end, the only truly meaningless position is one which demands that we 'bring our troops home.'"

Absent the above conditions, it's a rather insulting act to play, and it makes you look like a drama queen and something of a fool. And even more so when you indulge in those ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments that have become your specialty. If we're "beating up on you," Trashhauler, it's because you painted a bright red "Kick Me" sign on your back.

Demonstrate that you've thought through these issues you are so desperate for us to think about and we might take you seriously. Failing that, you'll continue to get "beaten up," nor will your utter failure to respond to the arguments raised against you go unnoticed by the "plenty of reasonable people here."

Posted by: PaulB on July 18, 2007 at 3:55 AM | PERMALINK

"If Bushco had stuck with Afghanistan and ignored Iraq AQ would have been totally shattered if not completely destroyed and the idea of such stateless networks being good for more than one (at most/best) successful major attack would seem not worth the resources."

In general, I agree. The way I summed it up to a friend recently is, "Afghanistan demonstrated America's strength; Iraq demonstrated America's weakness."

Posted by: PaulB on July 18, 2007 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

" The way I summed it up to a friend recently is, "Afghanistan demonstrated America's strength; Iraq demonstrated America's weakness." "
Posted by: PaulB on July 18, 2007 at 3:58 AM

Yep, that sums it up succinctly indeed alas...*sigh*

Posted by: Scotian on July 18, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

"Demonstrate that you've thought through these issues you are so desperate for us to think about and we might take you seriously. Failing that, you'll continue to get "beaten up," nor will your utter failure to respond to the arguments raised against you go unnoticed by the "plenty of reasonable people here."
__________________

Thus ends the second long post in which self-appointed forum quality inspector, PaulB, excoriates my writing style, lack of logic, failure to support arguments, personality disorders, and how I part my hair. To some, it might seem that he's got quite a problem with my presence, but that's not it. There's something wrong with PaulB - if he's not putting somebody down or feigning indignation, he's an empty shell.

Most of this behavior is driven by his own ego. Old PaulB can play the old deconstruction tricks with anyone's post, making wild, unsubstantiated assertions right and left, and then have the gall to say others don't support their arguments sufficiently. He thinks that repetition of his own attacks somehow validate the truth of those attacks. He'll throw insult after insult and then laughingly sneer if he thinks he's struck the mark with someone. Which, again, given his ego, he's pleased to think he does with every post.

He's nothing but a bully and a troll, hiding under his personal bridge, waiting for the next person to attack. What credibility he has here - this person of no known accomplishment or original insight - is the same credibility smaller thugs grant to the largest of of the school yard pack. The saner people here must be generally appalled by his behavior, yet they maintain silence, lest they be thought somehow disloyal to their side. But deep down, they know that a full blown hater, like PaulB, diminishes their own arguments. This doesn't bother Paul, of course. He lives off hatred, though he's probably never done enough self-examination to realize it. Beating up people is what he does, that's his kick here. He's not a partisan of any particular belief, what he is a textbook example of an internet troll.

Posted by: Trashhauler on July 18, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

And still Trashhauler, Bush apologist extraordinare, fails to provide evidence for even a single one of his points. Why "Bush apologist?" Because no one uses the laughable "BDS" other than those who think the only reason to oppose the massive failures on both foreign policy and domestic issues is because they are somehow deranged. Anyone who uses this has, by definition, declared themselves unable to converse honestly about the Bush administration.

Come on Trashhauler, let's try again. Refute the arguments, stop relying on personal attacks. Couldn't you even bother to season your vitriol with even one fact? One argument that is not against the person? One tiny shred of evidence that you are attempting to argue in good faith?

Posted by: heavy on July 18, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler:

The big difference between you and PaulB is that he actually shows where and why you are wrong in what you say whereas you simply denounce him as wrong, a hater and suffering from a non-existent psychological disorder created/coined by a pundit named Krauthammer: Bush Derangement Syndrome. PaulB not only says that you are wrong he shows it, whereas you simply attack him on a personal basis as your "rebuttal/refutation" of his critiques. Yet you feel that you are the persecuted/wronged one, that you are the one that is in the right despite not showing your work and not showing your underlying facts upon which you base your position. A better example of projection one could not ask for, as your comments to and about PaulB fit yourself far Far FAR better than they do him.

