September 25, 2004  ·  Lessig

So CBS thought it was appropriate to run a stupidly irrelevant story about what the President did 30 years ago. It got busted by the bloggers when it turned out that its sources were bad.

Now CBS has decided that it is inappropriate to run a story about the Iraq War so close to the election.

So let’s see what CBS believes the word “appropriate” means:

It is appropriate to run a story that has nothing to do with the President’s current ability to run the nation, and that offers nothing at all helpful or informative about policy decisions we Americans are supposed to make.

But it is inappropriate to run a story about perhaps the most important policy decision the President made, which, if people understood more, would directly affect their judgment about the President’s ability to run the nation.

Why CBS thought the guard story appropriate, I have no idea. But they could only think it inappropriate to run a real and relevant news story if it is as false and ridiculous as the guard story.

If it is a false story, then they should never run it. But if the story is true, then the failure to run it is the purest act of cowardice. Just the sort of “news” we get when the media is controlled by a few suck-up giants.

  • anonymous

    I am sure the fact that Summer Redstone, CEO of Viacom, CBS’s parent company, is a Bush support, has NOTHING to do with this…
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005669

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Actually, one could legitimately argue that CBS has reason to revisit their authentication procedures concerning stories involving forged documents. And, on a human level, they’re just not in the best position to be taking on the topic right now.

    By the way, not to minimize the great investigative work done by the bloggers, but it’s a little-noted fact that the story was at the same time being pushed to major media by a right-wing PR firm.

    That does not mean, as some people have thought, that the bloggers were tools of the PR firm. The two tracks seem to have developed separately then merged.

    However, it’s important to know that the bloggers here had the wind at their backs, instead of shouting to the wind.

  • Alan McCann

    “But they could only think it inappropriate to run a real and relevant news story if it is as false and ridiculous as the guard story.”

    Bingo!

    If other reports are to be trusted, the story was to be about the apparent use of forged documents by the administration to support the decision to go to war against Iraq. The “16 words” in Bush’s speech about Iraq seeking nuclear materials was supposed to be tied to the Niger documents (now thought to be forged by French agents). Except there is a problem in that the speech was mentioning other intelligence from British agents that existed before these forged documents were even known to exist.

    “If it is a false story, then they should never run it.”

    How about a codemnation for the fact that the second story ever got this far based on belief rather than fact (no pun intended).

    The ethics of CBS are on full display for anyone willing to look at them. Just the sort of behavior we get when the news is controlled by a few giants who think they are the elite.

    The wall has come down and the truth of elitist thinking is laid bare for all too see.

    Seth said:
    “However, it�s important to know that the bloggers here had the wind at their backs, instead of shouting to the wind.”

    So what you are saying is that because one side was pushing it that made the facts less true? Or are you arguing that bloggers don’t have as much ability to impact the news as this event would seem to indicate?

  • Joseph Pietro Riolo

    Professor Lessig,

    Are you sure that your post is not driven by your
    strong hatred for President Bush? Just look at all
    the news about Iraq war. Are they bad for Bush?
    Definitely yes. Can any TV media provide balanced
    coverage on Iraq war? Definitely no. Then, what
    are you trying to make a point? Your point seems to
    say that CBS should keep on providing totally unbalanced
    news on Iraq war to make Bush look bad so that he can
    be defeated at election (which is your goal).

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    <riolo@voicenet.com>

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions
    in this comment in the public domain.

  • lessig

    I want the news to report the truth. Do I think the truth about the war would further weaken the Bush presidency? Yes. Do I want Bush defeated? Absolutely. But it disgusts me that we waste time in this election issues like the issues Rather raised.

  • http://www.reddink.com/INDEX Catalyst4Christ

    Many souls go to Hell because they didn’t honor the Trinity in their Finite Existence: Idolatry/abortion/vanity; We’re mortal sinners with only so much time on this morally-decayed-planet. Your choice.

  • Brentmeister General

    I want the news to report the truth.

    1. this is not possible with current institutions. the internet is a better forum for truth (or more precisely for weeding out the lies) (e.g. democracynow.org)

    2. it is my understanding that any story about the war has to be approved by the military, so it is perfectly appropriate for cbs to decide not to run a story about the war as it is not their choice. (i’m a little embarrased that i don’t recall the source of my understanding)

  • Brentmeister General

    my understanding may be incorrect in that my source probably said that any media coverage of the war taken in the geographic area of iraq must first be approved by the military. sorry for any confusion.

  • http://houseofthedead.org rsklnkv

    “Your point seems to
    say that CBS should keep on providing totally unbalanced
    news on Iraq war …”
    I dunno what the crazy-hell you’ve been watching Riolo,
    but CBS is so far from providing “unbalanced news” I shudder to think what you consider balanced. Unless I missed all this suppossed Bush-bashing, besides this ridiculous matter relating to Bushs ‘service’ record, it’s the same drivel you find on any other mainstream news media corporation. Let’s not even get into the fact that the content of those false documents are not even being debated, even though it’s known to be true at its core. The only thing media covers is that those particular records are faked.
    It blows my mind how grey the line has become between the left and the right. It seems the underlying agendas are the same for both : Corporate dominance. When it becomes clear enough that Bush might lose, they will bash him. Until then all they will give us are some cheap shots, perhaps, that ultimately do nothing to expose the war-mongering and fundamentalist christian agenda the current administration maintains. If the reality is that the Iraq invasion is f@cked, are you saying that media should cease reporting the truth because it might make Bush look bad?!? Confusing and scary, pal. Further, if you think CBS, NBC, or any other corporation is giving us accurate coverage of the war, you might want to dig a bit deeper, cause you don’t know the friggin half of it.

  • Max Lybbert

    It’s pretty well-established that CBS employees (and Viacom execs) donate far more to Democratic causes than Republican causes. It’s also pretty well-established that Fox News’s reporting is Republican-friendly. If either side admitted their bias I wouldn’t hold it against them.

    Lessig clearly has pro-Kerry feelings, but he’s honest about it. Knowing that, I can reword the statement “if people knew more about Bush’s handling of the war, they would likely change their opinion about his leadership” to “if people believed like I do about …” and live a happy life.

    I think it’s pretty obvious why CBS has dropped the war story, the “memogate”/”Rathergate” issue has hurt CBS’s credibilty when it comes to fair reporting on the President. It’s sad, since I hate preaching to the choir. I like hearing opposing views, since it does lead me to look at things from different angles.

    However, I expect the other side to do the same. When 14 of Iraq’s 18 states are calm enough to hold elections, I don’t think that the situation should be called “f@cked” without noting that the “f@cked situation” only applies to a small portion of the country.

  • Joseph Pietro Riolo

    To rsklnkv,

    Here is a question for you to think about: Did
    you ever hear any good news from Iraq? If not, why?

    (Hint: It is not that good news is scarce.)

    To Professor Lessig,

    If truth does harm Bush, so be it. If truth will
    harm Kerry, will you accept it?

    News never reports truth. Most of the time, it reports
    only facts and the facts are not equivalent to truth.
    Truth is the analytic and synthetic process of putting
    the facts in the proper perspective and through all
    angles.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    <riolo@voicenet.com>

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions
    in this comment in the public domain.

  • Raoul

    The corporate news slant about the Iraq war is decidedly pro Bush. If it were fair we would see:

    1. Bush deliberately lied to Congress and the American people about the imminent danger of Iraq. This fact is indisputable. He also lied about how the Iraqi�s would react and how much the war was going to cost. He told us that the Iraqi oil was going to pay for it. The argument that the intelligence was inaccurate is a joke. Intelligence leaks to U.S. newspapers prior to our illegal invasion routinely mentioned White House pressure to color the intelligence to say that Iraq was a threat when it said otherwise.

    2. We cannot win the war in Iraq. It is beyond dispute that the only way to defeat an insurgency is to take away the insurgents popular support. The insurgencies popular support grows every day. The Iraqi�s have exercised their democratic vote and they voted us out.

    3. Saddam was left in power and even supplied with U.S. weapons, money, and support for 30 years for a reason. He was a secular leader and the enemy of people like Bin Laden.

    4. Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with the war on terror, aside from the fact that Bin Laden wanted us to invade.

    5. The terrorists want Bush to be re-elected. Ask yourself this question: What did Bin Laden hope to accomplish by crashing planes into the WTC and the Pentagon? He wanted to provoke us. What happened? We were provoked. Bin Laden said jump and Bush said how high.

    6. Bush is a cheap, two bit, lying idiot who should be impeached.

  • http://houseofthedead.org rsklnkv

    Great replies and thanks for your time.
    “I don�t think that the situation should be called �f@cked� without noting that the �f@cked situation� only applies to a small portion of the country.”
    This would be very true if I was referring to other interests besides the invasion. However, I believe the war was the topic at hand, so in my opinion, f@cked is more than an appropriate term. And just for the sake of argument, you quoted something that was not actually a quote : “f@cked situation”. Who said dat? I was actually asking a question, but I’ll rephrase with (hopefully) a bit more tact. Sorry for the confusion.
    If the reality is that the Iraq (specifically, the U.S. led) invasion is a failure, are you saying that media should cease reporting the truth because it might make Bush look bad?
    Moving on to your question to me Riolo.
    “Here is a question for you to think about: Did
    you ever hear any good news from Iraq? If not, why?”
    The good news is that the US is losing support world-wide for this war. The good news is that the American public is opening their eyes to the atrocities that are inevitable when invading another country for, shall I say, questionable reasons. The good news is, thanks in part to a new round of media (see : blogs, indy news sources) more and more people are able to educate themselves to world events rather than having to rely on corporations for their lies, er, I mean news.
    And I’d love to see some of this good news you speak of if it relates to the U.S occupation of Iraq. Love to.

  • Joseph Pietro Riolo

    To rsklnkv,

    Does it ever occur to you that the reporters chose
    not to report good news and/or TV media chose not
    to report good news? The same is true for blogs.
    Think all of them as filter. What we receive from
    them is hardly the truth (you are confusing facts
    with truth). But then, I strongly doubt that you
    are receptive to good news if it ever comes to you.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    <riolo@voicenet.com>

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions
    in this comment in the public domain.

  • Anonymous

    Does it ever occur to you that the reporters chose
    not to report good news and/or TV media chose not
    to report good news

    All the good news of death, destruction, infrastructure collapse, torture, abuse, and insurgency?

    Are you saying a puppy has been saved recently or something?

    Please provide sources for all the good news from Iraq you feel the media is ignoring. Hint: saying “I can’t because the media doesn’t report it” isn’t good enough.

  • Max Lybbert

    /* 1. Bush deliberately lied to Congress and the American people about the imminent danger of Iraq. This fact is indisputable. He also lied about how the Iraqi�s would react and how much the war was going to cost. He told us that the Iraqi oil was going to pay for it.
    */

    To stay on the same page, let me say that (to me) lying is when you say something you know not to be true. Clinton, for instance, knew for a fact that he had sex with Monica Lewinsky, so saying that he hadn’t would be a lie.

    I don’t think that being wrong about how the Iraqis would react counts as a lie, since it isn’t clear that Bush knew for a fact that the Iraqis would react violently. In fact, word is that 14 out of 18 Iraqi provinces are not reacting violently, and that much of the terrorism in Baghdad is carried out by non-Iraqis.

    I don’t remember the President saying that Iraq was an imminent threat. I clearly remembering Iraq being referred to as a “gathering threat.” In fact, a speech Bush gave in Cincinati at the time seems to carefully avoid calling Iraq an imminent threat. Yes, Bush says, “If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today — and we do — does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?” and, ” Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. Well, we don’t know exactly, and that’s the problem.”

