Home > Uncategorized > The President and Bin Laden

The President and Bin Laden

OK, sorry to post another article, but this is is too good to pass up because it conveys EXACTLY how I feel about U.S. foreign policy and also serves as my response to Rich as to how bad things are going in iraq these days. This is an argument advanced on Friday in The Washington Post by Eugene Robinson. Of course, Rich will immediately see red when he sees the reference to the Post because he dismisses anything in that paper as too liberal.

But I think it’s hard to argue with the reasoning here. What do you think?

“When unsmiling agents at the airport take away your contact lens
solution, your toothpaste, and your cologne or after-shave, remember Osama
bin Laden. Remember the real war on terrorism that the Bush administration
and its allies decided not to fight, preferring cowboy-style military

The revelation yesterday of the elaborate plot to blow up airliners over
the Atlantic Ocean with liquid explosives reminds us of the real threats we
face – as opposed to the phantom threats that George W. Bush and Tony Blair
have conjured to justify their disastrous war in Iraq.

The airliner conspiracy seems to have all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda
extravaganza: careful and sophisticated planning, the intent to shock the
world with simultaneous detonations, cold-blooded determination to murder
innocents by the hundreds, and a timeline that comes suspiciously close to
the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Sending a cascade of Boeings
and Airbuses into the frigid ocean would have had the kind of theatrical
impact that al-Qaeda always seeks.

But it doesn’t really matter whether the plotters were al-Qaeda soldiers
taking orders from bin Laden or just a group of like-minded admirers working
on their own. The plot demonstrates that al-Qaeda lives on, either as a
functioning organization or, even more chillingly, as an inspiration to
jihadists around the world.

Shoe bombs didn’t work, and now we shuffle through the metal detectors
in our socks. Liquid explosives didn’t work, and now we will fly with
unbrushed teeth. We can be sure that somewhere in some anonymous apartment,
maybe in Paris or Frankfurt or Karachi, a group of unknown conspirators has
absorbed the failure of the London plot and already begun to develop a new
approach to mass murder.

President Bush said that the uncovered conspiracy is “a stark reminder
that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to
destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.” If only the
president would fight that war. If only he hadn’t turned away from the hunt
for bin Laden to chase his neocon advisers’ delusions of spreading
pro-American democracy at the point of a gun.

Let’s check what else was in the news yesterday. In Iraq, a suicide
bomber killed at least 35 people and injured more than 100 by blowing
himself up near a famous shrine in the city of Najaf, which is holy to
Shiite Muslims. Meanwhile, U.S. troops moved into the Dora neighborhood of
Baghdad in an attempt to end a reign of lawlessness. All this violence is
part of a sectarian civil war that was made possible by the U.S. invasion –
and that is growing in intensity under the open-ended U.S. occupation. Iraq,
says Bush, is a vital theater in the war against terrorism.

In other news, Israeli forces continued their systematic destruction of
Lebanon’s infrastructure by targeting a historic lighthouse in the heart of
Beirut, in an apparent attempt to knock Lebanese state television off the
air. This comes after Israeli forces had already destroyed every bridge over
the Litani River, all of Lebanon’s major roads and much of the Beirut
airport, all in the name of cutting off supplies to the Hezbollah militia –
and all with no complaint from U.S. officials. Lebanon, says Bush, is
another vital theater in the war against terrorism.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks of building a “new Middle
East,” but the Bush administration construction plan seems to begin with
setting the old Middle East on fire. The bungled occupation of Iraq has
drawn new recruits to the jihadist cause around the world, and now the
disproportionate Israeli assault on Lebanon is doing the same thing. We are
at war with an ideology, and pounding it frontally just disperses it. It’s
like trying to smash mercury with a hammer.

Maybe the discovery of the airliner plot will bring us back to the real
world. There are deadly enemies out there, and one way to fight them, as the
British demonstrated yesterday, is through intelligence. One way not to
fight them, as the Bush administration continues to demonstrate, is through
reckless military action that may kill terrorists but also kills innocent
civilians and thus creates a new generation of terrorists – doubtless
including some bright young man or woman who will come up with a new idea
for downing civilian airliners.

We will end up boarding our flights barefoot, barehanded and buck naked
except for a hospital gown they’ll make us put on at the airport. And, at
this rate, Osama bin Laden will be watching CNN from his cave, smiling

  1. Jim from AG
    August 13, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    Dear Dave:
    Quote; “If only he hadn’t turned
    away from the hunt for bin Laden to
    chase neocon advisors delusions of spreading pro-American democracy at
    the point of a gun.”
    That may or may not have been why we invaded Iraq, but remember we and our representatives were told it was to protect us from WMDs. Had we been honestly asked
    for permission to expend our soldiers’ lives and $billions of
    our tax money to go force democracy
    upon a foreign nation – I’ve no doubt they’d have been laughed at and we’d not be in the sorry fix we
    are now.
    I enjoyed your writing and your reasoning – I just don’t like
    giving the neocons an excuse for
    the damage they’ve deviously done.

