Saturday, November 13, 2004

Feather Ruffling and Saber-Rattling

Uh oh, fellow blogger Trickish Knave was not impressed with my recent post Getting Back to Reality Now.

TK: "I think people are misinterpreting the "Mission Accomplish" [sic] speech that Bush gave on the carrier. It was the crew, of their own free will, that hung the sign. An old student of mine, who helped hang it up, told me this.

Andy: Yes, of course. I forgot that all battleships come with their own Kinko's so they can print up giant propaganda banners whenever they like. Unfortunately, that doesn't square with the results of the media's fact-finding mission after Bush's speech. Damn that liberal press corps!

TK: "If people can get off the media's bashing of this statement and listen to what the President actually said then the context of the statement is clear:

"Iraq is a dangerous place and we've still got hard work to do, there's still more to be done. And we had just come off a very successful military operation. I was there to thank the troops." - George W. Bush, May 1, 2003

Andy: Well, it seems you've come up with a post-speech quote that the President gave to the press to clarify what the hell he was talking about out there and his reasons for being there. Fine, let's all take your suggestion and read what the President actually said that day. It's all right there in black and white on the official White House webpage. Don't forget to notice the banner at the top of the smiling, joyful Iraqis. At least I guess they're Iraqis celebrating our way to prove it's not a crowd of Jordanians watching a soccer game. So what did the President say?

  • "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." That's from his opening sentence. TK, you've got to be kidding me if you expect us to believe that Bush meant only that the Lincoln's mission was accomplished. His first statement was an absolutely unequivocal declaration of final victory, there's no other way to read that.
  • "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 -- and still goes on." Unfortunately, as shown by the results of the election, 48% of America fails to see the connection between Iraq and September 11. That might have something to do with the government's own commission reporting that there was no relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.
  • "And as of tonight, nearly one-half of al Qaeda's senior operatives have been captured or killed." Over the course of time, Bush would increase this number to 75%, but as I pointed out in my analysis of the final Bush-Kerry debate his context for this assertion is a list of approximately "two dozen" al Qaeda members that the government knew about in September 2001. There's absolutely no reason to think that the vacancies in al Qaeda's management haven't been filled. Oh, and thanks once again for linking Iraq and al Qaeda despite an utter lack of supporting evidence and substantial evidence to the contrary.
  • "We've removed an ally of al Qaeda." Or...not.
  • "No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more. (Applause.) " One might also add, "and because they didn't have any weapons."
  • "With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they got." Except the President did not actually declare war; first of all, he can't, the Constitution doesn't give him that power. Only the Congress can declare war. They voted to override the Constitution and surrender their own authority to the President, an act of which the constitutionality will be forever debated, I'm sure. Even with this authority, the President chose to go to war without actually declaring war. Hence, in his point of view, the prisoners are not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention. Isn't that convenient? (Unfortunately, the G.C. stipulates that its protections must also be extended to any prisoners whose status is in doubt.)
  • "Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger to the civilized world -- and will be confronted." Or even if they don't, hey, what's the difference?
  • "The war on terror is not over; yet it is not endless." I thought it was only fair to include this acknowledgment on the President's part. Still, Bush clearly defined Iraq as a fait accompli. A year and a half later, we know that is not the case.

TK: It is presumptuous and naive to think that all hostilities would come to an end as soon as Bush made his speech that day. One more thing Bush said that the liberals will take literally so that it could be used against him later on. I guess when Clinton was in office and the literal definition of the word "is" and "sexual relations" came into question it was time to hit Websters.

Andy: Sorry TK, but if anyone's taking President Bush literally, it would be the people who voted for him, not "the liberals." Give me a break. Go back and look at the papers from the months before our invasion began. Columnists, military commanders, diplomats, foreign leaders and the general public are all on record questioning Bush's repeated assertions that this would be a swift victory, that we would be welcomed as liberators, etc. Everyone wanted to know, "What is your plan in case you're wrong?" Many, many people predicted exactly the chaos -- specifically, a drawn-out urban guerrilla war -- that we're seeing now. WE knew this was going to take a long time and wasn't going to be easy. The Bush Administration was saying "cakewalk." How DARE you accuse us of having unrealistic expectations.

By the way, Clinton is no longer president. He didn't run for president this year. Why is it that every time someone criticizes Bush, the conservatives all yell, "But Clinton..."??? Do you really want to compare this current fiasco with Monica-gate? The President had a blowjob (or two) from someone who wasn't his wife. Well, that is tacky, to be sure. And he lied about it. But those lies didn't drag us into a war that has cost more than 1,100 American lives and an unguessable number of Iraqi lives.

The conservatives, who always wail about how the government wastes taxpayers' money, spent $64 million investigating Clinton and came up with bupkus, and yet Bush only managed to find $15 million to fund the 9/11 Commission to figure out how three thousand people died.

TK: Come on people, it was the Lincoln's mission that was accomplished. Those people had been out in the Gulf for a long time and were ready to go home. I would expect hostilities and casualties to increase this week when executing a major offensive against the assholes who have buried themselves in Falujah. This is something that should have been done a year ago.