    Yes, much of the evidence Bush cited turned out to be wrong, but the intelligence was gathered by UN weapons inspectors.

    /* The argument that the intelligence was inaccurate is a joke. Intelligence leaks to U.S. newspapers prior to our illegal invasion routinely mentioned White House pressure to color the intelligence to say that Iraq was a threat when it said otherwise.
    */

    Then why wasn’t the issue brought up before the war?

    /* 2. We cannot win the war in Iraq. It is beyond dispute that the only way to defeat an insurgency is to take away the insurgents popular support.
    */

    Well, there is no insurgency in 14 of the 18 provinces, and much of the “insurgency” is carried out by non-Iraqis. I believe this would hurt the popular support.

    /* The Iraqi�s have exercised their democratic vote and they voted us out.
    */

    When? Does terrorism count as a democratic vote? If the Iraqis could vote us out, why would they resort to force? It seems that a well-armed minority wants the US out, and that the US is staying because the majority wants a humane government.

    /* 3. Saddam was left in power and even supplied with U.S. weapons, money, and support for 30 years for a reason. He was a secular leader and the enemy of people like Bin Laden.
    */

    Yes, and he shot at American pilots regularly for 11 years. He may have started out with US support, but he didn’t keep it.

    /* 4. Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with the war on terror, aside from the fact that Bin Laden wanted us to invade.
    */

    Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with Al Quaida’s attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade center. Iraq did support international terrorism, and the “Bush Doctrine” included the concept that the US would end state-sponsored terrorism, since it makes up such a large part of terrorism.

    /* 5. The terrorists want Bush to be re-elected. Ask yourself this question: What did Bin Laden hope to accomplish by crashing planes into the WTC and the Pentagon?
    */

    Actually, Bin Laden did not expect to demolish the WTC. Up until that time, terrorists had determined the perfect body count that upset America, but didn’t lead to meaningful retaliation. Under Clinton, each terrorist attack would be followed by a missile strike on a training camp, in much the same way that Israel respondes to suicide bombings. Is it really all that likely that those training camps were discovered after the terrorist attacks that prompted them? Or is it more that the US already knew about them, and tried to let sleeping dogs lie?

    I belive Bin Laden expected a body count of less than 200 (aside from the passengers), and expected a measured response, which he would then use to recruit new terrorists and to gain popularity and power in his sphere of influence.

    /* 6. Bush is a cheap, two bit, lying idiot who should be impeached.
    */

    There’s no need to get nasty.

  • raoul

    1.) Iraq did not pose an imminent danger to us in any way. This was and is an objectively verifiable fact. Saddam was the mortal enemy of the Islamic Jihadists. If Bush was not lying, then he must think the world is flat too.

    2.) Everyone said it was going to be a quagmire and theat the Iraqi�s would vigorously fight to keep non-Arabs from occupying the most Arab of Arab nations. Every one included our senior military officers and the entire collective of poly-sci departments from coast to coast.

    �since it isn�t clear that Bush knew for a fact that the Iraqis would react violently.� LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    �In fact, word is that 14 out of 18 Iraqi provinces are not reacting violently, and that much of the terrorism in Baghdad is carried out by non-Iraqis� LOL!!!!!!!!! LMMFAO!!!!

    3.) �Yes, much of the evidence Bush cited turned out to be wrong, but the intelligence was gathered by UN weapons inspectors.�

    Now you are lying. The UN weapons inspectors made it clear that containment was working and that Saddam couldn�t muster a pack of matches let alone a box of blackjack fireworks.

    4.) �Then why wasn�t the issue brought up before the war?� It was brought up before the war and it was responded with a chorus of �if you question the President�s motive for war then you are anti-American.� The entire academic and intelligence community was firm that Saddam did not have WMDs. The very suggestion that the intelligence said otherwise is a bold face lie. Any serious analyst or political scientist found such ridiculousness utterly laughable.

    5.) � Does terrorism count as a democratic vote� It obvious that you do not even know the definition of terrorism is. Don�t feel bad neither do most people. For an act to be terrorism it must be directed at a civilian target. Beheading of journalist and oil workers = terrorism. IEDs and RPGs directed at U.S. Military personnel = combat. Airliner into the Pentagon = combat.

    �Bush Doctrine� included the concept that the US would end state-sponsored terrorism� LOLALMMFAO!!!!

    Three years ago, after 9/11, President Bush appeared to draw the same line in the sand. Addressing members of the 101st Airborne Division, he declared, �If you harbor terrorists, you are a terrorist.�

    While delegates to the GOP convention were congratulating themselves for their candidate�s tough stand against terrorism, the Bush administration was creating an international incident�little publicized in the United States�by harboring a notorious group of international terrorists on U.S. soil.

    Earlier this month, three anti-Castro Cuban exiles flew to Miami from Panama after serving four years in prison for �endangering public safety.� They were arrested in 2000 for plotting to assassinate Fidel Castro by planting explosives at a meeting the Cuban dictator planned to hold with university students in Panama.

    The Terrorists that Bush is harboring are:
    Pedro R�mon, sentenced to seven years for the bomb plot in Panama, pleaded guilty in 1986 to bombing Cuba�s mission to the United Nations and later conspiring to murder its ambassador to the UN. A New York detective also fingered R�mon for the machine-gun murders of two political opponents.
    Gaspar Jim�nez, sentenced to eight years for the Panama bomb plot and falsifying documents, had previously served time in Mexico for the attempted kidnapping and murder of Cuban diplomats there. He was also indicted in Florida for blowing the legs off a liberal Miami radio talk show host in 1976. (The indictment was eventually dropped for insufficient evidence, even though the main witness passed several lie-detector tests.)
    Guillermo Novo, sentenced to 7 years for the Panama terror plot, was arrested in 1964 for firing a bazooka at the United Nations, where Che Guevara was speaking. In 1978, he was convicted of participating in one of the worst acts of terrorism ever committed on U.S. soil, the car bombing in Washington, D.C. of former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier. (The conviction was later overturned on a technicality, though Novo was convicted of perjury.)
    A fourth Panama conspirator, Louis Posada Carriles, left Panama for Honduras. He is still wanted in Venezuela on charges of bombing a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing all 73 passengers. In 1998, in an interview with the New York Times from a hideout in Central America, Posada admitted taking part in numerous acts of terrorism, including a wave of Havana hotel bombings in 1997 that killed an Italian tourist. He said his violence was funded by prominent U.S.-based supporters in the Cuban exile community.

    �I will . . . demand that the United States and Panama explain how Posada Carriles used a false U.S. passport,� declared Honduran President Ricardo Maduro. �How did that airplane leave Panama with Posada Carriles, reach Honduras, and wind up in the United States?�

    �We know we�re dealing with important international influences,� the president added. Those influences no doubt include the fact that Posada was trained by the CIA in the 1960s in sabotage techniques, remained on the CIA payroll into the 1970s, and in the mid-1980s (after escaping from a Venezuelan jail) assisted the Reagan administration�s covert supply operation on behalf of the Nicaraguan Contras.

    Then there�s the undeniable fact that Cuban exile terrorists enjoy strong political support in the swing state of Florida, thanks to organized lobbying by such groups as the Cuban American National Foundation. That explains why President Bush, in 2001, rejected the advice of the FBI and freed from INS custody two convicted colleagues of Guillermo Novo in the Letelier assassination.

    �Actually, Bin Laden did not expect to demolish the WTC.� Non-responsive, I never suggested otherwise. Bin Laden predicted that the U.S. was going to invade a Muslim nation and occupy it to get at its oil. This was his mantra and a corner stone of his propaganda. It is mentioned in numerous statements made by Bin Laden before and after 911.

    6.) �There�s no need to get nasty.� You should see what I didn�t post.

  • Max Lybbert

    In an attempt to get one semi-long post instead of a million short ones, I have included various citations from various posters (please do not make the mistake of believing that these posters form a team, or are in complete agreement with each other):

    /* Let�s not even get into the fact that the content of those false documents are not even being debated, even though it�s known to be true at its core. The only thing media covers is that those particular records are faked.
    */

    Part of the proof that the documents are fake is that the dead commander’s wife says they don’t represent his views. In other words, the content of the documents is in dispute.

    /* When it becomes clear enough that Bush might lose, they will bash him. Until then all they will give us are some cheap shots, perhaps, that ultimately do nothing to expose the war-mongering and fundamentalist christian agenda the current administration maintains.
    */

    The media has its own idea of what sells papers. That isn’t an earth-shattering revelation, and neither is the fact that the consequences of how media outlets cover stories are known to sway elections. By the way, I agree with you somewhat. The media didn’t really like the idea of warring with Iraq until Powell was able to get the first UN resolution promising serious consequences. Then the media decided it ought to hop on the bandwagon, but it got off just as troops entered Iraq.

    /* If the reality is that the Iraq invasion is f@cked, are you saying that media should cease reporting the truth because it might make Bush look bad?!?
    */

    OK, now I understand the point here. Sorry if my previous post attached views to you that you don’t have. I will cover the substance of this question at the end of this post.

    /* He told us that the Iraqi oil was going to pay for it.
    */

    Bush said that oil revenues would belong to the Iraqis. In fact, I seem to remember Bush opposing loaning money to Iraq on the grounds that it would be wrong to take the oil revenues from the Iraqis.

    /* Does it ever occur to you that the reporters chose not to report good news and/or TV media chose not
    to report good news?
    */

    It occurs to me that positive news doesn’t grab people’s attention the same way negative news does. Which headline grabs your attention, “Russian School Invaded, Hundreds Held Hostage” or “Weather Nice In Alaska”? This isn’t the media bias people complain about. It’s well-known that crime has dropped significantly for years now, but because of media reports people believe it is at an all-time high.

    I don’t think newspapers should have quotas (for every X negative stories, you need Y positive stories), but I would prefer to have numbers put in perspective. Every so often, the media can be prompted to make a conscious effort to say “violence in 4 out of Iraq’s 18 provinces continued today,” but eventually they get lazy and only write “violence in Iraq continued today.” Since Americans don’t know which Iraqi cities are close to each other, a story that refers to violence in three neighboring Iraqi cities can sound like a wave of violence engulfing the entire country (although a map would put things in perspective).

  • Max Lybbert

    I hate to dominate the board, so this post will be short:

    /* 1.) Iraq did not pose an imminent danger to us in any way.
    */

    I agree, Iraq wasn’t an imminent threat, but he was a gathering threat, and it makes sense to stop a gathering threat before it becomes imminent. And Saddam did have support from countries such as Syria because of his funding of Palestinian Jihadist terrorism.

    /* 2.) Everyone said it was going to be a quagmire … Every one included our senior military officers.
    */

    The expected quagmire was supposed to materialize before Saddam was removed from power, and be in opposition to invasion — not reconstruction.

    Interestingly, our senior military officers had talked Clinton out of invading Afghanistan by claiming there would be a quagmire there that could only be handled by sending Too Many Troops. It’s covered in the 9/11 Commission’s report.

    /* �In fact, word is that 14 out of 18 Iraqi provinces are not reacting violently, and that much of the terrorism in Baghdad is carried out by non-Iraqis� LOL!!!!!!!!! LMMFAO!!!!
    */

    Sorry, LOL doesn’t count as a complete response. And it is well-established that no real terrorism is occuring in much of the country, in particular 14 out of 18 provinces. The Kurdish-controlled north is calm, as are nearly all Shi’ite areas. Terrorism is limited to oil-producing areas, Baghdad, and the Sunni triangle. And a large part of the terrorists are non-Iraqi.