  2. Rich from Paso
    August 14, 2006 at 12:06 am

    The liberal left is very schizophrenic on the War on Terrorism. The Dems and every liberal chants the mantra of “must get bin Laden, must get bin Laden”, but when Zawaquiri was killed, the left mocked “oh, he’s just one man and he won’t make a difference in the war in Iraq”. So, which is it? Is bin Laden the mastermind of every plot that the US and Britain have foiled in that last 5 years or is he just a figurehead and face for an organization that has no real structure or hierarchy? Your Post commentary sounds like the author believes the former not the latter. If that is the case, then are you all saying that if we get bin Laden then al Qaeda will dry up and blow away? Well, hell’s bells, let’s go kill bin Laden now so we can get this war over with and go back to spending our lives seeking religious fulfilment. But there is that ol’ Zawaquiri argument again. We kill bin Laden and he’s just a figurehead, then what? You have no idea. Either the islamic fascists are monolithic, the way you’d like the mythical “neocons” to be, and easy to knock out by cutting off of the head or they are loosely affiliated. Every terrorism expert says that you can’t kill al Qaeda by killing bin Laden because all of the sleeper cells are preprogramed and ready to strike on command from the next guy. SO there you are Dave, twisting in the wind, wanting to blame Bush for not killing the boogeyman, bin Laden, but then wanting to blame Bush for “cowboy military adventures” around the world. I’m so glad we have you and the rest of the military genuises at the DC Post and NYT to tell us all how things should be.


    Why? Because you don’t know.

    And you still lack the testicular fortitude to tell my Iraqi friend that his life would be better under Saddam.

    Have a Neocon (happy) day!

  3. Marilyn
    August 14, 2006 at 1:34 am


    Unfortunately, I do not think this administration will learn anything from the lessons of the past or from what has happened in Iraq and what is happening in Lebanon. The reason is: they measure their success in terms of how much destruction they inflict on people and their property, how many idealized boogie men they catch and parade in front of the public, and how far the military-industrial complex has spread.

    See, the Caspian Sea pipeline has been built and is already pumping, the secret bases are already up and running in Iraq and Afghanistan, and all the business partners of the Neo-Cons and their friends are living very well and doing business while the killing is going on around them. Stability in the occupied nations is incidental.

    Democracy (which in some circles means American friendly Capitalism and the proliferation of the military) is just part of the propaganda campaign.

    The US may have wished for a more democratic Lebanon (i.e., American friendly and Iranian and Syrian hostile democracy). Israel does not care about either. Israel’s idea of peace with its neighbours is having agreements with them that give it the upper hand in everything.

    They want to destroy this and destroy that because, ultimately, the Middle East problem is all about them and their security and their monopolizing on the natural resources of their neighbors. That has been their solution to most of their problems with their neighbors (punish and destroy at the rate of 20 to 1 because of some god-given moral imperative). They are very good at it, but they are not willing to take the sacrifices that other nations are willing to while they are inflicting such destruction. Their human toll is what makes or breaks their plans.

    The US and the Israeli plans are as good as the people formulating them. Both governments have their own internal issues and election campaigns that influence their decisions. That is the way of politics. Now, they have become arrogant with power and, after 9-11, the Patriot Act and its related legislation, and the labeling of all resistance movements around the world as “terrorist”, they have become more emboldened. All they have to do is declare that a certain group or state is terrorist (without international consensus, I might add), and then it is a free for all. That is what happened to Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah with the “Axis of Evil” and Hezbollah being placed on the terrorist list. As you know, most nations around the world, including the European Union, are refusing to put that organizatgion on their terrorist lists.

    It takes far more courage to wage peace and work towards negotiations, especially before the conflict erupts. It is a very tedious and emotional process and the peacemakers are always shunned by their societies in times of war. If you recall, after 9-11, those who called for more level-headedness in all branches of government, including the CIA, FBI, and the military were removed from positions of influence or resinged out of disgust and protest.

    I think that any event in history can be twisted around to fit whatever agenda. Israel is declaring now that it has won; it has to because that was what its people were counting on at the beginning of this current war. If it all ends now, they have to emerge as the winners to save face. The reality is that no one has won but the Lebanese people have lost.

    There are never winners in wars. The only time one can truly say they have won is if they have completely destroyed their opponent to the last man, woman and child and, short of that, it is a stalemate but then, if you destroy your enemy completely, who will you fight next (maybe your own citizens?).

    So-called winners do not have to abide by UN resolutions and do not have to have treaties with their opponents (Israel and the US come to mind again). The losers usually pay the price. There is also a difference between winning and occupying what has been conquered because there can still be war under occupation (Afgahnistan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon). The war is between the occupying military and the popular resistance movements and their militias (Most occupied nations end up losing their standing armies anyway).

    Wars are never won, only individual battles.

    I think it is about time that people in the military and the intelligence agency stepped up and acted responsibly by holding their politicians accountable for the crimes they are committing against their own nationals and people around the world. But, sadly, they too are part of the problem and are more concerned about their careers.

    The Bush administration and Israel may still want to go after Iran but the million dollar questions is, whose ground troops are going to be sent in behind the air campaign? And, can the desired outome, whatever that may be, be reaslistically achieved?

  4. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    August 14, 2006 at 4:47 am

    Hmm, no wars have ever had winners? We stuck our heads in the sand, and WWII started, and we finished it by destrying first Germany then Japan. You apparently do not understand the devastation that we brought upon the earth to win this war. Our incendary bombs killed many many more people and Hiroshima or Nagasaki combined. Sorry for the spelling.

    Germany, we blasted the hell out of them. We won the war by producing much more devastation than all three axis powers could produce. And we finished what they started. And history shows we should have acted sooner.

