August 11, 2006

Philadelphia Daily Delusions

If I wrote the hare-brained editorial that appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News today, I'd want it left unsigned as well.

A fisking, anyone?

THESE PEOPLE have no shame. Their contempt for democracy is so great they will stop at nothing to undermine it. Their adherence to fundamentalist beliefs that blinds them to reality is frightening. They must be stopped.

And that's just the Republicans.

Nothing like getting your mind-numbed partisanship out front.

Let's start with Vice President Dick Cheney.

Yesterday, Cheney bashed those who voted for Democrat Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Senate primary, claiming that these votes would encourage "al Qaeda types" to think that "they can break the will of the American people."

The idea is that since 18-year incumbent Joe Lieberman lost based on his support for Iraq, Americans opposing the war are waving a white flag of surrender to terrorists.

This is stunningly ignorant logic, as well as annoyingly consistent with the Bush administration's fundamentalist myth that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden - a claim by now well-discounted, most notably by a presidential commission.

Mr. Anonymous Editorialist, are you trying to tell us that Ned Lamont's cries to pull the troops home now—exactly what Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, and the late Abu Musab Zarqawi have called for—is not the exact position of the world's leading terrorists?

The simple fact of the matter is that no matter how you try to shade it, the headlong retreat—or "redeployment" or whatever you want to call it—favored by the radical left is precisely what al Qaeda and similar terrorist groups desire. We know that, because they've said so, repeatedly. The only stunning ignorance displayed here is your own ignorance of the fact that both the terrorists and the Democrats agree that they want the U.S to retreat from the Middle East and stop killing terrorists.

Further, it is precisely the headlong "redeployment" that John Murtha called for from Somalia and heeded by Bill Clinton that resulted in the terror attacks of September 11.

Dead terrorists don't cause problems, and retreating from live terrorists inspires them to attempt greater acts of terror. What part of that logic are you incapable of understanding?

In addition, Mr. Anonymous Editorialist has his fingers crossed and hoped no one would actual check his facts, which would reveal that the 9/11 Commission Report did not say that Saddam's Iraq did not have ties to Osama's al Qaeda. In fact, it said something else entirely.

Bin Ladin also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein's secular regime. Bin Ladin had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Ladin to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Ladin had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior Bin Ladin associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States. Whether Bin Ladin and his organization had roles in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and the thwarted Manila plot to blow up a dozen U.S. commercial aircraft in 1995 remains a matter of substantial uncertainty.

Communications between senior officers of organizations are ties, ladies and gentlemen, whether or not they cooperated on attacks against the United States.

Iraq may not have played a role in the terror attack against America on 9/11, but al Qaeda and Saddam's Iraq certainly had ties to one another dating back to 1994, as stated by then CIA Director George Tenet:

  • Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and al-Qa'ida is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.
  • We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qa'ida going back a decade.
  • Credible information indicates that Iraq and al-Qa'ida have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.
  • Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qa'ida members, including some that have been in Baghdad.
  • We have credible reporting that al-Qa'ida leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al-Qa'ida members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.
  • Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of a relationship with al-Qa'ida, suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.

Since the 9/11 Commission Report was issued, even more documents have shined a light on the connections between al Qaeda, their Taliban hosts, and Iraq. Mr. Anonymous Editorialist can say Iraq had no ties to al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden if he wants, but rational people looking at the still-accumulating evidence will be hard-pressed to draw that same conclusion.

But back to the editorial:

And yet the presidential fog machine has continued to belch out its Iraq-al Qaeda-link fumes to the extent that a recent poll suggests that 64 percent of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to al Qaeda. More people than ever now believe, according to a new poll, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

No ties in the preceding paragraph has been walked back to "strong links" in this one. I've give this to the writer; when it comes to headlong retreat, he practices what he preaches.

It goes without saying that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction; it is a simple incontrovertible fact. He used thousands of them in his 1980-88 war with Iran, and gassed thousands of Kurds in a single four-day strike on Halabja in 1988. Iraq maintained and declared WMD stockpiles at the end of the 1991 Gulf War, and an Iraqi general says his men moved WMDs out of Iraq into Syria in the weeks before our 2003 invasion. Anonymous may discount it, but as evidence slowly accumulates, even more people will believe in Iraq's WMD capability because it did exist, and it was never fully accounted for.

Ironically, the number who believe in the al Qaeda link is almost precisely the same number of Americans - 62 percent - who believe we are bogged down in Iraq.

For Cheney - and other Republicans like GOP National Chairman Ken Mehlman - to suggest that those Americans are encouraging terrorism is reprehensible.

And yet, we have to go back to the essential fact that John Murtha's 1993 call for retreat from Somalia is directly responsible for Osama Bin Laden's decision to attack America. I certainly know it is not the Democrat's intent to encourage terrorism, but that fact—and it is a fact—remains that that is exactly what their position has done, and will continue to do.