    /* The UN weapons inspectors made it clear that containment was working and that Saddam couldn�t muster a pack of matches let alone a box of blackjack fireworks.
    */

    If you follow the link to the President’s Cincinati speech (above), you will see a list of things that weapons inspectors had found in the years after Desert Storm (not including Hans Blix’s team). Hans Blix may have held the opinion that inspections were working, but his opinion isn’t proof of whether war was justified. Even Blix’s team found weapons that violated the cease-fire.

    /* The entire academic and intelligence community was firm that Saddam did not have WMDs.
    */

    Could you point me to something the academic community said before the invasion that supports this? I remember that the man who refuted Niger’s uranium connection to Iraq said he believed the President’s State of the Union Address was based on information he had not seen that applied to another west African country. In other words, he believed it was plausible that Iraq would have tried to get uranium from another country. Even when refuting the Niger connection, he did make it clear that the State of the Union speech hadn’t raised his eyebrows much.

    /* Beheading of journalist and oil workers = terrorism. IEDs and RPGs directed at U.S. Military personnel = combat.
    */

    So does the beheading of civillains and non-combatants, and the car bombings attempting to decapitate the Iraqi government count as democratic votes? Do the military attacks at soldiers count as democratic votes for that matter? If not, what were you referring to in the original post?

    /* While delegates to the GOP convention were congratulating themselves for their candidate�s tough stand against terrorism, the Bush administration was creating an international incident�little publicized in the United States�by harboring a notorious group of international terrorists on U.S. soil.
    */

    I agree with you on this count. Terrorism is wrong because it targets non-comabatants, and so I can’t imagine many cases where terrorism could be justified. We tried to follow that realpolitik line of thinking with regards to Saddam and others, but it just ended up biting us in the ass. There’s no need to re-learn the lesson.

    /* Bin Laden predicted that the U.S. was going to invade a Muslim nation and occupy it to get at its oil. This was his mantra and a corner stone of his propaganda.
    */

    And so far we still believe that the Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqis. In any event, Bin Laden used this rhetoric to increase his popularity and power in his sphere of influence, just as he used terrorist attacks that usually paid off in 30 to 200 dead civilians to increase his popularity and power as somebody willing to do something agains the Great Satan.

  • Raoul

    Max, While I disagree with you on virtually every point, I have to admit that you manage to keep a certain sense of dignity in your argument. kudos. Unfortunately, my sense of sarcasm can�t be suppressed, for that I apologize.

    �Iraq wasn�t an imminent threat, but he was a gathering threat, and it makes sense to stop a gathering threat before it becomes imminent.�

    It only makes sense if one is weak or cowardly. Bush is obviously not weak and neither is America. That leaves cowardly. I am not afraid of the Islamic Jihadists and I do not need the government to take away my freedoms under the auspice of protecting me. There is not a blow that Iraq or any other 3rd world country could strike that we could not absorb rather easily. If we were to invade a country and show a little courage, our armored columns would have pivoted and charged into Saudi Arabia. Anything less than that was chicken.

    “Do the military attacks at soldiers count as democratic votes for that matter?”

    Obviously.

    �The expected quagmire was supposed to materialize before Saddam was removed from power, and be in opposition to invasion � not reconstruction.�

    The invasion isn�t over yet.

    “And a large part of the terrorists are non-Iraqi.”

    Urban myth. Unless of course you are referring to the kidnaping and beheadings, then you may be correct as these are actually terrorist activities. However, virtually all of the IED attacks, RPG attacks and ambushes are carried out by locals. Not unlike the Boston tea party or Washington�s crossing the Delaware. Most are carried out by Patriotic Iraqis. Not that I have any inordinate respect for Patriotism as it is after all the last refuge of scoundrels (i.e. Bush Administration).

    The result of our invasion will result in a Shia dominated Islamic state that is infinitely more dangerous than the threat posed by the Baathists. I will gladly deposit any amount of money in escrow for a wager on this issue. Name your wager.

    The Baathists were our greatest Arab allies in our fight with the Whabbi [sic] Jiahadists in bed with the Bush Administration. And Bush went and attacked them, the Jihadists sworn enemies, what an idiot. An act worthy of a charge of treason.

    In 1988, when Saddam gassed the Kurds, do you recall what the White House response was? Nothing, not a peep, not a word, nothing. Not even a speech on the white House Lawn or a statement by the press secretary. The very idea that after three consecutive Republican administrations who gave Saddam whatever he wanted, with the exception of Herbert Walker�s personal oil interests in Bahrain, that suddenly Saddam is a bad guy is laughable. We currently support numerous sadistic totalitarian regimes in Asia just because they say they are on our side in the war on terror. A leader being a despot never has and never will be a factor in deciding whether or not they are our alley or foe. The question is, and always will be, are they on our side of the dispute?

    By the way there is no war. War is a term of art. No declaration of war has been issued and we are not acting like we are at war. Where is the oil rationing and the scrap drives. What war? What an insult to those who had to live through war. We are involved in a large scale police raid on a crack house on the other side of the planet.

    Whatever happened to Bush�s campaign pledge that we would not engage in nation building? Oh the flip flopper is Bush. And don�t say 911 changed everything. It didn�t change squat. The world is no more dangerous than before. The problem is that most people had their heads buried in sand. along with Bush, the cheerleader.

    By the way do you remember Bush�s pledge to have four hour work days. The guy was asleep at the wheel when 911 happened and he should be held accountable. It happened on his watch. He is responsible.

    A vote for Bush is a vote for the great Republican beer hall putsch. Say goodbye to the republic. Remember the good old days when we used to stand for freedom and democratic principles. �All men are created equal . . .� No longer. It�s might makes right and death and destruction to all who oppose the multinational energy conglomerates.

    Vladimir Putin�s coup in Russia is a direct result of the �Bush Doctrine� If Bush can take away freedoms and fix elections then why can�t he? His actions are all about oil and energy too. The unintended consequences arising out of Bush�s reckless and lawless actions are going to be staggering.

    It also important to remember that 911 was classic blowback from our actions in the cold war. Does that mean our arming and training an entire generation of Islamic Jihadists was a mistake? Not necessarily. We were after all in a cold war with a country that could blow the crust of the planet with its Nuclear arsenal. The point is that we cannot confront our foes today without admitting that we had something to do with their creation. Reagan referred to the very same group of people as �freedom fighters.�

    Bush should have been honest, instead he lied.

  • Brentmeister General

    let us see if the docile establishment media reports this:

    The Apple Doesn’t Fall far from the Tree

    -brentmeister

  • Rob

    Saddam was not a “gathering threat”, at least not from the intelligence available to the public. He was a leftover threat. Bush 41 thought that Saddam would wither on the vine if isolated from the world, therefore he decided to stop the Gulf War invasion and leave him to rot. That didn’t happen, he remained in power throughout the 1990′s and showed no signs of being toppled; so when the next Republican administration came along, they decided to go ahead and finish the job begun a decade earlier. They used the recent terrorist attacks, Saddam’s refusal to cooperate with weapons inspectors, and FUD about Saddam’s WMD capabilities and links to terrorists to get Congress to authorize the second invasion. Initially everything went well, but democracy has failed to spontaneously spring up and the various factions kept under cover by Saddam’s oppressive regime have grabbed at their chances to assert themselves.

    So we are left with a choice of establishing our own oppressive regime under new strongman Alawi or allowing these factions to fight it out amongst themselves. It’s Vietnam all over again, writ smaller in terms of American casualties but similar nevertheless. Either we accept an endless dribble of casualties while we substitute ourselves for Saddam in terms of suppressing the dissenters, or we let civil war rage in a strategic region. Bush castigates Kerry for saying the world would have been safer if Saddam was left in power, as if we have some sort of moral duty to free all oppressed people everywhere; well, if that’s true then the list of governments we are going to be toppling is long. Burma, China, Zimbabwe, all these countries are due for regime change by that standard. So why Iraq? The question has to be asked, and the answers given by the Bush administration are unsatisfactory.

    I don’t say Bush lied. But he definitely didn’t give us the full story, and what he did present has mostly turned out to be inaccurate.

  • Rob

    I am constantly reminded by this administration of the “you can’t handle the truth” attitude of Col. Jessup from “A Few Good Men”. Just let them do their jobs and everything will be OK, don’t be defeatist, don’t question authority, and don’t ask too closely how the job gets done.

  • Karl

    “The entire academic and intelligence community was firm that Saddam did not have WMDs. The very suggestion that the intelligence said otherwise is a bold face lie. Any serious analyst or political scientist found such ridiculousness utterly laughable.”

    Of course, you know your hyperbole cuts both ways. Both John Kerry and Bill Clinton, as well as pretty much every other big name Dem, are on record stating that Saddam had WMD.

    -kd

  • Max Lybbert

    Responding to Raoul:

    /* [Me]: �And a large part of the terrorists are non-Iraqi.�

    [Raoul]: … virtually all of the IED attacks, RPG attacks and ambushes are carried out by locals.
    */

    This part is correct, but I would like to point out the concrete example of Muqtada Al Sadr. Al Sadr’s Mahdi Army (1) appears to be mainly Iraqi, and (2) did carry out attacks targetted at the US military (although Al Sadr’s Iraqi supporters also attacked an Iraqi police station, murdered a rival cleric, and took part in a vigilantee system of “justice”).

    Why did Al Sadr, even with his Iraqi supporters, want to prevent popular elections? It appears to me that Al Sadr has enough weapons to cow the Iraqis into submission, but not enough support to win a fair election. US forces, btw, aren’t trying to cow all Iraqis into submission, only the Al Sadrs out there.

    /* The result of our invasion will result in a Shia dominated Islamic state that is infinitely more dangerous than the threat posed by the Baathists.
    */

    This will be interesting to watch, because Shia states are no more prone to violence than any other state.

    /* The Baathists were our greatest Arab allies … [a]nd Bush went and attacked them … [a]n act worthy of a charge of treason.
    */

    Throwing out charges of treason instead of a word like “stupidity,” or “short-sightedness,” when “treason” means warring with the US, adhering to US enemies, and aiding and abetting US enemies, only serves to cheapen the charge of treason. I know you understand this, because you don’t like calling the situation in Iraq a “war,” or assymetrical warfare “terrorism.”

    /* In 1988, when Saddam gassed the Kurds, do you recall what the White House response was? Nothing. … We currently support numerous sadistic totalitarian regimes in Asia just because they say they are on our side in the war on terror.
    */

    I agree with you. Nixon thought he was the smartest guy around because he followed Kissinger’s ideas of realpolitik. For all his failings, Carter did have an ideology that he worked hard to follow.

    Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, (and Clinton) have followed Nixon’s example of justifying nonsense positions because a perfect world doesn’t exist. For instance, Reagan decided to take on the Soviet Union, and I applaud him for it. But he also chose to run in the face of terrorism in Beruit, and to support totalitarian dictators in Latin America.

    I would like to see more involvement in Africa (although I would also like the European countries complaining about the African problems to volunteer their own troops, and not ours). In the same vein, targetting only certain terrorists is ridiculus.