Andy: If Fallujah "should have been done a year ago," WHOSE FAULT IS THAT? Casualties have been increasing for a far longer period of time than just this week. The handoff of "sovereignty" was in June. During that month, there were 44 US casualties. In July we suffered 61. In August, 71. In September, 83. October was better at 67, but that number is still higher than it was in June and July. Currently we have had 48 casualties for the month of November; that's a rate of 3.69 casualties a day. If that keeps up, we're looking at a November total of 110. (These figures from

TK: Contrary to popular opinion and political correctness we should have wiped them out completely and not given the insurgents time to make a stronghold. Incidentally this is something that Bush wanted to do a month ago but was forced to concede to popular opinion instead of listening to his military advisors.

Andy: No, what we should have done is not gone to Iraq in the first place because a lot of reasonably intelligent people were afraid this would happen. You're in the military; how could you not have learned one of the great lessons of Vietnam? Namely, you just can't effectively fight a guerrilla campaign. You'll never be able to wipe them out. Stronghold? It's their home, TK. And what's your source that Bush "conceded to popular opinion"? Also, you just finished saying we should have done Fallujah a "year" ago. It doesn't exactly exculpate Bush to claim he's been wanting to do this for a month. And, are you accusing the President of disregarding expert military advice for fear of losing popular support? Why would he do that? Oh, I forgot, there was a presidential election last week that he won by 3% of the vote.

TK: The success stories just aren't covered in the news. Just the rising death toll, which is surprisingly small, compared to other conflicts we have engaged in, and all the other "failures" attributed to Bush's invasion.

Andy: Are we, as a nation, "surprised" that only 1,100 Americans have died? Are you going to include in your "rising death toll" the estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed, which range up to 100,000? Is that "surprisingly small"? You're in the military, you tell me. And I've asked you this before. Please tell us all about the success stories we're not hearing.

The press isn't just covering the death toll. Kidnappings. Beheadings. Pipeline destruction. Abu Ghraib. Al QaQaa. Suicide bombings. Fallujah. Mosul. Samarra. Pardon my French, but there'd better be some pretty fucking good news to overshadow these catastrophes before we start throwing around the word "success."

TK: Unfortunately, Bush can't give 100% focus to the war effort because it isn't in the forefront of everyone's agenda.

Andy: No one is saying the president doesn't have more than one iron in the fire. We're just saying it's a disaster, is all.

TK: As far as monogamous lesbians are concerned, it wasn't Bush who decided to "protect" the U.S. from that lifestyle- it was the millions of voters who voted for the bills on their ballots.

George W. Bush: "And the preservation of marriage rises to this level of national importance. The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honoring -- honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all. Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife." (February 24, 2004)

TK: Bin Laden may be off dialysis at the moment but he sure as hell would have been on it sooner had Clinton got off his ass and did something when the WTC was bombed the first time. I guess Clinton was too distracted by his intern's DSL's and the fact he was patting himself on the back for lobbing a few tomahawks when the USS Cole was almost sunk in Yemen. We had some soldiers die on his watch too but I keep forgetting that going to war when a Democrat is president is somehow ok.

Andy: Nice try, but Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were not responsible for the 1993 attack, which was perpetrated by Ramzi Yousef and Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. They are both now in jail, along with 19 others who were tried and convicted.

Please find for me any reference to a Republican who urged Clinton to take stronger action against Osama bin Laden. Oh yes, I know that story that Oliver North himself tried to warn us, but that myth was officially debunked by the U.S. Senate. By the way, let us not forget that on August 6, 2001, just five weeks before the attacks, Bush received a security briefing entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." And what was his response? He stayed on vacation. No press conference. No increase in airport security. Didn't even notify the intelligence agencies or law enforcement, let alone "lob a few tomahawks."

In fact, as Richard Clarke's testimony proved, the outgoing Clinton administration warned the Bushies repeatedly about bin Laden and al Qaeda. The result? On September 10, 2001, John Ashcroft cut the Justice Department's counterterrorism budget.

And if you think "going to war when a Democrat is president is...ok," then clearly you have forgotten the ruckus the GOP raised about our involvement in the Balkans. At least Clinton never claimed Milosevic was "a grave and gathering threat" to U.S. security or credited him with possessing weapons he didn't have.

I win.


Trickish Knave said...

Now now, if I spouted some references and a lot dates with quotes around them I could look smart too.

We've hashed some some this out already but eveidently some of my references form earlier posts were glossed over. How convenient. You must know that you aren't the first blogger to post this stuff and I just get tired of responding to the same liberal "Bush lied", "No WMD's", "Halliburton" whinning day in and day out. You would think that after responding to same stuff over and over that I would save my sources.

Why is it that every time someone criticizes Bush, the conservatives all yell, "But Clinton..."???Why is it that every time we were attacked on Clinton's watch he did jack shit about it? Everything is a cause and effect. Hence Clinton's dismissal of those attacks contributed to the buildup leading to September 11.

