Sunday, October 10, 2004

No Free Pass

Click here for Amazon!Email conversation between B (blue) and I (red). Portions excerpted for clarity.

What's missing from Bush's vocabulary?

"I made a decision based upon poor intelligence (or I lied)."

""The problem is: I can apologize for the information that turned out to be wrong, but I can't, sincerely at least, apologize for removing Saddam," Bush said, adding, "The world is a better place with Saddam in prison, not in power.""

Those statements would have earned him my vote. His Texan swagger and inability to even consider that he has erred scares me more than Kerry's 20 year record.

I thought it was telling that Bush couldn't answer the last question in the debate. For some reason I respect someone that can admit a mistake and tell me what they are doing to correct it. Bush is incapable of either.

Sorry, but you know very well he no more lied than every other world leader, intelligence agency and pundit that said the same thing he did. Have you heard Edwards' quotes from 2002? Should he apologize for that? Of course not. And neither should Bush. That's what every intelligence agency in the West reported.

Bottom line: on September 14, 2001 George W. Bush promised the American people that we would pursue terrorists and those who harbor them to the ends of the Earth. In destroying Hussein's regime, he followed through on that promise. Of that, there is no doubt.

This isn't about Edwards. Stop changing the topic. Edward's isn't the president of the United States that lead this nation into an unnecessary war against a foe that wasn't an immediate threat. This isn't a point about Edwards or Kerry. It's a point about Bush. Stop changing the topic and try to focus. Talk about Bush. I haven't seen a single comment on your blog that critically evaluates Bush, his cabinet, or his decisions. You seem to be perfectly happy to jump to the 6 year old's excuse of "all the other kids are doing it" or "he did it first". Have you ever heard of groupthink? That's exactly what happened with the pre-war Iraq intelligence and those that requested the intelligence are as culpable as the intelligence agencies. Fact: Bush's administration was planning for the invasion of Iraq before 9/11. Fact: intelligence was sought to support that position.

Even your musings lately show that Saddam was years away from having any capability to theaten Isreal, let alone the U.S. and my family (not that I care about threats to Israell, since I'm an AMERICAN and I care about the U.S., not some sandtrap in the middle of a desert on the other side of the planet).

Bush wants to justify the war in Iraq after the fact and it won't succeed. The ends do not justify the means. The reasons for entering into the engagement cannot be rewritten after the fact, even if there is some newly identified benefit. Even the average American can understand that.

Bottom line: on September 14, 2001 George W. Bush promised the American people that we would pursue terrorists and those who harbor them to the ends of the Earth. In destroying Hussein's regime, he followed through on that promise. Of that, there is no doubt.

First, a faulty policy, so I don't agree with the fundamentals of your bottom line. Further, the policy has been inappropriately applied making it doubly in error. I'm suprised that mature adults in this nation buy the simplisitic statements of a simpleton. Likes attract I suppose. Unfunded mandates like no child left behind (better named no child left ntested) will enable another generation of people ill-equipped to participate in our democracy. That's a good thing if you're an oligarch.

Look, "terrorists" aren't a threat to us. Specific terrorists are. They should be called out and held accountable. Iraq wasn't in that class. They may have had the ability years later, but not when we invaded them. Others have it today! The priorities were misplaced after Afghanistan. Iraq was not an immediate threat and we were put there based upon faulty intelligence at best, lies at worst. It will continue to sap our strength and attention. Its only value to the U.S. is that it may perhaps redirect the islamic fundamentalist away from the homeland.

Either way my government owes its people an apology. Don't even get me started on the apology that is owed this nation for 9/11. Heads should roll but they won't because of the bureaucracy and oligarchy. This is the shame of both parties. How about a few comments on that in your blog? Oh, no, don't speak the real truth as it might tarnish your glorious leader!

...Context: That appears to be biggest difference between the two camps. Kerry seems to understand that the world is not a black and white place where decisions can be made in an instant based upon simple policy statements. The context of the decision is important and needs to be considered. Bush apparently lacks the ability to think beyond the simple set of axioms that govern his worldview. This is why he gets pissed off when people say things that are counter to his viewpoint. If you share his simple-minded axioms and have a modicum of logic, you have to think as he long as you discount context and reality. Policies are a model for the real world. They are an approximation, not reality itself. They need to be evaluated in the context of their application and discarded from time to time if they don't fit. They didn't fit with Iraq at the time. They may have in a future that will not exist. They do fit in other places TODAY, but can't be applied because our attention and resources have been diverted. If I hold as true certain axioms that are absent any evaluation of context, simple logic will lead me to decisions that are erroneous in a given situation. Bush's implementation of policy is a glaring example of this.

...A hidden (or not so hidden) agenda does not remove the fact that Bush needs to take responsibility for his actions. This is a discussion about Bush, not the media, not Kerry, not Edward, not you, and not me. Bush. He's the president and should be able to admit his errors. Even Nixon, Blaire and Clinton did that when they were finally cornered. Admission of error is the sign of true maturity and would earn my vote. Without that I'll be voting against him.

I am going to loop back to Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards for a moment and I will explain why. You are, for whatever reason, willing to blithely ignore their role in the march to war. Let's examine Messrs. Kerry and Edwards in context.

These gentlemen were both members of an exclusive, one-hundred person club that helps set the direction of the United States government called the Senate. Furthermore, both were members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). Not only were they among the most important decision-makers in the land, but they were also privy to highly classified intelligence reports on Iraq to which only the top echelon of government officials had access.

Furthermore, in these positions of leadership, both Kerry and Edwards were beating the drums of war.

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

"I think Iraq is the most serious and imminent threat to our country, and I think Iraq and Saddam Hussein present the most serious and most imminent threat." - Sen. John Edwards (D, NC), 2002, CNN

Cite: Democrats on Iraq

In their positions as Senators and members of the SSCI, they were among the leaders of an overwhelming groundswell of bi-partisan support for military action against Iraq.

Did, as you seem to imply, some malevolent neocon cabal furtively plan and execute the war on Iraq? No. The entire government -- both parties -- constructed the case based upon wide-ranging evidence collected over decades from thousands of sources.

The conclusions of the comprehensive bi-partisan review (Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq) indicated the following, "the [CIA] reasonably and objectively assessed in Iraqi Support for Terrorism that the most problematic area of contact between Iraq and al-Qaida were the reports of training in the use of non-conventional weapons, specifically chemical and biological weapons. [Other portions redacted]".

Yes, you heard that right. The July 2004 after-action report, by a bi-partisan committee, indicates that not only was it a major concern that al-Qaida and Iraq were cooperating, but -- even more ominously -- the major topics of their intercourse were WMD's.

And along the road to war in Iraq, John Kerry and John Edwards stood together, beating the drums of war, until Howard Dean's poll numbers reached their zenith.

Clinton-appointee George Tenet? Janet Reno? Louis Freeh? If we are seeking apologies from our officials, I'd want to start with them, not George W. Bush. Bush inherited nothing less than a viper's nest of terror cells (including one in Columbus, Ohio - is that close enough to home for you?) that were methodically planning the execution of 3,000 American civilians for over half a decade.

You'll get no apology from George W. Bush. He has done exactly what he promised to do on September 14, 2001. John Kerry and John Edwards stood with him then, applauding. They get no free pass on this war from me. Nor should they from you.

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