    /* By the way there is no war. War is a term of art. No declaration of war has been issued … We are involved in a large scale police raid on a crack house on the other side of the planet.
    */

    This part is true. I know that it isn’t technically a war, but I plan on using the term anyway. Just like I will continue to call Korea and Viet Nam “wars,” although they were police actions as well.

    /* and we are not acting like we are at war. Where is the oil rationing and the scrap drives?
    */

    I didn’t realize that sending thousands of soldiers somewhere was less proof of a war than oil rationing.

    I understand your point, but “war,” as a term of art, doesn’t require the mustering of all national resources to fight. Yes, in many cases nations have rationed goods in order to support the troops, and drafted fighters to have soldiers to support, but that isn’t (as far as I know) a requirement for a bona fide war.

    OTOH, I think that if we were in a WWII world (minting steel pennies so the copper could go into bullet casings, making suits without pocket flaps as a way to save fabric for uniforms, collecting cooking oil for use in bombs, food rationing, victory gardens, etc.), support for the war would be much higher.

    /* Whatever happened to Bush�s campaign pledge that we would not engage in nation building?
    */

    Hmm, perhaps Bush made the statement because at the time he had no desire to get involved in more UN-style nation building in places like Bosnia (that is, hampered by several countries who expect to work the situation to their benefit). I think that the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq are good enough reasons to make an exception to the rule.

    /* By the way do you remember Bush�s pledge to have four hour work days.
    */

    No, honestly I don’t.

    /* The guy was asleep at the wheel when 911 happened and he should be held accountable. … He is responsible.
    */

    The 9/11 Commission seems to believe that there was enough blame to go around. However, I wonder why, in your opinion, Clinton isn’t responsible, since much of the planning and training occurred on Clinton’s watch.

    For the record, I do give Clinton credit for stopping several attacks. Sometimes he got very lucky (eg., LAX bombing plans), and other times his agencies actually uncovered and prevented attacks before they were carried out.

    /* Vladimir Putin�s coup in Russia is a direct result of the �Bush Doctrine� If Bush can take away freedoms and fix elections then why can�t he? His actions are all about oil and energy too. The unintended consequences arising out of Bush�s reckless and lawless actions are going to be staggering.
    */

    Sorry, but something tells me Putin doesn’t decide his next domestic move based on what Bush does domestically in America. I also have to note that nearly every word in this paragraph is an attempt to bait a response, and fundamentally wrong regarding the truth on the ground.

    For one, regardless of Micahel Moore’s opinion, there is no real reason to believe Bush “fixed” the Flroidian election. Yes, some papers conducted their own recount and determined that Gore should have won Florida, but other papers conducted their own recount (under different standards) and determined Bush would have won. The Supreme Court decision simply declared the confusion over which standard to use left it impossible to determine who actually won through manual recounts (suprise!). Hardly a “fixed election.”

    But, then again, Putin hasn’t “fixed” any elections either (at least not in the last month). Yes, Yeltsin resigned so that Putin would be the incumbent for his first election (something Clinton could have done in the face of Lewinsky, but that’s another issue), but that isn’t the same as ballot-stuffing. Putin has also made schanges to the government so that officials that should be elected will be appointed, but that doesn’t fall under fixed elections either.

    And, although several people just assume that Bush’s actions are based on oil, there hasn’t been any decent proof to back the claim up. From now on, I will assume you are motivated by King Tutenkamen and regardless of your actions, I will not be swayed (cf., Bush’s opposition to paying for the Iraqi war through oil revenue).

  • raoul

    I am fifth generation Texan and oilman. G. W. is not a Texan but in addition to being a carpet bagging Yankee he is in the oil business. I’ll tell you a few anecdotal truths about oilman. Take it for what it’s worth. They have a black lust that runs so deeply through their psyche that they will stomp their own family members into dust to get at the black gold. I�ve seen them do it. I�ve felt it myself. It is very similar to Gollum�s [sic] experience in the Lord of the Rings. The concept of poking holes in the ground where free money just blasts out is extremely intoxicating. All of Bush�s policies can be analyzed and reconciled using this core motivation.

    A little evidence to support my contention that many experts expressed their opinion about the WMDs before the war but were silenced. This evidence is only persuasive as it occurred with our allies in Australia.

    The Sydney Morning Herald said Bob Mathews, described as Australia’s leading expert on weapons of mass destruction, told Howard three days before his announcement that Australia was committing troops to the invasion, that the case for war was based on falsehoods. “There are no reasons at the present time to justify supporting a US-led invasion of Iraq,” the letter quoted Mathews as telling Howard. The letter also urged Howard to make a last-ditch effort to persuade the Americans to abandon their war plans. The report described Mathews’ action as a last, desperate act after his superiors repeatedly blocked him from expressing his views.

    An expert�s opinion regarding the situation in Iraq right now (Semper fi):

    William Lind, the author of the Marine Corps’ asymmetric warfare manual, states: “Iraq does not exist. We’ve passed the tipping point where the principal opponents were the Baathists trying to restore the state. Now we are in a war with people who have nothing to do with the state. Is this a classic denouement for a guerrilla war? Yes, the American military is trying to fight a classic war, but this time they’re not leaving behind triumphant guerrillas like Vietnam and Algeria; they’ll be leaving behind a destroyed state, and we can no longer create a new Iraqi state. We’ve handed Osama bin Laden a new home ground; we’ve handed him Mesopotamia. This is both classic and entirely new.”

    As far as Clinton goes he was practically a clone of Herbert Walker. Clinton was a stooge and a sell out. The last decent president we had was Carter and he didn’t do so well. Reagan did ok, but he was crazy.

    As far as the Florida election goes. His brother Jeb ran the whole show and his current activities indicate he’s up to his old tricks.

    Jimmy Carter just accused Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, a Republican, of trying to get the name of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader included on the state ballot, knowing he might divert Democrat votes despite Mr. Nader not meeting Florida election law qualifications.

    Carter further stated: “A fumbling attempt has been made recently to disqualify 22,000 African Americans (likely Democrats), but only 61 Hispanics (likely Republicans), as alleged felons.”

    Jeb Bush has “taken no steps to correct these departures from principles of fair and equal treatment or to prevent them in the future”. “It is unconscionable to perpetuate fraudulent or biased electoral practices in any nation”

  • Max Lybbert

    Well, Raoul, you made quite a few points, some I haven’t heard (so I will need to do some research and get back to you).

    /* I�ll tell you a few anecdotal truths about oilman. Take it for what it�s worth. [snip about gold-fever like oil fever]
    */

    OK, I’ll give a small hint about my youth. My first job was at Cinnabon (the hint is that Cinnabon was founded in the late ’80s or early ’90s — I can’t recall — either way, my first job couldn’t have been earlier than that). After a lot of joking about a “Cinnabon conspiracy,” I went to the library to write up a pretty good fabrication. Everything I ran into about conspiracies was that all good ones have no evidence.

    JFK was killed be a conspiracy. Where’s the proof? He’s dead. There was a secret plot to murder Princess Diana. How do I know? She died. Raoul is channeling King Tutenkamen who wishes to come back from the beyond. My hint? Chewbacca is a wookie.

    I can’t say that there is absolutely no way that Bush is motivated by oil. However, I need more to go on than “Bush once worked for (or owned) an oil exploration company in the ’80s.”

    /* The Sydney Morning Herald said Bob Mathews, described as Australia�s leading expert on weapons of mass destruction, told Howard three days before his announcement that Australia was committing troops to the invasion, that the case for war was based on falsehoods.
    */

    OK, this is something I can use. However, I will need to really look into this, since I haven’t heard about it before.

    /* William Lind, … states: �… We�ve passed the tipping point where the principal opponents were the Baathists trying to restore the state. Now we are in a war with people who have nothing to do with the state. … and we can no longer create a new Iraqi state. …”
    */

    I’ll also need to look further into this. However, I don’t see the reasoning, other than if we pulled out today, Iraq would fall into anarchy and no single power would take control.

    Except, large portions of the country would handle such a pull-out easily. The best-known example would be the Kurdish-controlled north. In any event, we aren’t pulling out right now.

    /* As far as Clinton goes … [he] was a stooge and a sell out.
    */

    I have my own views on the Presidents. I believe Clinton, in his heart, was pretty liberal. However, he knew when to act liberal, and when to disarm the Republicans by agreeing with them. In the end, I believe he deserves a lot of credit, and a lot of blame. But, hey, which President doesn’t?

    I don’t like to bring up Clinton because he is still pretty divisive. I only dragged him into the discussion because he followed the same pragmatic politics that Reagan and George I did, and that George II is willing to follow. Those pragmatic politics didn’t stop Bin Laden (although it is clear that Clinton hated Bin Laden).

    /* As far as the Florida election goes. His brother Jeb ran the whole show and his current activities indicate he�s up to his old tricks.
    */

    Jeb was reelected while every Democrat in Florida claimed the wounds were still sore after 2000. I think it’s pretty clear that Floridians are becoming more conservative. That doesn’t count as fixing an election.

    Again, however, the only proof trotted out here is “Jeb was governor, there was a close election, Jeb’s brother won.” That won’t cut it.

    /* Jimmy Carter just accused Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, a Republican, of trying to get the name of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader included on the state ballot.
    */

    My understanding is that several non-Republicans were also involved in the fight. I’ll look into it when I care enough to find out.

    /* Carter further stated: �A fumbling attempt has been made recently to disqualify 22,000 African Americans (likely Democrats), but only 61 Hispanics (likely Republicans), as alleged felons.�
    */

    I’ve lost a lot of respect for Carter because he’s shown no trouble getting involved in mudslinging like this. This is nothing more than the same claim Michael Moore tried in Farenheit 9/11. And it was rebutted in the last link on my last post.

  • Brentmeister General

    JFK was killed be a conspiracy. Where�s the proof? He�s dead.

    you haven’t talked to any of the witnesses, have you? if you want proof, that would be one place to start.

  • Joseph Pietro Riolo

    To anonymous,

    Good news could be anything that shows the improvements
    over the life that was under Saddam Hussein’s power.
    Do the people feel more free to worship, learn, criticize,
    conduct business affairs, determine their personal
    affairs, and so on? Do they feel more free to set up their
    own court systems? Any more genocide? Any more starvation
    among infants and children? Do they wish that they want
    to return to the life under Saddam Hussein’s power? And
    so on.

    How come that we don’t hear any of these good news? As
    Max Lybbert said, good news doesn’t sell. It is the
    bad, negative news that really sells.

    With the daily, continuous stream of bad news from TV media,
    reporters, and blogs, it will be extremely difficult
    to step outside of the box and take a look through
    a different angle at the daily life in Iraq.

    My last point is that Kerry and his supporters are exploiting
    the daily, continuous stream of bad news from Iraq to turn
    common people against Bush. This is one of the dirty works
    that are expected from political games. It is disheartening
    but it is nothing new.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    <riolo@voicenet.com>

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions
    in this comment in the public domain.

  • Anonymous

    And it was rebutted in the last link on my last post.

    http://www.opednews.com/wade_071004_deception.htm

    “This is a devious attempt to lie by Kopel, yet blame it on the people he is attacking. The answer though, reveals a consistent theme from the right since this movie threatened to open up. Dismiss it out of hand, by any means possible. Call it propaganda, but follow that up by saying, so don�t see it. Say that you found a lie here or there, do not substantiate that accusation, but again dismiss it out of hand.”

  • Max Lybbert

    Sorry, but the Anthony Wade piece trying to rebut Koppel falls flat.