Cheney's comments came out a day before British intelligence officials announced they had thwarted a major terrorist attack. Surely Cheney was aware of the plot and the work to thwart it, and was no doubt aware of the timing of yesterday's announcement.

To exploit a very real terror threat that could have led to major casualties, and to even indirectly implicate Americans who were exercising their democratic right by going to the polls and making a choice borders on the criminal, to say nothing of the insane.

Has Cheney completely lost it?

Mr. Anonymous has no shame. While more than eager to attack Cheney for politicizing events, he studiously avoids his own Party's attempts to politicize things as well. Should we wait until his next editorial comes out calling Teddy Kennedy or Harry Reid insane or asking if they have "completely lost it?" Probably not.

The latest terror scare is upsetting enough: It is bound to lead to havoc and chaos both domestically and internationally. It could damage the economy if fears on flying are sustained. It reopens the profound wounds of 9/11, a scab we should figure by now will never completely heal.

But the real terror is this: While our Vacationer- in-Chief and his vice president shut down dissent, and discourage questions about the way our government has directed our intelligence and military resources toward a single target in Iraq, we are no closer to understanding or dismantling the threat of al Qaeda.

They "shut down dissent," eh? I spent all this effect to fisk an overly-dramatic editorial, and the guy who wrote it will be inside a Halliburton-run concentration camp before he can even read this. Darn.

Interestingly enough, it now seems that how our President has led our intelligence and military resources may have had a direct impact in thwarting this latest attack, as the very intelligence programs that the New York Times is trying to destroy may have provided crucial intelligence. Of course, ensconced in irons in a cell somewhere near Allentown, Mr. Anonymous will never know or admit to that.

Cheney's remarks underscore just how unsophisticated our understanding of terrorism is. We have no more understanding of the global forces at work that lead so many to want to bomb and destroy innocent lives than we did five years ago.

America's latest crisis is not what happened in Connecticut; it's what was going to happen in airplanes over the Atlantic.

The immoral and ridiculous claims coming out of the Bush administration's reign of error could ultimately be responsible for the kind of casualties that al Qaeda can only dream of.

Actually, terrorism is very simple to understand. It isn't a matter of nuance. Islamists want the whole world to subscribe to their way of thinking, and those that don't, they want dead. That is why Islam partitions the world into Dar al Islam, the House of Submission for the true beleivers, and Dar al Harb, the House of War, where infidels must convert, or die. It's actually quite straightforward. Even a Sea Monkey can grasp the basic concept, even if a Philadelphia Daily News editorialist finds it too taxing.

Claims don't kill people, Mr. Anonymous Editorialist.

Terrorists do.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 11, 2006 02:11 PM | TrackBack

One of the Dems running for congress here, in an ad, talks about "keeping our promises" to our troops and veterans. How about the promise that, once we put our troops in harm's way, we give them everything and every bit of support they need to succeed in their mission?

Posted by: SouthernRoots at August 11, 2006 02:58 PM

Here's another resource to use when debunking claims that everyone knew prior to the Iraq invasion that Saddam had no WMDs/al Qadea ties.

Posted by: Granddaddy Long Legs at August 11, 2006 04:06 PM

I think this editorial got it just right;Cheney's logic is ignorant. Neither he nor you have any basis,none,to call fellow Americans terrorism enablers. Your attempts to parlay weak evidence as a firm basis for action is at least the same, consistently ignorant logic displayed by the Veep. Small wonder you cheer Bush calling three countries the "axis of evil" and then believe him as he attacked the least dangerous of the three. And now,has limited ability to deal with NoKo and Iran because he's spent our capital so foolishly.

Nice try,but no sale.

Posted by: TJM at August 11, 2006 04:46 PM

TJM, you need to take a trip around the left side of the blogosphere before you make such inane statements. Or pick up a copy of the New York Times. The biggest terrorist enabler is Pinch Suhlzberger and his right-hand man, Bill Keller. And when you get done, take a look at what is happening today at the United Nations. I would say that forcing Israel into a cease fire is about as enabling as you can get. Appeasement of terrorists is dhimmitude and dhimmitude is enabling. Then there are John Murtha, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Max Cleland, Dennis Kusinich and their MSM mouthpieces, oh and speaking of mouthpieces, Reuters and the AP lead the list. And you might want to take a look at the translated Saddamm documents and some of the history of Iraq, before you call it the "weakest" of the three.

Posted by: Sara (Squiggler) at August 11, 2006 06:15 PM

9/11 was not related to Iraq.

Al Queda was not related to Iraq.

By your logic, WE have "significant ties" to Saddam/Iraq, and Bin Laden/Al Queda. Yer' splittin' hairs.