    All of the terrorists have been Muslim. All of them. Not all muslims are terrorists. I think we need to stop the political correct thinking and quit seaching the mexican grandma and giving the random pass to the muslim young man and do just a little profiling. Another step is to quit being so polite as we are fighting the scum of so called fighters in Iraq. I think that we need to unleash the military. Burn a muslim body, so what? Are they sensitive to our culture? No. Are they going to behead less if we respect their foolish customs, no. Let’s finish this war, kill as many of the terrorists or their allies, and get on with it without delay.

    Have a nice day.

    Oh yeah, Marilyn, the caspian sea pipeline like you saw in F -911, false. Carlyle group, Bush was not involved. The 800# that the senator talked about and mr. moore said did not exist….it was an 866 number (Same thing) . If you believe anything from that pile of crap movie that I watched, you have to have you head in the sand.

  5. Bob from San Luis
    August 14, 2006 at 4:57 am

    Rich: As far as Osama is concerned, if, IF, we had captured or killed him in Afghanistan when he was boxed in on three sides, it would seem as though perhaps that maybe the bombing in Spain, and London, might not have happened. I do not know that they would not have, you don’t know if they would have. The point is though that if bin Laden had been removed back in 2002-2003, al Qada may have disintegrated. Once again, we can monday morning quarterback any single battle or plan easily now; the real “trick” is to come up with a plan that will protect America from terrorists attacks, and to provide Iraq with some means of taking care of itself. Shouldn’t capturing bin Laden be a part of “protecting America”? I’ll be the first to say that getting him wouldn’t stop al Qada, but at least it is a step! As for Iraq, I suggested a few moves on another post earlier, so no need to restate them now.
    I am reading a new book now, “Armed Madhouse” by Greg Palast; I am learning quite a bit about Iraqi oil, the politics of the oil cartel, and how the Neo-Con plan failed spectacularly. The main gist of the book’s reason that we went into Iraq (aside from what we were told-{WMDs, Saddam gassed his own people} ) is because of a group (The James A. Baker III Institute) drew up a map of Iraq’s oil fields during those secret “energy task force” meetings in VP Cheney’s office. The plan was to make sure that Iraq had a national (state run) oil company that could control how much oil was not pumped, as a means of staying in the good graces of OPEC. The document with that plan is called “Options for Iraqi Oil for the State Department” going on for some 322 pages. This plan was kept secret from the Neo-Cons as they had their own plan, “The Economy Plan”, where the attempt was to be made to privatize the Iraqi oil fields, ramp up production, flood the market bringing down oil prices and achieving their end goal of destroying OPEC. I’m not quite half way through it yet, but Mr. Palast has some rock solid sources so this really takes the whole invasion of Iraq to a new plane of reality.
    Marilyn: On the previous post by Dave, Robyn pointed out your comment on air about “…if that makes me a Jew-hater, then fine…”; I asked if you had blurted that out in a moment of passion or duress- could you address that, please? I do understand that you have no “love” for Israel based on their constant military responses to various attacks, incidents and conflicts they have engaged in over the years. My question to you is: If Israel were to stand down a large part of their military, do you think that terrorist organizations in the region would view that as an invitation to attack Israel even more? If Israel were to try and work through the differences with its neighbors with negotiations first, could they become a “peaceful” country?

  6. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    August 14, 2006 at 3:09 pm

    Bob, you are reading and believeing Greg Palast? That is fine, as long as you know he is very biased and probably not telling the whole truth.

    Why is it that people seem to skip over my opinions? No one ever answers any questions that I have, especially on the left? So what if they are not poplular? They are not questions I have cut and pasted from articles, or heard on the Rush Limbaugh show, but they are treated as if they are just too out there to even consider? I like these blogs, and think it is interesting to read bob and marilyn’s point of view and understand where they are coming from, it is just a little discouraging to have no one even seem to be interested in my points and to give me feedback on my thoughts and ideas. I would appreciate feedback, especially from the socialists here.

    Thanks, New Tone.

  7. Rich from Paso
    August 14, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    I love how all you Neocon conspiracy buffs lap that crap up. Actually, I think the Palast theory may have some merit because breaking OPEC would be a good thing for the world. What gets me is my all you socialists aren’t behind that plan. Look at all of the energy the Clinton justice department spent on battling Microsoft for their supposed antitrust monopolization of the software industry. But you all are cool with OPEC artificially controlling the price of oil around the world.

    Bob, you need to link to where you said what you would do about Iraq. Your post was a litany of things you wouldn’t do. To be more correct, I think you said “Idon’t know, but here’s what I wouldn’t do”. Feel free to correct me if there is a bona fide plan with a course of action that differs from the current administration plan. Responding with all of the nots is not a plan; it’s just more 20/20 hindsight armchair quarterbacking.
    BTW, the Madrid bombing was done by Al Qaeda wannabes, not by any group even remotely affiliated with al Qaeda. And the London bombing was planned before the Brits helped us in Iraq. Truth is 1) that the islamofacsist community wants every westerner dead, 2) al Qaeda would claim responsibility for setting the LA county wildfires or the Indonesian Tsunami if they thought it would further their goals. If bin Laden is such a driving force for evil and terrorism in the world, where is your scorn, Bob, for Bill Clinton for letting him go three times?

    …and Dave still lacks the testicular fortitude to tell Iraqis that Saddam’s regime was better than the currect state of affairs in Iraq.