    • Compare Wade’s statements

      Now, being the eternal optimist, I was hoping that Mr. Kopel would have been from the objective, independent thinking line of reviewers. … Until you actually go to their site and realize that it is nothing more than another conservative think tank

      and

      Again, Moore makes no bones about his slant in this film. He is not required to show every opposing view.

      So, is having a slant good or bad?

    • What about the passage
    • The alleged question is asking that even though there are lies in the movie, doesn�t it contain important truths nonetheless? … The actual question being asked is that even considering the film can be taken as propaganda, … shouldn�t the truths contained be addressed.

      Now, could this quote be applied to Koppel? For instance, I have read Moore’s response, and it doesn’t address the parts Koppel says it doesn’t.

    • For that matter, why promote a two hour propaganda film and denounce a thirty second propaganda commercial? Both labeled themselves as propaganda, so that can’t be the reason.
    • In any event, deceit 4 is the one I was referring to (“Second, make sure the chairman of your campaign is also the vote count woman. And that her state has hired a company that’s gonna knock voters off the rolls who aren’t likely to vote for you. You can usually tell ‘em by the color of their skin.”)
    • Koppel rebuts this by linking to a newspaper article, which Wade makes no serious effort to rebut (“Mr. Kopel, was Katherine Harris in charge of the vote count AND Bush�s Florida campaign co-chair AND did she eventually certify an incomplete vote count? Those are the salient points. The attempts to misdirect by pointing out a number like 1,100, which does not take into account all of the reports of disenfranchisement, is again quite transparent. The number is not 1,100, it is over 200,000. Moore did not say that the purge targeted black felons; the obvious point is that minorities are more likely to be the felons who are being purged.”), instead he “attempts to misdirect” by pointing to his own, unsupported (at least in this document) number, and by calling Kathleen Harris’s integrity into question. That’s it.

      Regarding Kathleen Harris, with the legal team Gore put together, do you honestly think there’s any chance that a true conflict of interest on this scale would have been overlooked? BTW, this kind of conflict of interest would have been illegal if Harris had some real chance to affect vote counts (but she didn’t, her job was much like the State Clerk of Court).

      Oh, and he implies that it was wrong to purge felons from the voter list — even though the purge was required by state law (as stated in Koppel’s newspaper article, “State lawmakers decided to weed out felons and other ineligible voters in 1998 after a Miami mayoral election was overturned because votes had been cast by the convicted and the dead.”) — because felons are more often Democratic and more often black. That’s his rebuttal, and it falls flat.

    That last bit of information is why I think Carter should think about his reputation as an impartial expert in these kind of matters before he spouts off about “attempts” to “illegally” disenfranchise voters.

  • Max Lybbert

    I get a lot better at shortening my arguments right after I post the long version.

    The short version of my last post could be written:

    In Fahrenheit 9/11,Moore suggested that Kathleen Harris, “hired a company [to] knock voters off the rolls who [weren't] likely to vote for [Bush].” and that the company could “tell �em by the color of their skin.�

    When Koppel pointed out that the voter purge wasn’t race-based, but conviction-based (that is, convicted felons were purged, not necessarily blacks), Anthony Wade came in on his shining white horse to say, “Moore did not say that the purge targeted black felons; [just that] minorities are more likely to be the felons who are being purged.”

    Wade did not point out that a 1998 mayoral election turned out to be such a fiasco that the purge was simply an attempt to comply with state election law. Instead, Wade uses the exact same tactic he accuses Koppel of to distort the record. Wade doesn’t even address whether it was unfair, in his opinion, for Harris to enforce state law. This begs the question “what’s the problem?” Any response to what might upset Moore or Wade is met with a “that’s not why I’m mad” dance.

    I will cover Harris and conflicts of interest in my next long post, but for now let’s recognize that Wade spent more time deflecting the charge than answering it. “We didn’t say there was racism, just that convicts who can’t legally vote were prevented from voting.” In passing, I will note that Wade ignores Koppel’s point that “footage” of blacks being turned away should have been labeled “footage of election officials having trouble with new voter machines.”

    Now Carter has spouted off and claimed that thousands of blacks are being removed from the voting lists, while far fewer Hispanics are. Something tells me that if I told Carter the removal isn’t racist, but required by law, he would say “I never called it racist, I just said blacks were being removed in large numbers while other races aren’t.”

  • Max Lybbert

    In a previous post I was a little sloppy in explaining conflicts of interest, so I would like to correc the issue here.

    First, a conflict of interest is not automatically illegal. Usually professionals likely to have a conflict of interest (eg., attorneys, accountants, real estate brokers) are required to point it out to their clients. Attorneys have special rules and can be barred from representing somebody due to a potential conflict of interest.

    However, government officials (eg., judges, Kathleen Harris) don’t really have the ability to “disclose” their conflict of interest, so they are more often required to sit things out. In Harris’s case, however, as a public offical, any official act (like certifying an election) would be part of the public record, and reviewable. If she went ahead and certified the election while legally unable to do so, a judge could review the record and overturn the certification. Since Gore’s legal team tried some pretty wild legal theories to invalidate the election results (including arguments about the “butterfly ballot” that were laughed out of court), I would expect them to have challenged her certification if it were at all challengeable.

    I’m not an attorney, so I’ll note that the rest of this post is outside my expertise. However, my understanding of why Harris’s certification was legitimate is that she didn’t really do anything but sign papers. She didn’t actually count the ballots by hand, or run them through a machine in her office, or anything of the sort (ballot counting happened at the precincts where the voting took place, the numbers were sent to her office where they were added up and put on a paper for her to sign).

    There is a question of whether it was proper for her to certify the totals while a lawsuit disputed the results, and while some counties had chosen to begin a manual recount that could not be completed before she was required to sign the papers. That is what was disputed, and sent to the Supreme Court. In the end, several judges reviewed Harris’s decision and decided that she didn’t do anything wrong by signing the papers in question. The Supreme Court has the record online.

  • http://www.cs.duke.edu/~justin/ Justin

    Max:

    The whole anti-felon frenzy in Florida was whipped up over 105 felons who voted in the 1997 Miami mayor’s race. No, they shouldn’t have voted, and yes, the state has an obligation to uphold its laws.

    I’m not disputing that.

    What I (and other people here) are saying is that Katherine Harris used the anti-felon statute as an excuse to conduct widespread purges of a block of citizens she knew to be overwhelmingly minorities, and overwhelmingly Democrats. For example, I don’t have to be a genius to realize that if I purge voters who moved to my state from Utah, Texas, or Kansas on the grounds of “registering to vote in multiple states”, I’m going to knock a lot of conservatives off the rolls.

    You claim she was only enforcing state law. How is knocking tens of thousands of eligible voters off the rolls “enforcing state laws”??

    Many Florida legislators have criticized Database Technologies for accepting $4 million for what they consider shoddy work. But company officials insist the state caused the problem.

    “We warned them,” said James E. Lee, vice president of communications for the company. The list “was exactly what the state wanted. They said, ‘The counties will verify the information, so you don’t have to.’ ”

    And who do you think “the state” is? I’m guessing it’s not the Democratic party.

    The Supreme Court decision was a complete joke, considering that it explictly claimed that the decision was for this case and this case only, and that this decision could not be cited by any court at any other time:

    “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, as the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.”

    Katherine Harris was in position to set parameters for the felon list — what were acceptable criteria to use for matches, whether or not to include felons from other states who had gotten their voting rights back in those states, etc — and to set the criteria for counting absentee ballots.

    Read any of the investigative reports from Greg Palast about the Florida situation.

  • raoul

    Research? No, no let�s not confuse ourselves with the facts.

    The Chewbacca defense! Not the dreaded Chewbacca defense. �Why would a seven wookie be on a planet with a bunch of two foot ewoks? It doesn�t make any sense, it�s the Chewbacca defense. Look at the monkey . . look at the monkey.�

    FYI, I never suggested anything about a conspiracy about anything. People in certain positions with certain characteristics tend to behave in certain fashions.

    �Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, as the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.�

    The Supreme Court decision was an absolute joke and an example of the quickness with which so called conservatives will trample on states rights when they get find the need. So called conservatives are such the flip flopping judicial activists it almost funny.

  • Anonymous

    “Do the people feel more free to worship, learn, criticize,
    conduct business affairs, determine their personal
    affairs, and so on?” No. Unless they want a 500 pound bomb dropped on their block.

    “Do they feel more free to set up their own court systems?” No, unless you consider letting the foriegn invaders set up the courts to be equitable with setting up one’s own courts.

    Any more genocide? Plenty to still go around and they’re learing from the best. The Americans were the best at genocide. We exterminated upwards of 30 million people and no one seems to remember let alone care. We made the Nazi’s look like cheap amateurs. As long as your a Baathist or anyone who disagrees with the US it’s open season.

    Any more starvation among infants and children? Well only for those who haven’t been blown to pieces by our 500 lb smart munitions.

    Do they wish that they want to return to the life under Saddam Hussein�s power? As a matter of fact Saddam leads the latest gallup pole finds that 42% of the Iraqi general propulation voting for him in the election if given the choice.

    How funny would that be if the Iraqi’s vote Saddam back into office. GW is such an idiot to spend so much blood, treasure and respect and have nothing to show for it. If he were a Ranger starting pitcher he would be 1 and 19 on the season with an ERA of about 14.

  • raoul

    “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

  • http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/MortazaviBlog/ M. Mortazavi

    I couldn’t agree more with the frustration. I’ve call the phenomenon media as theater.

  • Max Lybbert

    All right, I no longer feel like I’m the only one posting here.

    In response to the latest posts:

    /* What I (and other people here) are saying is that Katherine Harris used the anti-felon statute as an excuse to conduct widespread purges of a block of citizens she knew to be overwhelmingly minorities, and overwhelmingly Democrats.
    */

    And how could she have defined “convicted felons” to not overwhelmingly include minorities or Democrats? I recognize that there is a huge problem with criminal justice in the US, since there is no reason to believe minorities are any more violent than anybody else, but convicted felons are overwhelmingly minority. How could Kathleen Harris have acted differently?

    /* You claim she was only enforcing state law. How is knocking tens of thousands of eligible voters off the rolls �enforcing state laws�?
    */

    You answered this yourself (“The whole anti-felon frenzy in Florida was whipped up over 105 felons who voted in the 1997 Miami mayor�s race. No, they shouldn�t have voted, and yes, the state has an obligation to uphold its laws“).

    I can’t defend the mistake of kicking off eligible voters. But I haven’t heard of any way Harris could have avoided making that mistake.

    Regarding the Supreme Court’s limitation in the Bush v. Gore decision (“Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, as the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.”), I do think that was a poor choice of words. However, if you read the decision, you will see that it is based entirely on facts likely to be unique to that particular case. Of course, since it is unlikely a similar case will come up based on the same basic facts, it wasn’t necessary to write the disclaimer.

    That is the same reason I have a problem with a similar disclaimer in Lawrence and Garner v. Texas (the Texas sodomy lawsuit recently decided). In that opinion, the Supreme Court said “The present case does not involve minors. It does not involve persons who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not easily be refused. It does not involve public conduct or prostitution. It does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter. The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle.”

    For Raoul (“FYI, I never suggested anything about a conspiracy about anything. “), I have to admit that you didn’t say “conspiracy.” However, if Bush had hidden motives for the Iraqi invasion (such as to get the oil), that would probably fall under the common definition of “conspiracy.” The legal definition of “conspiracy” is quite a bit different.