Our foray into Iraq, no matter what the perceived reason at the time (true conservatisim would have kept us from invading based on the lack of a reasonably substantiated relationship between Iraq and 9/11 and/or Al Queda), has been a failure when judged against any criteria - conservative or liberal.

Why would withdrawal NOT be a viable option at this point?

Exactly what is the mission of our troops? Being policemen in the midst of a Civil War? What is gained or lost by leaving? What is gained or lost by staying? More of the same?

We are fighting the wrong war, and the only patriotic thing to do is to redeploy our assets against out true enemies.

Only a looser who refuses to see the facts for what they are sticks with such a dog of a decision. Your support for continuation of this debacle seems to be based primarily on national pride. Pride shouldn't be the basis for such expensive and self-destructive decisions.

Posted by: smafdy at August 11, 2006 08:09 PM

My personal opinion on what may help win the war on terror, since everyone always mentions him when discussions arise on the subject, is to make a concerted and honest effort, on the part of all institutions and organiations concerned, even to include any and all individuals interested, to hunt down OSAMA BIN LADEN. FIND HIM, FIND HIM. BRING HIM TO NEW YORK IN IRONS, GIVE HIM A FAIR AND IMPARTIAL TRIAL, AND THEN HANG THAT BASTARD.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 11, 2006 08:30 PM

This whole war on terror is pretty interesting: it's over *when* we catch/kill them all. The question is just: all of whom? What's the definition of a terrorist? Are they all muslims? Do they all live in Iraq/Iran/Saudi-Arabia?

"Claims don't kill people, Mr. Anonymous Editorialist.

Terrorists do."

And, if USA kills people, doesn't that make it a terror state?

Killing solves nothing in the long run, not even killing "those damn terrorists". If nothing else, history has proven that right. Eg the first philosopher (how is his name "questionable content"?) was killed, maybe he was called a terrorist in his time as well, but that didn't stop his ideas from spreading.

No matter how hard to try, the only way to really solve any problem is to look at the root causes and find out what *you* are adding to the problem.

The only person you can really change is yourself. Trying to change others has never worked and never will; maybe you should read some Ralph Waldo Emerson or Stephen R. Covey.

Posted by: Arttu at August 12, 2006 05:41 AM

Why would withdrawal NOT be a viable option at this point?

Perfectly viable if the image you want to project to terrorists around the world is weakness and vulnerability.

Terrorists, like the Soviet, view the world through a different lense.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 12, 2006 08:01 AM

"The only person you can really change is yourself" Lovely sentiment; how do I change myself when I've been turned to ashes in the basement of the World Trade Center? By the way, there are more registered Independent voters in Connecticut then Dems and Republicans combined; so Lieberman is hardly finished.

Posted by: Tom TB at August 12, 2006 10:30 AM

Let's get down to brass tacks. It is unquestionably the Right, including Cofederate Yankee, that hates America and wishes the worst for the troops.

The war in Iraq is not in our national interest. I challenge anyone--ANYONE--to make a reasoned, compelling, fact-based argument that explains how I am safer as an American because of the Iraq invasion. Afghanistan is another story--a righteous bust, and one that is being screwed up. I'm talking about Iraq.

If the war is not in our national interest, the deaths of our soldiers are pointless and entirely avoidable.

When the Right argues for the prolongation of the war, they are directly arguing in favor of the continued death of our patriotic men and women in uniform. If you want the war to continue and there's no viable national interest served by it, then all you want is to see our boys and girls killed.

I'm sick to death of the Right telling me what I think and feel. It's my turn. Confederate Yankee, you hate America and everything we stand for. I can tell because you argue in favor of pointless death for the members of our armed services, and you lobby endlessly for the continued undermining of our country's moral high ground. You like torture because it makes America hated around the world, and you like that. I don't know why; I don't understand at all why the Right is so unpatriotic as to want to destroy our position among the family of nations as a beacon of fairness and democracy around the world, but it's what you want. You revel in it.

Finally, what is this bullshit I keep hearing about how the terrorists actually want us out of Iraq, and, thus, ending the war is playing into their hands? Are you freakin' kidding me? The last thing they want is for us to bring our soldiers home to help protect our borders. If we brought our soldiers home and enlisted them in the task of protecting airports and seaports, we would be impregnable. Not a single terrorist would have a chance at doing anything here. They LOVE it that we're over there; that way, they get to kill our soldiers.

Of course, that's the way you like it. I don't know why you and your ilk hate America so much, Confederate Yankee, but you do. It needs to come to an end.

Posted by: Michael at August 12, 2006 11:22 PM

Calm down, surely you must realize that these people have never served.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 12, 2006 11:33 PM


17 years and counting in the US Navy doing intelligence and planning

Posted by: monkeyboy at August 14, 2006 06:55 AM

So, I worked at Greely Hall, wtf, at least I use my own name. I have a plan, where's yours?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 14, 2006 01:34 PM