    Which brings up another point… Where is the liberal left’s call for an immediate cease fire in Iraq? Why doesn’t the UN try to broker a cease fire between the sectarian militias and the US to end the human sufferin in Iraq? The answer: because Bush looks bad every time you all rattle off the current body count or the number of victims in the latest bombing, which, of course, bolsters the Dems chances of winning the Congress in November. Or so your warped little minds think.

  8. Marilyn
    August 14, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Bob,

    I will address your question briefly, the one having to do with me being called a Jew hater by more than one caller to the show and my reply.

    I had already pointed, on the show, to the fact that anyone criticizing the policies of Israel or anyone advocating for the rights of Palestinian people is labeled “anti-Semitic” and that was just “wrong.”

    Of course, after I made that statement I did get a hateful caller with nothing to offer except to call me a “Jew hater.”

    My response was the following: “If me advocating for the rights of oppressed people and speaking out against injustice makes me labeled as a “Jew hater,” I am proud of it. I will not be intimidated by name calling.”
    That was my response and I stick to it.

    You know, three years ago the group I belonged to was sponsoring a lecture at Cal Poly dealing with the Israeli occupation and curfews and their effect on the civilian population within the Occupied Territories. The presnter had a picture of a Palestinian little girl looking outside the barred widnows of her house during the curfew. Mustang Daily published that photo as part of the article about the lecture.

    I received a hateful call at home from a Cal Poly professor who accused me of advocating for the killing of all Jews because that picture was printed. He was insisting that I call Mustang Daily and retract that picture. We spent an hour over the phone talking and him yelling at me.

    Frankly, I am tired of those hateful comments being leveled at anyone who advocates against injustice.

    I did it as a courtesy to you Bob, but this is the last time I will explain myself or my comments to anyone. The gentleman on this forum who accused me of saying it is typical of those who twist what is said to smear others to prevent them from telling the truth. They have nothing positive to offer and they thrive on bashing people.

    But why am I not surprised?

  9. JerryDinAZ
    August 14, 2006 at 8:56 pm


    August 15, 2006 at 3:32 am


  11. Dave Congalton
    August 15, 2006 at 4:55 am


    You argued in an earlier post that your “solution” for Iraq involves extending our troops to the borders of Iraq. Here’s my question: What troops? We don’t have enough troops in Iraq and what we do have is focused on trying to keep the main cities under control.

    Perfect example are those 300 Alaska National Guard troops who came home and now they have to go back to Iraq. Your idea won’t work Rich because we don’t have the troops and won’t until we get serious and bring back the draft.

    I don’t have a plan for Iraq, Rich. That’s not my job. I’m telling you the present plan isn’t working and we’re certainly not defeating the terrorists.

    I was listening to Imus today and I have to agree with him. He argues that terrorism is going to be a 100 Years War, covering this entire century. There are no easy answers and we better get used to a long, long battle.

  12. everett in los osos
    August 15, 2006 at 2:27 pm

    Rich from paso, you might also ask where the “human shields” have gone? Remember how many peace activists wanted to strap themselves to Saddam’s water supply to protect it from Coalition bombs?
    I would suggest this reveals the left’s true feelings: George Bush is a greater threat than any middle-eastern dictator.
    Dave, still waiting for your response on my post requesting precise quotations from generals testifying about Iraq.
    In addition, when Santa Maria Bill asks for positive aspects of the Bush administration 1) Libya’s nuclear ambitions end, 2) Genocide in Darfur being labeled as such, 3) Ukraine’s election assistance and 4) Iraqi-Kurdistan.
    I was pleasantly surprised to see George Soros was also involved in Ukraine’s election.

  13. JerryDinAZ
    August 15, 2006 at 3:11 pm


  14. Rich from Paso
    August 15, 2006 at 5:54 pm

    Dave, you have defined “duh!” with your Imus quote. Do you know who said it first? Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs have been talking about the “Long War” on terrorism. I’ll e-mail you the briefing.

    As for you counting of our soldiers in Iraq, your hypocracy is showing. I thought your hero, Jack Murtha, your candidate for VP in 08, said that our soldiers were the cause of the problems in the cities? So Murtha and I are on the same side of this and you’re not? Make up your mind, Dave. For your knowledge, we do have the troops to push to the borders. Besides, Bush himself suggested that we may have to up our troop strength over there. And well we should. I happen to think that we have been about a division short (18,000) the entire time we’ve been in Iraq.

    Look, I know you don’t have a plan becuase you just don’t know enough about what is going on in Iraq in terms of what the military is doing and how we do it. That is why you rely so heavily on rags like the Post and the Times to tell you what you think you need to know. But if you are willing to say you don’t have a plan, then where the hell do you come off telling me my plan won’t work. What is your job, anyway? To shit on all things Bush and Iraq? That is a sad existance to be a full-time contrarian. Come on, Dave, you’re smarter than that. Do some objective research on the subject. Stop relying on your mediamatters bozos and the other ancient media outlets and do some genuine scholarly research about Iraq and their people and the situation.

    I will e-mail that briefing to you. You’ll have it today.

    Do you still contend that life would be better for my Iraqi friend under Saddam?

  15. Dave Congalton
    August 15, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    Everett — I’m referring to the Senate hearings involving Rumsfeld and his top generals during the first week of August. Here’s a snippet from the AP:

    “WASHINGTON — The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East told Congress on Thursday that “Iraq could move toward civil war” if the raging sectarian violence in Baghdad is not stopped.

    “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I have seen it,” Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said the top priority in the Iraq war is to secure the capital, where factional violence has surged in recent weeks despite efforts by the new Iraqi government to stop the fighting.”