    For the record, Raoul simply said that he is familiar with something I would call a “black gold-fever” (my quotes, not his). I assumed that was to imply Bush had hidden motives for invading Iraq. I have heard several people suggest this, but the only proof they advance is “Bush invaded Iraq, therefore he wants Iraq’s oil.” That isn’t proof.

    Anonymous made a common mistake when discussing the war and the US attempt to “force democracy on Iraqis”:

    /* �Do the people feel more free to worship, learn, criticize, conduct business affairs, determine their personal affairs, and so on?� No. Unless they want a 500 pound bomb dropped on their block.
    */

    What proof do you have that US forces are dropping bombs on streets because people are worshipping, learning, criticizing, conducting legitimate business, etc.?

    The US isn’t fighting with the people who want to vote and make their own choices in a democratic society. The US is fighting with the people (like Muqtada Al Sadr) who are trying to prevent anybody else from making their own choices. That distinction is important. It makes no sense to claim that the US is threatening people and demanding they vote for who they (the Iraqis) want.

    Anonymous then tries to change the subject by referring to genocide, and claiming that America “exterminated upwards of 30 million people.” Since anonymous doesn’t identify those 30 million people, I have to assume he is talking about slaves or American Indians. Deaths of slaves were wrong, without a doubt, and I can’t defend the people who caused their deaths. But it is pretty clear that slaves weren’t systematically killed (like genocide), since slaveowners knew keeping slaves alive was the only way to get slaves to work in the field. Were slaves taken care of? No, not at all. Slaves were whipped and brutalized, but they weren’t systematically killed.

    It is true that for several years after slavery was abolished blacks continued to be brutalized and killed. And, again, that was horrible and wrong. But I don’t think it could fall under genocide, since the government wasn’t coordinating the action (although state governments spent about a hundred years looking the other way). In any event, the US recognized the error, and is still working to repair it.

    The American Indian issue is much harder to defend. Government forces did slaughter several Indians (although I’ve never heard “30 million”). I can’t defend those deaths, either. I can say that — like with the slaves and blacks issue — the US government recognized the mistake and even today tries to rectify the problem.

    Regarding the Ba’athists, US forces aren’t killing people for being Ba’athist. US forces are killing Ba’athists who have commited crimes such as large-scale murder. There is a fundamental difference.

    And, finally, in response to earlier posts:

    (A) I haven’t had enough time to actually look into the claim that Australia knew Iraq either did no have WMDs or would not use any WMDs that it had. However, even assuming this is true, there were other reasons to justify the invasion. In fact, as far as I can tell, the WMD issue was used to justify the invasion to the public, and material breaches of the cease fire (including Iraq’s failure to actually cease firing) justified the invasion under international law.

    (B) I also haven’t had a decent chance to look into the quote “We�ve passed the tipping point where the principal opponents were the Baathists trying to restore the state. Now we are in a war with people who have nothing to do with the state. … [T]his time [we are] not leaving behind triumphant guerrillas like Vietnam and Algeria; [we'll] be leaving behind a destroyed state, and we can no longer create a new Iraqi state.” I no longer view it as a complete non-sequitur. The important point will be when the US forces actually leave. If the forces leave too soon, then yes, the new state will probably not be able to defend itself well. However, it seems impossible (to me) to tear this quote apart since Lind does say this situation is entirely new (so there won’t be much history to support either side). We really will have to see how things play out.

  • http://www.cs.duke.edu/~justin/ Justin

    Max,

    /* You claim she was only enforcing state law. How is knocking tens of thousands of eligible voters off the rolls �enforcing state laws�? */


    You answered this yourself (�The whole anti-felon frenzy in Florida was whipped up over 105 felons who voted in the 1997 Miami mayor�s race. No, they shouldn�t have voted, and yes, the state has an obligation to uphold its laws�).

    I can�t defend the mistake of kicking off eligible voters. But I haven�t heard of any way Harris could have avoided making that mistake.

    Well, she could start by doing her job correctly. This 2002 article investigates the actual list used to purge voters from the rolls, and how Katherine Harris used it to disenfranchise voters.

    DBT, which frequently is hired by the F.B.I. to conduct manhunts, originally proposed using address histories and financial records to confirm the names, but the state declined the cross-checks. In Harris’s elections office files, next to DBT’s sophisticated verification plan, there is a hand-written note: “DON’T NEED.”

    [...]

    After the election, Harris and her elections chief Clay Roberts, testified under oath that verifying the lists was solely the work of county supervisors. But the Florida-DBT contract (marked “Secret” and “Confidential”) holds DBT responsible for “manual verification using telephone calls.” in fact, with the state’s blessing, DBT did not call a single felon. When I asked Roberts about the contract during an interview for BBC television, Roberts ripped off his microphone, ran into his office, locked the door, and called in state troopers to remove us.

    [...]

    DBT claims it warned officials “a significant number of people who were not a felon would be included on the list”; but the state, the company now says, “wanted there to be more names than were actually verified.” Last May, Florida’s legislature barred Harris from using outside firms to build the purge list and ordered her to seek guidance from county elections officials. In defiance, Harris has rebuffed the counties and hired another firm, just in time for Jeb Bush’s reelection fight this fall.

    So, let’s see…Harris

    • Explicitly declined to have DBT conduct standard verification techniques
    • Either lied under oath or was unaware of the contents of a contract her office signed
    • Specifically requested that DBT mark innocent people to be purged, and
    • Ignored a direct order from the Florida legislature.

    Among others (more info available at the above link). I’d call that not doing her job.

    Oh, and a video clip of the incident at Robert’s office is on this BBC website, along with more info.

  • http://www.cs.duke.edu/~justin/ Justin

    The difference between the Lawrence disclaimer and the Bush v. Gore disclaimer is that the first limits the decision to a well-defined and reasonable set of conditions — namely, “The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle” — whereas the latter has a blanket disclaimer. The blanket disclaimer is completely unreasonable; in essense, “this is how you interpret this law, but only this one time, and only because we say so, and you can’t use our logic again, even though our whole purpose is to establish precedents on how to interpret law.”

  • Raoul

    “material breaches of the cease fire (including Iraq�s failure to actually cease firing) justified the invasion under international law.”

    Would you kindly please cite the law you are reffering to. Also please cite the provisons in the cease fire that were violated and the section of the cease fire that provided for the remedy of invasion, occupation, the destruction of the entire contry and handing it over to Muslim extremeists after we get tired.

    We will get tired and we will leave it in a mess and everbody new this going in. I’ll take any action on this proposition.

    Good call, in not referring to the UN Resolutions, as you obviously understand that we have no standing to enforce UN resolutions without the UN.

  • raoul

    An Army Reserve staff sergeant last week wrote a critical analysis of the US prospects in Iraq and now faces disciplinary action for disloyalty and insubordination. If the officer is found guilty, he could face 20 years in prison.

    “I have come to the conclusion that we cannot win here for a number of reasons. Ideology and idealism will never trump history and reality,” wrote Lorentz, who gives four key reasons for the likely failure: a refusal to deal with reality, not understanding what motivates the enemy, an overabundance of guerrilla fighters, and the enemy’s shorter line of supplies and communication.

    “Instead of addressing the reasons why the locals are becoming angry and discontented, we allow politicians in Washington DC to give us pat and convenient reasons that are devoid of any semblance of reality,” “It is tragic, indeed criminal, that our elected public servants would so willingly sacrifice our nation’s prestige and honor as well as the blood and treasure to pursue an agenda that is ahistoric and un-Constitutional.”

    In September 2003, Tim Predmore, an active-duty soldier with the 101st Airborne Division, based in northern Iraq, wrote a scathing letter to his hometown newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star in Illinois. “For the past six months, I have been participating in what I believe to be the great modern lie: Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Predmore’s letter began. “From the moment the first shot was fired in this so-called war of liberation and freedom, hypocrisy reigned,” he continued, labeling the war “the ultimate atrocity” before concluding, “I can no longer justify my service on the basis of what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies.”

  • raoul

    Over the past 30 days, more than 2,300 attacks by insurgents have been directed against civilians and military targets in Iraq, in a pattern that sprawls over nearly every major population center outside the Kurdish north, according to comprehensive data compiled by a private security company (i’m guessing Dyn-Corp) with access to military intelligence reports and its own network of Iraqi informants.

    The sweeping geographical reach of the attacks, from Nineveh and Salahuddin Provinces in the northwest to Babylon and Diyala in the center and Basra in the south, suggests a more widespread resistance than the isolated pockets described by Iraqi government officials.

    The type of attacks ran the gamut: car bombs, time bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, small-arms fire, mortar attacks and land mines.

  • Max Lybbert

    Wow. I didn’t expect such a response.

    It looks like I’ll need to research Kathleen Harris’s voter purge a little more. I can’t defend anything that would unnecessarily purge legitimate voters, but I’m not yet sure that she took steps to do so.

    Justin, while I appreciate the nuances between the two disclaimers, I think the rest of the opinion lays out a pretty good case for the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision. I know some legal experts don’t agree with me (“The biggest problem with Bush v. Gore�well, aside from its very existence!�is that the justices’ writings bear only an incidental relationship to reality”).

    An answer to Raoul’s question about international law needs to recognize that international law is a combination of tradition, treaties, and treaty-made international organizations. The UN Charter (a treaty) for example, condemns wars of agression. However, that condemnation doesn’t extend to all wars or warlike activity (the UN approved Operation Desert Storm, for instance).

    My reference was simply to the cease fire, and the fact that Clinton cited the cease fire as his source of authority to take various military actions, including expansion of the no-fly zone and air strikes on Iraqi military positions. These actions were authorized because the cease fire permitted the US to take military action to enforce it.

    After 11 years of air strikes and similar military action, Iraq continued to violate the cease fire. Anything short of an invasion had been tried, and Iraq continued to violate the cease fire. In the end, there was only one way to enforce the cease fire, and that was to remove the governement that continued to violate it.

  • Max Lybbert

    Two more thoughts for Raoul:

    (1) Military law applies to a special environment. Although it doesn’t seem fair to civilians, there are good reasons for its harshness, so pointing out somebody could face 20 years in prison for statement unpopular with commanders doesn’t really prove much (although it does show his conviction to the statements, assuming he knew the law when making the statements).

    (2) I would like to see the report of attacks you referred to. There are several ways the staements made could be completely true but misleading. I could paraphrase the comments you made as “lots of attacks happened in Iraq, those attacks took place everywhere, those attacks could be classed as kidnappings, RPG attacks, shooting on military, shooting on civilians, bombing, etc.” However, that doesn’t say if RPG attacks took place everywhere or only in Baghdad. It doesn’t say if 90% of the car bombs exploded in Falluja or Basra, etc.

    And to Justin:

    Although I can’t yet defend Kathleen Harris because I don’t yet have enough information to address the charges that have been made. I also can’t promise to have enough information to respond in a reasonable time period.

    I can say that it appears Harris simply decided the state didn’t have to cross-check the list, but that the counties should. This makes quite a bit of sense, since the counties were in a better position to handle the needed cross-checking. County officials should know at least some of the felons living in their area (especially when they can ask local police officers and parole officers). County officials aren’t guaranteed to know every felon in a particular area, but the state is pretty much guaranteed to not know any felon in that same area.

  • raoul

    “An answer to Raoul�s question” I am affraid that aswer is non-responsive. Please cite the specific law or c authority that justifies our invasion based upon the alleged violations of the cease fire. What were the terms of the cease fire agreement, who agreed to it, what was its length? Allege the violation then cite the corresponding term in the cease fire. Then cite the provision that provides for an invasion upon a breach. If you can’t be specific it’s jsut hot air.