Oh there are so many comments you made that would just take up too much time for me to deconstruct tonight. I have some grinding on SWG to tend to but I will leave you with this damning bit of sunshine. Aloha!

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
--President Bill Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
--President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
--Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
--Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
Letter to President Clinton, signed by:
-- Democratic Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others, Oct. 9, 1998

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
-Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
-- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by:
-- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), and others, Dec 5, 2001

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e means of delivering them."
-- Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
-- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
-- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
-- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
-- Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

"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

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
-- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do"
-- Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
-- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
-- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

"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

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Trickish Knave said...

If that last post is all it takes to convince people about how "right" Andy's ideals are then why didn't Kerry win? Because not everyone is as easily fooled.

"I win"I didn't know we were trying to "win" anything. But I guess that is the shortcoming of both the liberal and the Democratic party. You show your true colors when you fail to come together as Americans by having this loyalty to your party and not to your nation.

I have seen more sore losers than sore winners at the outcome of this election. Your "debunking" falls short and I will make a post on my blog when I get the time. Unfortunately, I have to try and get back to sea and this kidney stone is not cooperating.

I will make the following comment though concerning all the source citing. I can go tit for tat and find my own cources to corroborate my side. Instead of making this harder on each other, why don't we stick to ideas. Instead of just offering a shit sandwich of how Bush sucks tell me how you, or anyone else, could do it differently.

Andy said...

Au contraire, Trickish Knave. If anyone is easily fooled, it's clearly the Republican voters. There is academic proof of this, available at Overwhelmingly, Kerry supporters and other Democrats are far less likely to hold gross misconceptions about current events and have a firmer grasp on their candidate's positions. How could I have "fooled" anyone with this post? I'm just sticking to the facts, and I back them up.

I confess that my parting shot "I win" was puerile, but you pulled an equally cheap shot when you borrow a line from the RNC gestapo and accuse me of putting party loyalty above the best interests of America. What I believe is best for America happens to align more with Democrat positions than Republican positions. And do not give me this "fail to come together" crap. I refuse to "come together" with a President who makes enshrining discrimination in the Constitution a national priority. As the bumper sticker says, "Dissent is patriotic." Why should I put my core beliefs aside for the sake of national unity? That's why we have democracy. It's both my right and my obligation to speak up about my beliefs and try to win people over. Fortunately for me, I have facts on my side. You have rhetoric.

I can't wait to read your formal response to my post.

And as for abandoning the research/source aspect and sticking to ideas, this is MY blog. You're free to comment as you will and do as you like with your own blog, but I am more interested in preparing fact-based critiques of the current administration.

I will, however, take up your challenge and make a post in the near future where I will outline what I would have done different with regard to Iraq and what I suggest doing from here.

Andy said...

PS...I got wildly taken off on a tangent here by TK anyway; I think if you refer back to the original post, the point I was trying to make was more a criticism of the way our country seems more interested in the obvious outcome of a bizarre, macabre murder trial that has absolutely no bearing on their individual lives rather than this war with global implications we are currently involved with. What I wanted to say was, our priorities are messed up.

Trickish Knave said...

I can see that thisis quickly going nowhere. You can say your sources are fact all you want but even your own sources verify my position. Thanks for lightening my workload!

I can see this is going to lead nowhere. I can find just as many sources to counter your arguments. You do not get the main point of many of my statements and bring in more fluff to smokescreen what is being debated. Tried and true liberal tactics.

I meant what I said about liberals and Democrats failing ot come together as Americans. You took that out of context but I think you know it's true. You go on a soapbox and defend your stance by proving my point! Thanks again for making my job easier. I did not say you had to support the president, just your fellow Americans. But again, you think along a 2 party ideology and mention how Bush sucks again.

I am not asking you to abandon your blog foundation with your "fact finding critiques". Again you take something to the extreme and think I am trying to shut you down when all I was saying was I am sick of going through this repeated intellectual fencing match. You aren't the only blog I read and I am drained by the time I get to yours. Like I said before, I should just cut and paste my facts slamming the same old rhetoric the Dems use to try and gain sympathy for their party.

Anonymous said...

Andy, your research and writing are convincing, even brilliant. In the face of the evidence, which is as plain as day, your critic can only lob random, weak sallies at Bill Clinton and "the liberals." Most interesting to me was how he said Bush was "forced to concede" to popular sentiment and not go into Fallujah when the US Marines could have quelled the insurgency. Not exactly the hallmark of a strong, decisive leader, is it. Clearly Bush was "forced" by no one, but rather of his own free will chose to delay the inevitable bloodshed in order to gain pre-election "capital," since the American people, since Vietnam, have no stomach for bloodshed. Is that not perhaps a bit cynical? I'm not saying other leaders haven't done similarly, but let's give credit or blame where it's due. Yes, Clinton had an affair, and that was wrong and certainly tacky, as you say. But we need to focus on the issue at hand, as painful as that may be for some who are bent on supporting the president -- whichever president -- in whatever he does. That's not very realistic. Let's not be partisan; it doesn't help anything. Good work, Andy.