  16. Bob from San Luis
    August 15, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    Marilyn: Thank you for your reply. My understanding of your reply was that you did knowingly make the statement about being a Jew-hater as means of trying to show that many who question the actions of Israel are doing so because of the anger you feel at their reckless behavior in killing so many innocent civilians in Lebanon. You want to condemn Israel not because of their response or actions per se, but what I am getting is the anger at what appears to deliberate targeting and killing of civilians that posed no military threat, but were killed anyway, as if Israel did this on purpose simply because they could. I will agree with you on every single point you make save one: No matter how upset or frustrated I get by the actions of the nation of Israel, I cannot call myself a “Jew-hater”, even if I were pushed into a corner by some right wing sycophant. But then again, I am not of Lebanese descent either; if I were, I might see how one could call themselves that, even if what they are trying to do is to call to the attention of the world that Israel is committing acts of war on innocents in violation of international treaties and the Geneva Conventions.
    Rich: Here is the link to what I said before about fighting terrorism (comment #11). The points I tried to lay out were in way meant to be complete, as I pointed out in my comment, the main points I wanted to raise were that “fighting terrorism” is a complex procedure that won’t fit on a bumper sticker. Like strengthening our intelligence agencies by bringing back the senior officers who were forced out for political reasons by Porter Goss, updating the computers at the FBI, and on and on. The other main point I tried to raise was that Iraq is actually a distraction in the “war” on terror; a boondoggle that has siphoned off much of our financial ability to actually pay for much of what is needed to really make our country safer, destroyed our credibility to the point that some of our allies may not be as forth coming in sharing intelligence with us, and of course, having a N.O.C. agent of the CIA who was working on the problem of nuclear proliferation in Iran having her cover blown by members of the administration for purely political purposes. I have never really been a big fan of our intelligence agencies, but they had all of the resources available to them they needed prior to 9/11, they just didn’t operate in a cohesive collaborative manner. If they really felt the need to wiretap a US citizen, the FISA court that grants the authorization for the legal wiretaps has never ever rejected a request by law enforcement. This President ordered illegal wiretapping to be done simply because he didn’t want any judge knowing what, or to whom, the President wanted to find out about. The last President that tried to do that would have been impeached and removed from office had he not have resigned.
    New Tone: Yes, you are “out there” on a lot of your points. You mentioned the Michael Moore film; do you not remember his offer? Anyone who had any proof that any part of his movie was false or wrong would be rewarded with a $10,000 “prize” for catching something unprovable; has anyone stepped up and claimed that prize? As for you wanting to “finish this war, kill as many of the terrorists or their allies, and get on with it without delay.”- Need I remind you that this is the first time our country invaded another country in over a hundred years? The first time in quite a long time that “preemptive” invasion was viewed as “acceptable” by our leaders? To simply kill as many people in Iraq as possible is blatantly wrong, period. Besides, most of the killing going on in Iraq is not by our troops. As for being the “winner” in a war; does killing as many of your enemies, destroying as much of their infrastructure as possible, does that really make us “winners”? I understand that we devastated a lot of both countries in WWII; I for one do not find the destruction something to be “proud” of; it was at the time, unfortunately what was needed to be done, but the destruction was part of the job of getting the foe to quit fighting.

  17. everett in los osos
    August 16, 2006 at 1:40 am

    Dave, you wrote this in an earlier blog: “You were a grunt over there, but earlier this month the top Pentagon generals — the EXPERTS — told Congress that civil war was likely.”
    The quotation you selected doesn’t support your above assertion. None of the quotations I read said civil war was likely. As a matter of fact:

    “We need the Iraqi people to seize this moment,” Pace said. “We’ve provided security for them, their armed forces are providing security for them and their armed forces are dying for them. They need to decide that this is their moment.”

    “Am I optimistic whether or not Iraqi forces, with our support, with the backing of the Iraqi government, can prevent the slide to civil war? My answer is yes, I’m optimistic that that slide can be prevented,” Abizaid said.

    It took me a long time to find the last two quotes, but the headlines on all of the articles would make you believe the opposite of these – buried – EXPERT OPINIONS. I capitalize because I can’t find the italic, not to yell.
    I think it would be fair to say the general’s described a tipping point but it is not at all assured that Iraq is descending into civil war. One general said that a conventional civil war was “unlikely.” (I’m going on memory on the last bit and I’ll correct it if I can find the Forbes article).

  18. everett in los osos.
    August 16, 2006 at 1:52 am

    Bob from San Luis,

    About the “outing” of a CIA agent, wait for the Trial of Joseph Wilson. Yes, I know Scooter Libby is actually in the docket but former ambassador Wilson’s reputation is a dead man walking.

    Michael Moore’s film is full of lies and inaccuracies. Go to MOOREWATCH.com for a link and the list – it’s a long one.
    If you ever see the film again, pay attention to the background music, special effects, editing and tone. It’s a distortion of reality, not a documentary.