    Our invasion of Iraq was an act of naked agression without so much as a plausible pre-text. The biggest kicker is that we aren’t going to accumulate any material benefit.

  • raoul

    Why are we not seeing all of this everynight on the news?

    Accomplishments of the GWB adminisratation:

    *I attacked and took over 2 countries.

    *I spent the U.S. surplus and bankrupted the US Treasury.

    *I shattered the record for the biggest annual deficit in history (not easy!).

    *I set an economic record for the most personal bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.

    *I set all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the stock market.

    *I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.

    *In my first year in office I set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history (tough to beat my dad’s, but I did).

    *After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.

    *I set the record for most campaign fund raising trips by any president in US history.

    *In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.

    *I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in US history.

    *I set the all-time record for most real estate foreclosures in a 12-month period.

    *I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.

    *I set the record for the fewest press conferences of any president, since the advent of TV.

    *I signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any other US president in history.

    *I presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.

    *I cut health care benefits for war veterans.

    *I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.

    *I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.

    *I’ve made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.

    *Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (The poorest multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.)

    *I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously struggle against bankruptcy.

    *I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any market in any country in the history of the world.

    *I am the first president in US history to order a US attack AND military occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the United Nations and the vast majority of the international community.

    *I have created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States, called the “Bureau of omeland Security”(only one letter away from BS).

    *I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any other president in US history (Ronnie was tough to beat, but I did it!!).

    *I am the first president in US history to compel the United Nations remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.

    *I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Elections Monitoring Board.

    *I removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.

    *I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant. I withdrew from the World Court of Law.

    *I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions. *I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations election
    inspectors access during the 2002 US elections.

    *I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.

    *The biggest lifetime contributor to my campaign, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).

    *I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.

    *I am the first president to run and hide when the US came under attack (and then lied, saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1)

    *I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow government.

    *I took the world’s sympathy for the US after 9/11, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).

    *I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.

    *I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

    *I set the all-time record for the number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling their huge investments in corporations bidding for gov’t contracts.

    *I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.

    *I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.

    *RECORDS AND REFERENCES: I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).

    *I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted the military during time of war.

    *I refuse to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use. (wink,wink)

    *All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my fathers library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

    *All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

    *All minutes of meetings of any public corporation for which I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

    *Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.

    With Love,GEORGE W. BUSH
    The White House, Washington, DC

  • Brentmeister General

    Anything short of an invasion had been tried, and Iraq continued to violate the cease fire

    does state sovereignty mean anything? who is in who’s backyard?

  • Max Lybbert

    Raoul posted an incredibly long list about things he faults the President for. I won’t spend the time to respond to each point, but I will cover a representative sample (yes, they are out of order):

    /* I spent the U.S. surplus and bankrupted the US Treasury. I set all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the stock market. In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs. I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any market in any country in the history of the world. I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.
    */

    During the ’90s, Democrats opposed a balanced budget amendment on the grounds that the government sometimes needs to borrow money. The amendment, BTW, had a specific exception permitting a non-balanced budget (that is, deficit spending) in the case of a recession or war.

    When Clinton left office, the bubble had already burst, and the economy was already softening (although the official start of the recession was early in Bush’s Presidency). Although this shows the “I entered office with the strongest economy in US history” bullet point to be false, it also gives a decent reason why deficit spending isn’t such a bad idea today. Part of the deficit is caused by our recent recession (although the economy is now booming in a strange way), and the other part comes from incredible military expenses due to being at war.

    I recognize many people don’t believe our economy is booming, especially after the ’90s tech bubble. However, our GDP continues to rise, and our unemployment rate is low enough to not qualify for a recession. Bankruptcies and foreclosures are still higher than they should be, but those are lagging indicators (they are caused by financial trouble a few months ago). Things could be better, which is why I say the economy is booming in a strange way, but the numbers suggest it is booming.

    /* I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
    */

    I, for one, like this one. In fact, I remember Clinton vowing to execute whoever bombed the Alfred P. Murrah building, before McVeigh was identified.

    /* After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.
    */

    This may be fun to repeat, but people with far more resources than Raoul (the 9/11 Commission) are much more evenhanded on laying blame.

    /* I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.
    */

    I have to assume this is a reference to Pointdexter. And it is true that Pointdexter was convicted of crimes. But it is also true that the conviction was overturned because all the same civil rights that Clinton claimed were violated during his investigation were found (in court) to have been violated during Pointdexter’s investigation.

    So, if Clinton should be considered innocent because of the violation of civil rights he suffered during investigation (and many Democrats would say that he should be), Pointdexter has a court order demanding that he be considered innocent.

    /*I�ve made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history. I set the record for the fewest press conferences of any president, since the advent of TV. All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view. Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.
    */

    It’s hard to prove that President Bush has, in fact, been more secretive than, say, Truman, but it is true that he’s been pretty clammed up. Then again, in the society we live in (and especially after the scrutiny Clinton had to suffer through), do you blame him? The Supreme Court determined that there is nothing illegal about Cheney keeping minutes from several of his energy task force meetings secret. While I like to see transparency in government, I understand why Bush might want to limit — especially through legal means — what he says in public and which records become public.

    Regarding the SEC investigation — I’m not aware of any SEC investigation against anybody that has been made public. I believe some Constitutional right to privacy is involved. This bullet point (and many others) has very questionable relevance (the official point of this discussion).

    /* I set the record for most campaign fund raising trips by any president in US history. Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations. The biggest lifetime contributor to my campaign, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation). I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.
    */

    In other words, “people like me enough to send me money.”

    Oh, you’re complaining about this the same way Republicans used to complain about Clinton’s fundraising (including the Tibetan temple “community outreach” thing with Al Gore). For the record, the current #2 on the lists of “campaign fund raising trips by any president in US history” and “all-time US (and world) record holder[s] for most corporate campaign donations.” is Clinton, and Kerry would push Clinton to #3 if he’s elected in November.

    I don’t like money influencing politics, but Bush isn’t the first political fundraiser of all time (he just happens to be the most succesful). This is another bullet point that seems as irrelevant as Bush’s National Guard record.

    /* I cut health care benefits for war veterans.
    */

    In all honesty, Bush did not cut benefits. The VA identified and closed several VA hospitals that weren’t being used while Bush was President, but that’s not the same thing.

    /* I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind. I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.
    */

    The President needs to determine what’s right for America, not what the world thinks is right for America. BTW, are you aware that the New York Times has said, “these polls show that the same Europeans who overwhelmingly favor the election of John Kerry also favor a weaker America”?

    /* I am the first president in US history to order a US attack AND military occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the United Nations and the vast majority of the international community.
    */

    Taking this in parts:

    “I am the first president in US history to order a US attack AND military occupation of a sovereign nation”

    I seem to remember the US occupying Japan and Germany after WWII. I believe the US annexation of large parts of Mexico (Texas, California, etc.) and the war fought to annex those parts would also count as attack and military occupation, and I believe Hawaii used to be a sovereign nation. That’s just off the top of my head.

    “and I did so against the will of the United Nations”

    True, but not illegally (another document is here) (although Kofi Anan doesn’t agree with me).

    “and the vast majority of the international community.”

    Well, against France and Germany anyway. But France and Germany seem to have the most important opinions.

    /* I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history. I signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any other US president in history.
    */

    This post is getting too long, and meaningfully explaining the whole Patriot Act will only make it incredibly long. My understanding is that much of the Patriot Act codified what judges were already doing (although the library reading provisions fall outside of that). To the extent that the Patriot Act went beyond that mission, you have a point.

    OTOH, no executive order (or simple federal law, for that matter) can amend the Constitution. If it could, why can it still be struck down as unconstitutional?

  • raoul

    Back on Topic

    Great article from the LA Weekly

    When Might Turns Right
    Golly GE, why Big Media is pro-Bush
    by Nikki Finke

    http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/45/deadline-finke.php

    CBS, NBC and ABC all refused Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD advertising during any of the networks� news programming and news magazines and the morning news shows. Executives at Sony Pictures, the distributor of the movie for the home-entertainment market, were stunned. and restricting access to those as well. That becomes very problematic to any advertiser trying to reach an adult audience.�

    For all the hundreds of thousands of words broadcast and written about so-called Rathergate, the news of Sonygate hasn�t received any attention at all. How interesting that Big Media spent so much time spanking � or, worse, ignoring � Kitty Kelley�s newly released The Family that dares to criticize the Bushies. When, by contrast, the networks fell all over themselves basically promoting the bejesus out of that swift-boat book of half-truths and full lies, Unfit for Command

  • raoul

    From the Navy Times

    http://www.navytimes.com/story.php?f=1-NAVYPAPER-370919.php

    The military doesn�t have enough people for its current pace of missions, according to an independent study commissioned by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. But Rumsfeld said he won�t immediately act on the panel�s recommendations.

    900 Americans were killed or wounded in August and a poll highlighted by the CIA in a recent classified briefing showed that 90 percent of Iraqis think of the Americans as occupiers and that half believe the insurgents who target Americans are trying to liberate the country.

  • Anonymous

    From Col. David H. Hackworth (USA Ret.) co-founder and Senior Military Columnist for DefenseWatch magazine. A true American gung ho military commander.

    http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews.cgi?database=Hacks%20Target%20Homepage.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=85&rnd=914.535261601023

    From post-9/11 to the present, the war too has been based on lies fanned by the same Pentagon propaganda machine busy doing everything possible � including the censorship of our troops in Iraq for �national security purposes� � to convince the American people that, as we sadly heard for eight bloody years in Vietnam, there�s �light at the end of the tunnel.�

    We went to war because we were told Iraq had WMD that threatened our country�s security and that Saddam was a key player behind 9/11. Both have been proven to be super whoppers.

    We were also told that liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk with few U.S. casualties and would cost no more than a billion bucks � which would quickly be repaid by Iraqi oil. Yet more duplicity.

    So far I count 1,050 American dead, 7,750 combat wounded and about 30,000 non-battle casualties. And our war costs are already close to a cool $200 billion.

    Like Vietnam, the cover-ups and distortions will continue until the press and the people wake up. Hopefully that will be before the count is 3,000 or 4,000 dead American soldiers.

  • raoul

    Just in case anybody wants to question this guy�s credentials:

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS
    COLONEL DAVID H. HACKWORTH
    (U.S. ARMY, RETIRED)

    Individual Decorations & Service Medals:

    * Distinguished Service Cross (with one Oak Leaf Cluster)
    * Silver Star (with nine Oak Leaf Clusters)
    * Legion of Merit (with three Oak Leaf Clusters)
    * Distinguished Flying Cross
    * Bronze Star Medal (with “V” Device & seven Oak Leaf Clusters)(Seven of the awards for heroism)
    * Purple Heart (with seven Oak Leaf Clusters)
    * Air Medal (with “V” Device & Numeral 34)(One for heroism and 33 for aerial achievement)
    * Army Commendation Medal (w/ “V” Device & 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)
    * Good Conduct Medal
    * World War II Victory Medal
    * Army of Occupation Medal (with Germany and Japan Clasps)
    * National Defense Service Medal (with one Bronze Service Star)
    * Korean Service Medal (with Service Stars for eight campaigns)
    * Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
    * Vietnam Service Medal (2 Silver Service Stars = 10 campaigns)
    * Armed Forces Reserve Medal

    Unit Awards:

    * Presidential Unit Citation
    * Valorous Unit Award (with one Oak Leaf Cluster)
    * Meritorious Unit Commendation

    Badges & Tabs:

    * Combat Infantryman Badge (w/ one Star; representing 2 awards)
    * Master Parachutist Badge
    * Army General Staff Identification Badge

    Foreign Awards:

    * United Nations Service Medal (Korea)
    * Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device (1960)
    * Vietnam Cross of Gallantry (with two Gold Stars)
    * Vietnam Cross of Gallantry (with two Silver Stars)
    * Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal (1st Class)
    * Vietnam Staff Service Medal (1st Class)
    * Vietnam Army Distinguished Service Order, 2d Class
    * Vietnam Parachutist Badge (Master Level)
    * Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
    * Republic of Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation
    * Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (with three Palm oak leaf clusters)
    * Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal, First Class Unit Citation (with one Palm oak leaf cluster)

    World War II Merchant Marine Awards:

    * Pacific War Zone Bar
    * Victory Medal

  • Max Lybbert

    Oops, I forgot to say that most of Enron’s fraudulent activities occured under Clinton’s watch, since Raoul doesn’t take time to point it out.