You really do not understand do you? Or is it that you are too dishonest? Either way though you completely discredit yourself by acting in such a manner outside your fellow travelers on the road of delusion and denial. As has already been noted this is why you are not taken seriously aside from periodically showing why you are wrong so that those that read along that do not know you as well as those of us that have been around awhile are not fooled into thinking you actually have a legitimate complaint about being ignored/mistreated because of your brilliance and how none of your foes will acknowledge your greatness.

Give it up dude, you cannot win an argument within the reality based community if you are incapable of respecting the rule about how one is only entitled to one's own opinion and not one's own facts.

Posted by: Scotian on July 18, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Thus ends the second long post in which self-appointed forum quality inspector, PaulB, excoriates my writing style, lack of logic, failure to support arguments, personality disorders, and how I part my hair."

ROFL... Trashhauler, you still don't get it. You are free to write anything you want here for any reason you want. I am free to respond as I see fit. If you want to post wholly unsupported crap, ad hominem attacks, and strawman arguments, that's entirely up to you. But when you do so, you will get called on it. If not by me, then by others here.

And you still have not supported any of your assertions. None. You have instead gone out of your way to avoid the very discussion you claim you wish to have, attacking those who disagree with you. Again, that is entirely your prerogative, but the only person you're fooling with posts like these is yourself.

"To some, it might seem that he's got quite a problem with my presence, but that's not it."

LOL... Nope; I have a problem with stupidity and with people who claim they wish to have a serious discussion and then do everything in their power to avoid such a discussion.

"There's something wrong with PaulB - if he's not putting somebody down or feigning indignation, he's an empty shell."

ROFL... Whatever. I'll take this assertion just as seriously as I do your others.

"Most of this behavior is driven by his own ego."

Really? As compared to someone who has "served seven (count them, seven!) administrations," Trashhauler? And who takes offense when his slightest word is questioned? And who lashes out in wounded pride and in his best drama queen manner? Tell me, Trashhauler, whose ego is on the line here?

"Old PaulB can play the old deconstruction tricks with anyone's post"

Yup. That's because I actually read what you write, Trashhauler, compare it with the information at my disposal, and see where you come up short.

"making wild, unsubstantiated assertions right and left"

ROFLMAO... Trashhauler, dear, has it really escaped your notice that this statement applies to you, not to me? You have failed to support a single one of your assertions, Trashhauler. Not one, despite being repeatedly asked to do so, by me and by others.

"and then have the gall to say others don't support their arguments sufficiently."

LOL... Trashhauler, you made the assertions. It therefore behooves you to back them up. My "wild, unsubstantiated assertions" (not one of which you actually name, by the way) simply highlight your failure to back up your arguments.

"He thinks that repetition of his own attacks somehow validate the truth of those attacks."

No, Trashhauler, I don't. But repetition that you have completely failed to support your own assertions? Yup, that's both fair and relevant.

"He'll throw insult after insult and then laughingly sneer if he thinks he's struck the mark with someone."

LOL... With trolls, yes, something I freely admit. With you? It depends. Read my first few posts on this thread, Trashhauler. Please tell me where I threw out "insult after insult and then laughingly sneer[ed]." As for insults, given your own behavior on this thread, you are hardly one to talk.

"He's nothing but a bully and a troll, hiding under his personal bridge, waiting for the next person to attack."

ROFLMAO... Dear heart, you are entirely free to ignore me, if you wish. It matters not at all to me. Kind of hard for me to be "a bully and a troll" when I have no power over this blog, this comments forum, or anyone here. The only power I have over you, Trashhauler, is power you choose to give me.

"What credibility he has here - this person of no known accomplishment"

LOL... You still don't get it, Trashhauler. We are underwhelmed by your claim to have supported seven (count, them seven!) administrations. You are judged here not by your accomplishments, which are irrelevant, but by your words and your ability to support them. My credibility, like yours, is entirely dependent on the quality of my arguments and my ability to support them.

My accomplishments, or lack thereof, are entirely my own affair and are entirely irrelevant to most of the discussions here. Those rare times when my background and education are germane to the topic at hand, I have made them known. All other times, people here, appropriately, judge me by what I write.