  19. Bob from San Luis
    August 16, 2006 at 2:51 am

    Everett: Has anybody claimed the “prize” Michael Moore promised? I did go to the site you mentioned, but I didn’t see anything about refuting MM’s claims in the film. I have to admit that I don’t have a lot of patience when looking around at wing-nut sites, so if you have a specific page address, I will look at that. As for your doing links or italics, here is a link to a site that explains html tags. There is a chart about one third the way down the page.
    As for Joe Wilson’s reputation, that depends on your political leaning. His rep may not be worth much to those on the right, but on the left his reputation is worth quite a bit. Before his wife was outed as an undercover CIA agent, Mr. Wilson was not known as a “political” person, instead he usually chose to focus on policy. President George H.W. Bush called Joe Wilson “an American hero” for his courage when he defied Saddam Hussein when Saddam had threatened to kill anybody who was harboring foreigners in Iraq; as the senior diplomat at the US Embassy in Iraq, Mr. Wilson held a press conference wearing a hangman’s noose in place of a necktie when he taunted Saddam that if Saddam wanted to kill him, Mr. Wilson would provide the rope. Pretty damn ballsy if you ask me. Somehow I don’t think Joe Wilson loses sleep at night worrying about his reputation to those on the right.

  20. Rich from Paso
    August 16, 2006 at 4:05 am

    Bob, the soldier depicted in Farenheit 9/11 is sueing Michael Moore for defamation of character (or whatever the charge is) because Michael Moore misrepresented everything the soldier said. The soldier is also quoted in Faren-hype 9/11 (the rebutal movie; much better than the original) that he was answering questions not about Iraq but the care he was receiving in the hospital. Here is the link. So, I guess Michael Moore will owe that soldier $85 million… and $10,000.

    Okay, I stand corrected, you do have a plan; a plan to retreat to Okinawa as Murtha (a man who must be getting senile) has wanted. YOu plan isn’t only unworkable, it’s just plan stupid. You want the US to dessert the contractors over there, give them no protection, this is American citizens we’re talking about here, so that Iraqi companies and the French can take over the contracts? I believe I berated you over the folly of that idea, but let me update my berating. We wouldn’t leave Americans stupid enough to go to Lebanon there despite idnoring the State Department travel advisory, wasting millions of dollars in the process and having to listen to more ungrateful sonzabitches complain about the flies, lack of shade, sandwiches and the Marines not getting there sooner. I didn’t realize that Hurricane Katrina “vicitms” relocated to Lebanon. So your assertion that our military would stop protecting our citizenry in Iraq for the “crime” of being a contractor is rediculous. Your “plan” is a guarantee of future attacks on American soil. You’d have every al Qaeda suicide bomber blowing themselves up because of your “plan”. You see, the jihadists are like Democrats: when they get their asses kicked (hezbollah e.g.) they claim victory. They rationalize this because we didn’t kill every last one of them.

  21. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    August 16, 2006 at 5:35 am

    Um Bob, Moore made up the headline that showed Gore won the election (It was a letter to the editor), He said that the senator had not 800 number (It was an 866 number) and he said that the bushes were behind the carlyle group. I can’t remember from memory, but I think the carters or the kennedy’s had more money in the group at the time. Guess fat old mike owed me $40,000 so far, but I bet he won’t pay.

  22. Dave Congalton
    August 16, 2006 at 7:02 am


    I’m glad you’re so upbeat about Iraq, but I’ll tell you what I told Rich in my last posting — 3400 dead Iraqi civilians in July alone. You call that success?

  23. Bob from San Luis
    August 16, 2006 at 7:28 am

    Rich: Has anybody stepped forth to claim the $10,000 from Michael Moore by providing proof that the movie facts were wrong? Please provide a link if you can.
    Murtha: Where on earth do you come up with the assertion that Murtha wants to redeploy our troops to Okinawa? Again, please provide a link, if possible.
    As for the “private” contractors in Iraq; as a plan, we invalidate all contracts to firms that have not performed, meaning that they have not fulfilled their contractual obligations to achieve what they were paid to do. Send them packing. The companies that are doing the work as promised; require that most of the labor they use is native Iraqi. I fully understand that there would be a danger of hiring some “insurgents” or even “terrorists” who would like to do harm to the American companies and those Iraqis who would work for them, but don’t you think that a majority of Iraqis would simply like to get back to work, to be able to provide for what is left of their families? Give the contractors time to either finish up their jobs, or give them time to pack up and get out if they can’t get the job done. Then allow Iraqi firms first rights of refusal for the rebuilding contracts, and if there is not enough firms available, bid those jobs out on the open market, with the Iraqi government deciding who gets to do the jobs.
    Now, tell me how this plan endangers the United States of America.

  24. Rich from Paso
    August 16, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    Dave: Okay, since you lack the testicular fortitude (or maybe it is just your intellectual honest that prevents you) to tell my Iraqi friend that he would be better off living under Saddam, let’s change the conditions to see if there is something you will have the testicular fortitude to e-mail on. How about you e-mail my friend and apologize for the United States invading his country and causing the death of the 3400 (this month alone!) and all the others. See, I know why you can’t do it: You’re a liberal and liberals only talk shit to people that aren’t affected by the words they say. That’s why Gore and Clinton and Kerry go overseas to Dubai and England, etc. and say anti-American crap like Gore saying that America systematically oppresses Arabs in America. And he says this without proof and the audience laps it up (because that is what they believe and want to hear anyway). So, of course you won’t tell Iraqis that. That takes no courage and you don’t want to look like an idiot when you get your ass handed to you (figuratively speaking) when he hammers you for being that idiot.

    Bob: The reason why no one has claimed $10,000 from Michael Moore is because the challenge is another “Bob in SLO” pile of crap! The challenge doesn’t exist. Link to it if it does and I will retract that.

