President Bush's angry nonanswers to two straightforward questions yesterday were among the best illustrations yet of his intense aversion to responding to his critics' actual arguments.So why has this just now become a news item? The practice by Bush dates to before the 2000 election.
Rather than acknowledge and attempt to rebut the many concerns about his policies, Bush makes up inane arguments and then ridicules them.
"Q Thank you, sir. Even after hearing that one of the major conclusions of the National Intelligence Estimate in April was that the Iraq war has fueled terror growth around the world, why have you continued to say that the Iraq war has made this country safer?"
"Some people have guessed what's in the report and have concluded that going into Iraq was a mistake. I strongly disagree. I think it's naive. I think it's a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe."
OK, that's straw-man number one. Nobody I've heard of is suggesting that going on the offense against terrorists is bad. The question at hand is whether going on the offense against Iraq -- which had nothing to do with 9/11 -- made us less safe. By using this absurd straw-man, Bush leaves that issue unaddressed.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Mr. Bush has grown increasingly insistent that nothing he has done in Iraq has worsened terrorism. America was not in Iraq during the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, he said, or during the bombings of the U.S.S. Cole or embassies in Africa, or on 9/11.The straw man argument is the trademark of this admin and for far too long they've been given a pass on this.
But that argument steps around the implicit question raised by the intelligence finding: whether postponing the confrontation with Saddam Hussein and focusing instead on securing Afghanistan, or dealing with issues like IranÂs nascent nuclear capability or the Middle East peace process, might have created a different playing field, one in which jihadists were deprived of daily images of carnage in Iraq to rally their sympathizers.
Only recently has journalist started to press the WH for the names of those who make the outlandish claims the POTUS to which the POTUS always responds.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I don't know that the voters in VA care about these things, but the mere fact that his campaign must spend so much energy defending against them has to help his opponent.
Allen Denies Using Epithet to Describe Blacks - washingtonpost.com
From today's WaPo,
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 25 -- A judge said Monday that he will remove the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate from the November ballot because the party did not have enough valid signatures in its nominating petitions.The Green Party candidacy was nothing more than a GOP effort to save Santorum's butt. Looks like they've wasted thousands for naught. Good.
Carl Romanelli's candidacy for the Pennsylvania seat had been challenged by state Democrats. Romanelli's bid was backed by Sen. Rick Santorum (R), who hoped that Romanelli could siphon votes from his Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
From today's New York Times,
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.
The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.
An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.
The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.
Now, on to Iran!
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I don't trust a word from this administration about the issues in the middle east, especially Iran
Friday, September 01, 2006
So, there is hope yet that the Dems will engage the GOP on national security issues.
I had repeatedly said in the run-up to the last election that the Dems cannot expect the American people to believe the Dems will defend them, when the Dems wouldn't even defend themselves.
The favorite, indeed the only, attack the GOP seems to have is to attack the patriotism of the opposition. Rumsfeld's remarks were outragious and insulting and why should be dignified as anything but?
When this kind of rhetoric is met with only tepid or formal polite responses the actually message to everyone is that of weakness.
Josh got it right earlier this year,
....If you think back to the Swift Boat debacle of 2004, the surface issue was John Kerry's honesty and bravery as a sailor in Vietnam. Far more powerful, however, was the meta-message: George Bush slaps John Kerry around and Kerry either can't or won't hit back. For voters concerned with security and the toughness of their leaders, that's a devastating message -- and one that has little or nothing to do with the truth of the surface charges. Someone who can't fight for himself certainly can't fight for you. At the time I called it the "Republicans' bitch-slap theory of electoral politics."In the face of Rummy recent attack on the patriotism all those that disagree with him, the Dems reaction should have been equally has harsh. I personally find nothing more insulting than someone who attacks my patriotism.
The response of every Dem should have been along these lines:
Donald Rumsfeld remarks before the American Legion are the outrageous lies a man who wouldn't know the truth if it bit him on the bottom. How dare he question the patriotism of any American who points out the obvious: he is a miserable failure whose lies and disastrous policies have cost our country dearly in blood and treasure.But, it appears we will have to settle for this from this mornings WaPo,
He, whose reaction to foreign attacks on our liberty and way of life is to immediately demand the suspension of the very liberties that hundreds of thousand of brave soldiers and citizens have fought and died to defend since the founding of our great nations. The very liberties that define us as a people and great civilization.
How dare he question the patriotism of any American!
Donald Rumsfeld is a scurrilous coward and a liar who should immediatly resign!
And if Mr. Rumsfeld is offended by this response, he knows where he can find use.
In Rumsfeld, Democrats believe they have found both a useful antagonist and a stand-in for President Bush and what they see as his blunders in Iraq. This week, Democrats interpreted a speech of his as equating critics of the war in Iraq to appeasers of Adolf Hitler, an interpretation that Pentagon spokesman Eric Ruff disputed. But Democrats said the hyperbolic attack would backfire.
But even before that, Democrats and some Republicans had maintained that Bush has never held anyone in his administration accountable for decisions in the Iraq war that many military analysts say went disastrously wrong. The decisions include not mobilizing enough troops to keep the peace, disbanding the entire Iraqi army and purging all members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party -- including teachers and low-level technocrats -- from the Iraqi government.
Rather than change the subject to domestic issues, as they have tried in past years, Democrats are hoping to confront Republicans head-on.
"We will not be Swift-boated on this issue," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in an interview, alluding to the assault by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth on the Vietnam war record of Democratic candidate John F. Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign. "We will fight them on national security."
Front and center of that campaign may be the attack on Rumsfeld. Some Democratic House candidates, such as Diane Farrell in Connecticut's 4th District, have been encouraging Democratic leaders to move formally for a vote of no confidence. And party leadership aides said they are canvassing Democratic members of Congress and exploring the parliamentary mechanism to do so. Before the move is set, the aides said, they want to hear from Democrats in tough races who may feel that the move would leave them vulnerable to Republican attacks.