"or original insight"

LOL... And again, given the banal nature of your own posts on this thread, you really should be careful about the stones you throw.

"is the same credibility smaller thugs grant to the largest of of the school yard pack. The saner people here must be generally appalled by his behavior"

LOL... Oh my, this is just too much. Man, who'd have thought that dear old Trashhauler would be such a drama queen?

"yet they maintain silence, lest they be thought somehow disloyal to their side."

Or because they see things differently than you do and lack the dramatic flair, the self-importance, and the whininess you are exhibiting. Whatever...

"But deep down, they know that a full blown hater,"

ROFL... Trashhauler, dear, I don't hate you. I don't take you seriously enough to hate you.

"like PaulB, diminishes their own arguments."

No, actually, Trashhauler, I don't. Their arguments, like yours and like mine, are entirely their own. They are judged solely on what they write, not on what you or I write. You still don't get it, do you?

"This doesn't bother Paul, of course."

Bother me? Hell, no! I think this post of yours is absolutely wonderful, not to mention hilarious. I'm absolutely loving it, particularly since it is a tacit acknowledgement of the failure of your own arguments and your inability to support them.

"He lives off hatred, though he's probably never done enough self-examination to realize it."

ROFL... This is just too rich. Thanks ever so for the analysis, Trashhauler. I'm just so touched by your concern for my well-being.

"Beating up people is what he does, that's his kick here."

No, dear, exposing idiots is what I do here. Exposing wholly unsupported arguments and wild assertions is what I do here. Having fun is what I do here. Exchanging political views and current information is what I do here. That's what most of us do here. You're welcome to join in any time you want to, Trashhauler, but if you post crap, you're going to get called on it, as you did here.

"He's not a partisan of any particular belief,"

ROFL... As usual, Trashhauler, you are 100% wrong. I'm quite partisan, quite liberal, and unashamedly so. Had you bothered to actually read what I write, you'd have known that.

"what he is a textbook example of an internet troll."

ROFL... Nope, not even close, but thanks for playing. It's quite clear that you don't understand the definition of the word "troll." Free clue: it does not mean "someone who disagrees with me." By the way, Trashhauler, you do realize that this post of yours is, in fact, "a textbook example of an internet troll," don't you?

Oh, and Trashhauler, it has not escaped the notice of "the reasonable people here" that instead of engaging my points, instead of supporting your own, you preferred to engage in one long ad hominem attack, wholly unsupported by anything resembling logic, reason, or data. When you want to have a real discussion, we'll be right here. If you persist in posting drivel, we'll be right here, as well. That's the reality of this unmoderated political forum.

You are judged here by your words and your arguments, Trashhauler, and you are being found wanting. This was a hilarious post, though, so at least we've found something you're good at.

Posted by: PaulB on July 18, 2007 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

"...Our war plans aren't going so well under President Bush, are they?"
-Kevin Drum
------
No they are not, and it appears that we have decided to engage in a professional wrestling match with yet another tar baby:


http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IG20Ak01.html

"In May, investigative US reporter Seymour Hersh gave a groundbreaking interview to CNN International's Your World Today, discussing the combat in Naher al-Bared. Hersh's comments caused an uproar in the US, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon because he blamed the US administration, the Saudis and the cabinet of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad al-Siniora of creating and arming Sunni fundamentalist groups such as Fatah al-Islam.

The purpose was to use them against the Iran-backed all-Shi'ite group Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Shi'ites have an armed wing, the reasoning went, so why shouldn't the Sunnis as well? In March, Hersh penned an exceptionally detailed essay in The New Yorker called "The redirection", saying that the US was supporting Sunni fanatic groups to counterbalance the spread of Shi'ite Islam - and the power of Iran - in the Arab world.

Part of the strategy was increased US-Saudi planning to undermine Hezbollah in Lebanon. Another way was to encourage Sunni extremists in the region, who, although anti-American, are equally anti-Shi'ite. Hersh pointed out that this was identical to the Saudi-US strategy of the 1980s, when they armed and supported bin Laden to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

The architects of this policy are US Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, and former ambassador and current Saudi National Security Adviser Prince Bandar bin Sultan. They are responsible for the "redirection" toward fostering Sunni fanatics, and more recently for the creation of Fatah al-Islam to combat Hezbollah."

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on July 19, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK
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