    Who do you think does the work on all these projects? Who do you think rebuilt the Grand Station in Baghdad? Your answer: Haliburton (or someone like Haliburton). The truth: Iraqis!! The Iraqis that worked on the station road the train from Basra to Baghdad, every day!! Look it up in US News and World Report. Bottom line: You don’t know what you are talking about.

    “and of course, having a N.O.C. agent of the CIA who was working on the problem of nuclear proliferation in Iran having her cover blown by members of the administration for purely political purposes.” Forgot this one. Joe Wilson is a big pile of horse dung. Him and his wife, listed in Who’s Who of Virginia because Joe just has to self-agrandize, outed his own wife!!! then blames Karl Rove. Why? Because there are people, like yourself, gullible enough to buy it! Furthermore, Mr. Wilson-Plame gets sent to Niger where he found evidence Iraq was looking to get yellow cake uranium!!! His own report said that. Believe what you want, but here are three facts: 1) The Wilson-Plame family was trying to sabotage Bush, 2) Valerie hadn’t been a NOC for three years, 3) Karl Rove outsmarted them all, 4) The Wilson-Plame family is trying to capitalize on their attempted sabotage via Vanity Fair and their scrubbed book deal.

    Murtha and Okinawa: Here is the link you were looking for where the senile idiot wanted to move troops to Okinawa of all places. It was on “Meet the Press” in June. The guys is a total boob and should be an embarassment to all Liberals everywhere.

  25. Adam Hill
    August 16, 2006 at 8:14 pm

    This is an excerpt from a fascinating critique of the anti-war left, written by historian Moishe Postone. The essay quite powerfully captures some of my own anxiety about my compadres on the radical left. Opposing American Imperialism or Israeli militarism is totally legit and even admirable, but don’t let it drift you over to the side of profoundly illiberal groups like the Iraqi insurgency or Hezbollah.

    “The recent massive antiwar mobilizations appear at first glance to be the same [as those in the 1960s]. But closer consideration reveals that, politically, they are very different. Their opposition to the United States has not been in the name of a more progressive alternative. On the contrary, the Baath regime in Iraq — a regime whose oppressive character and brutality far exceeded that of, for example, the murderous military regimes in Chile and Argentina in the 1970s and 1980s — could not be considered progressive or potentially progressive in any way…Nevertheless, that regime was not and had not been the object of sustained political analysis and critique on the Left. Instead, its negative character was largely bracketed in the formulation of antiwar positions. …recent mass mobilizations neither expressed nor helped constitute what, arguably, was called for in this context — a movement opposed to the American war that, at the same time, was a movement for fundamental change in Iraq and, more generally, the Middle East. In the United States, very little political education was undertaken that extended beyond the crude slogans proffered.

    One of the ironies of the current situation is that, by adopting a fetishized “anti-imperialist” position, one where opposition to the United States no longer is bound to advocacy of progressive change, liberals and progressives have allowed the American neoconservative Right in the Bush administration to appropriate and even monopolize what traditionally had been the language of the Left, the language of democracy and liberation. It is the case, of course, that, although the Bush regime speaks of democratic change in the Middle East, it will not really help effect such change. Nevertheless, that only the Bush administration raised this issue reveals starkly that the Left did not do so.”

    Search out and read the whole essay. It’s on-line from the journal it appears in, Public Culture, and while the language can get overly academic at times, it is a highly throught provoking read.

  26. everett in los osos
    August 17, 2006 at 1:47 am


    I’m probably as depressed as anyone with the way the Iraq war is going. I’ve viewed this as an inevitable conflict ever since 9/11.
    This war is just a continuation of the wars fought against the Ottoman Turks, imo.
    I think that in 100 years or so historians will be able to point to this period as the beginning of the end of something.
    I’m optimistic this is the worst part but I’m not betting the farm that things won’t get worse.

    Either way, we don’t have a choice. Western civilization is being targeted by people who would execute homosexuals, subjugate women and replace democracy with theocracy.

  27. everett in los osos
    August 17, 2006 at 1:55 am

    Adam Hill, go to this website for information on the left’s alternative to “everythingbushdoesisbad.” Not all leftists hate the U.S.

    It’s called the “Euston Manifesto.”

  28. Michelle Dostier
    August 17, 2006 at 5:02 am

    Has anyone but me ever noticed that when Dave gets spanked by fact or a question he is not allowed to answer, he just starts another blog?

  29. Dave Congalton
    August 18, 2006 at 7:47 pm

    Hey, “Michelle Dostier”

    Well, I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. I damned if I make another posting to the blog and accused of ducking issues and damned if I don’t make enough posts each week, in addition to doing 20 hours on the radio each week.

    Actually, according to my survey, 9 out of 10 people agree with me, so i must be right.

  30. Bob from San Luis
    August 20, 2006 at 7:38 am

    Rich: My mistake on the $10,000 “reward”; apparently Mr. Moore only “thought about” offering his ‘reward’- I hadn’t been following the story. I apologize.
    As for Representative John Murtha, the decorated Marine Veteran, yes, he did state that troops could be redeployed to Okinawa; in that same statement he stated “Kuwait’s one that will take us. Qatar, we already have bases in Qatar. So Bahrain. All those countries are willing to take the United States. Now, Saudi Arabia won’t because they wanted us out of there in the first place. So—and we don’t have to be right there.”- then he mentioned Okinawa. It would seem to me that taken in a sequential order, that his suggestion about Okinawa was meant in addition to the afore mentioned places. Now I will agree that Okinawa would not be my third choice for stationing deployment ready troops to go back to Iraq if the need arises, but then I have no military experience. I wonder why Afghanistan wouldn’t be a good location for redeployment, with the added bonus of being able to get rid of the Taliban from positions of power in Afghanistan. But like I said, I am no military expert.
    As for Joe Wilson having his wife’s name listed in Who’s Who, yeah, her name was there, but I didn’t see anywhere where her occupation as SPY was listed, or even that her occupation was even listed. I would like to see or read some proof that she wasn’t a “NOC” agent; the quote unquote “company” that she was “working” for Brewster Jennings, was formed out of whole cloth as a means of giving the appearance that she was an “energy analyst” with expertise in nuclear technology that gave her and the “company” a great cover for investigating the pursuit of nuclear components by Iran. Having her cover “blown” not only shut down that whole operation, but put untold numbers of other agents and their contacts in danger. How many new anonymous “stars” are on the wall inside the CIA headquarters because Dick Cheney and Karl Rove felt that it was politically expedient to expose Joe Wilson’s wife as a means to embarrass Mr. Wilson? Or was it more of a threat, meant to intimidate other CIA personnel? If Joe Wilson and his wife have an “agenda” against President Bush, perhaps it is because of what has been allowed to happen during Bush’s administration, by members of his administration.

  31. Rich from Paso
    August 20, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    First, Bob, I appreciate the humility of the retraction and the admission that you are not willing to presuppose a military solution for the “Iraqi redeployment” question ol’ senile Murtha proposes.

    Okay, following up on the Murtha proposal and why it is an all-around bad idea. First, Kuwait is a stable monarchy that hosts about 60,000 US troops a year. You can figure that at any time there are 60,000 troops rolling in from Iraq and 60,000 troops rolling into Iraq. If those forces stayed in Kuwait they would bring the insurgents and the al Qaeda types into Kuwait, and why not? A static, stationary force provides for a static, stationary target. The moment we “redeploy” (i.e retreat) to Kuwait, we have conceded the offense and are in reactionary, defensive mode. The old adage still holds: the best defense is a good offense. Why not Bahrain and Qatar, you ask. Well, Bahrain is a tiny island and Qatar is a tiny pennisula, neither has the infrastructure for garrisoning a 30,000+ size force. The forces we do have in Qatar and Bahrain are the headquarters staffs for the Combined Forces Land Combat Command (CFLCC) and US Central Command (CentCom) which is made up of mostly senior officers and a few soldiers and NCOs. Hardly places for infantry and armor divisions with tanks and bradley fighting vehicles. Furthermore, the same problems of terrorism exist if you try to garrison those forces there. No infrastructure and you invite terrorism on small yet stable allies in the region. Again, it is better to fight the terrorists on the battlefields of Iraq than in the streets of Bahrain or Doha.

    Lastly, why not Afghanistan? I have no opposition to deploying forces to root out and crush al Qaeda and the Taliban once and for all. But look at this map here of southwest asia. You will see tiny Kuwait, tiny Qatar, and even tinier Bahrain. Look to the east of Iran and you will see Afghanistan. In order to get 30,000 troops and equipment from Afghanistan back into Iraq, you would have to go south through Afghanistan and Pakistan in some of the most treacherous mountain terrain in the world to hit the port of Karachi, condut a good week of port operations (assuming that a roll-on/roll-off ship is available, which they often aren’t), sail for another three or four days around the Iranian coastline through the Strait of Hormuz, dodging terrorists knowing that the equipment of the US forces are on the ships, up the Persian Gulf, conduct another week of port operations in Kuwait City, stage for another week (takes time to distribute fuel and ammo; tanks don’t go to sea fully fueled and armed , you can thank envriomentalists), and then fight their way back into Iraq, because Iraq will have fallen into the hands of al Qaeda and other islamofascist groups by the time you get into Iraq. At that point there is no reason to go into Iraq with 30,000 . You’ll need the 130,000 to retake Iraq again. The shortest distance between two points is still a straight line. In this case, it would be a straight line through Iran and that is not a political option at this point in time. So why leave if you are going to lose it and have to reinvade again? The details I have given you here are almost identical to the facts of the deployemnt of my brigade from the US into Kuwait when my brigade deployed to Kuwait. And no, things don’t get faster over time, the number of days in and out of port are relatively fixed. I hope you now can understand why we have to stay. Even, ol’ what’s his name, the guy who wrote “Fiasco” says we are committed and we have to stay.

    Look, I hope the situation turns around quickly just as much as anyone else. But for anyone to think that we can leave and get back in there quickly and “restore order” jsut doesn’t understand the logistics required to move a sizable fighting force anywhere in the world. Leaving Iraq is just as good as surrendering it to al Qaeda and the insurgents and killing 10,000 US troops trying to retake the country or killing 100,000 Iraqi ‘partisans’ that helped us while we are there. Either way, leaving now will get a shitload more innocent peopel killed; even more than are already dying today (thank you for chiming in, Dave). I hope this ends the tak of “redeploying troops somewhere else” although I seriously doubt it will. You liberals are all hard-headed like that.

    Homework assignment: Watch this PowerPoint presentations here on the Long War on Terrorism put together by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and see what our best and brightest view as the islamofascist’s designs on Iraq and why they are fighting so hard there and why we have to stay. See you next week, class dismissed.

  32. Rich from Paso
    August 25, 2006 at 4:05 am

    Something else to think about here.

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