    Because my links to documents (written by international lawyers) explaining why, under international law, the invasion of Iraq was legal (and describing times where the use of military force hasn’t been authorized, even with the words “all necessary acts”), were buried in my last post, I simply wanted to clarify that those links were included.

    Justifying the invasion under the cease fire (which Iraq did agree to on April 6, 1991, so that the US would stop firing) is simple.

    Paragraph 33 “Declares that, upon official notification by Iraq to the Secretary-General and to the Security Council of its acceptance of the provisions above, a formal cease-fire is effective between Iraq and Kuwait and the Member States cooperating with Kuwait in accordance with resolution 678 (1990);”

    Cease fire means cessation of fire. Iraq never ceased firing. Iraq violated several other terms of the cease fire, including interfearing with and expelling weapons inspectors (see paragraphs 7 and 8 (Hans Blix found missiles in violation of 8(b)).

    Failure to comply with a cease fire, under tradition, can be considered de fact rejection of the cease fire. Under this scenario, the US could justify resuming operations (including invasion) under the Security Council Resolutions 660 and 678 (note, that is a different resolution than 687, the cease fire).

    Even aside from that, firing on a nation’s military is an act of war. Responding to 11 years of attacks can hardly be called an act of agression.

    But, even more explicitly, the second document I linked to (at the end) states:

    U.S. action is consistent with the UN Charter. The UNSC, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, provided that member states, including the United States, have the right to use force in Iraq to maintain or restore international peace and security. The Council authorized the use of force in UNSCR 678 with respect to Iraq in 1990. This resolution – on which the United States has relied continuously and with the full knowledge of the UNSC to use force in 1993, 1996, and 1998 and to enforce the no-fly zones – remains in effect today.

    That’s as close to international statutory permission as you can find.

  • Joseph Pietro Riolo

    To anonymous and raoul,

    Sorry to say but your posts are fine examples of taking
    things out of context to advance your own bias. Max
    Lybbert provides one important ingredient: Perspective.
    He did an excellent job in putting the information in the
    proper perspective.

    This is my last post. To Max, I don’t know how you get
    all the time to search for the information but I want to
    say that you have earned my respect.

    Now, I will wait for Nov. 2nd. Meanwhile, I will keep
    listening to news – both good and bad – and evaluate them
    constantly (and of course, reading Max’s posts).

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    <riolo@voicenet.com>

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions
    in this comment in the public domain.

  • raoul

    The only body with authority to enforce a UN resolution is the UN. That is undisputable international law. There is no valid precedent to the contrary.

    �. . . describing times where the use of military force hasn�t been authorized, even with the words �all necessary acts�), were buried in my last post, I simply wanted to clarify that those links were included.�

    I went to the links and read through them. There is not a single reference to any legal precedent authorizing the US to unilaterally invade Iraq. Not one.

    �all necessary acts [means]� has never been used to justify force to enforce a UN resolution. The only times a UN resolution has ever been enforced by the use force, occurred subsequent to a specific vote to authorize force.

    �Justifying the invasion under the cease fire (which Iraq did agree to on April 6, 1991, so that the US would stop firing) is simple.�

    RESOLUTION 687 (1991) doesn�t say squat about authorizing an invasion.

    �Cease fire means cessation of fire. Iraq never ceased firing.�

    And neither did we.

    It is common for all sorts of agreements to be breach. However to seek redress the breaches must be material.

    �Iraq violated several other terms of the cease fire, including interfearing with and expelling weapons inspectors (see paragraphs 7 and 8 (Hans Blix found missiles in violation of 8(b)).�

    So what, the US does not have standing. If your boss decides to fire you for spending too much time blogging, do I get to sue him for wrongful termination? Of course not, I do not have standing.

    Failure to comply with a cease fire, under tradition, can be considered de fact rejection of the cease fire. Under this scenario, the US could justify resuming operations (including invasion) under the Security Council Resolutions 660 and 678 (note, that is a different resolution than 687, the cease fire).

    �Security Council Resolutions 660 and 678″

    Where is the specific language in these Resolutions authorizing a unilateral invasion by the US? There is none. �all necessary acts� has never been used to justify force to enforce a UN resolution by the UN let alone rouge members.

    �Even aside from that, firing on a nation�s military is an act of war.�

    Responding to 11 years of attacks can hardly be called an act of aggression.� 11 years of attacks on our military aircraft flying over their airspace. As if there is no time limit on these things. So it would be legal for the descendants of the Seminoles to just start scalping people in Florida? So it�s perfectly legal for the PLO to wage war against Israel? How bout the Scottish?

    But, even more explicitly, the second document I linked to (at the end) states:

    �U.S. action is consistent with the UN Charter. The UNSC, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, provided that member states, including the United States�

    This is simply untrue and laughable. Unilateral action by a member state in invading another member state to enforce UN resolutions, after the UN specifically declines to authorize such force, is not consistent with the UN Charter.

    I am so glad the last document mentions Public Law 107-243. This is good as many who voted for this resolution have changed their minds after they were lied to:

    The Select Committee on Intelligence issued a report highly critical of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October 2002, which served as the basis for Public Law 107-243 entitled “Congressional Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.”

    As we know now the NIE was complete fiction.

    Numerous congresspersons are now saying that if they had known in October 2002 what the Committee has just revealed about the NIE, they would never have voted for the Resolution.

    The NIE focused on Saddam�s stockpile of WMDs, it began:

    “Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction (WMD)programs in defiance of U.N. resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade.”

    Suspiciously and surprisingly, up until high profile declarations by President Bush and Vice President Cheney in August 2002, the CIA had never stated categorically that Saddam Hussein had WMD. According to Bob Woodward, in his book Plan of Attack, the vice president noted on August 26, 2002 that �Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.� According to Woodward, one month later, the president said, �The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons.� After those speeches, CIA director George Tenet–a holdover from the Clinton administration and, according to some intelligence officials, eager to win a place in the president�s conservative inner circle�rushed to commission a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraqi WMD. The last prior intelligence estimate on the subject was done in 2000 and was duly cautious�as intelligence estimates usually tend to be.

    But the Select Committee�s report reveals that by March of 2003 � as a consequence of the inspections in December, January and February by Chairman Hans Blix of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and/or Director General Mohammed ElBaradei of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency � every congressperson should have known that virtually every assessment in that highly classified October NIE was either suspect or demonstrably wrong.

    The constitutional powers of the president to “introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities” are limited, and can only be exercised “pursuant to; (a) a declaration of war, (b) specific statutory authorization, or (c) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

    When GW went to Congress in September 2002, seeking “specific statutory authorization” to invade Iraq, he based his case on the aforementioned NIE which supposedly contained positive proof that Saddam was reconstructing his nuke and chem-bio programs, with the intention of supplying them to Islamic terrorists for use against us.

    Result = “The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”

    Now, the emphasis in “all necessary means” is on “necessary,” whether in a U.S. resolution or a UN resolution.

    By mid-March, the whole world had concluded � as a result of the reports to the Security Council by Blix and ElBaradei � that Saddam had effectively been disarmed since at least 1998 and had made no attempt to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction programs since 1991. Hell as early as 1997, U.N. inspectors had confirmed that Gen. Hussein Kamel � Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law � had told them and the CIA the truth. He was not an agent of disinformation but a genuine defector. In charge of Iran-Iraq War WMD programs, he had ordered all WMD destroyed on the eve of the Gulf War. By 1995, when he defected, “nothing remained.” Saddam murdered him shortly thereafter.

    Saddam was not any threat to the US. However GW “determined” on March 19, 2003 that no “further diplomatic or other peaceful means will adequately protect the national security of the United States from the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”

    As we now know � thanks to the Select Committee � the highly classified October NIE was total BS.

    And it is true in December 1998 � to the horror of most members of the Security Council �Clinton launched a pre-emptive strike against Saddam�s presidential palaces. His rationale? The CIA�s assessment that WMD must be beneath them, because the UN inspectors had not been allowed to search there. Of course, they weren�t there or anywhere else. But for a while Clinton thought he had killed Saddam, which was, of course, his true objective. Not a bad idea but totally illegal nonetheless.

  • raoul

    Legal justification for charging GW with treason:

    Anyone who provides disinformation to Congress has committed a felony. If the provider is a U.S. government official intent on starting a war, it could amount to treason.

  • Max Lybbert

    Although I had already posted responses, Raoul posited a few questions and opinions:

    /* The only body with authority to enforce a UN resolution is the UN. That is undisputable international law. There is no valid precedent to the contrary.
    */

    Sorry, but the last link (and the part I quoted in my last post) included both UN approval of force, and historic examples of using that same approval for military purposes(“The UNSC, acting … provided that member states, including the United States, have the right to use force in Iraq to maintain or restore international peace and security. … This resolution – on which the United States has relied continuously and with the full knowledge of the UNSC to use force in 1993, 1996, and 1998 and to enforce the no-fly zones – remains in effect today.”).

    This statement chops up further claims, including the claim that the US lacked standing to enforce the resolutions, and:

    /* I went to the links and read through them. There is not a single reference to any legal precedent authorizing the US to unilaterally invade Iraq. Not one.
    */

    and

    /* “all necessary acts [means]” has never been used to justify force to enforce a UN resolution.
    */

    ****

    /* �Cease fire means cessation of fire. Iraq never ceased firing.�

    And neither did we.
    */

    But who won the war? If Iraq wished to continue at war (and that is what Saddam said in is speeches to everybody but the UN), then continuing to fire is a valid way, under international law, to do so. And we then have the right to fire back.

    /* The constitutional powers of the president to �introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities� are limited, and can only be exercised �pursuant to; (a) a declaration of war, (b) specific statutory authorization, or (c) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.�
    */

    Could you tell me where this limit comes from? I don’t see it anywhere in the Constitution. If I remember my history correctly, even George Washington sent troops into a place he expected fighting without a declaration of war (Shaye’s Rebellion). The War Powers Act (passed after Viet Nam) limits the President in some ways, but there are questions about its Constitutional validity. If Bush violated the War Powers Act, Congress may not wish to challenge him on it because they don’t want to risk losing the whole thing.

    /* By mid-March, the whole world had concluded … that Saddam had effectively been disarmed since at least 1998 and had made no attempt to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction programs since 1991.
    */

    Sorry, this statement ignores important details. Here are three timelines put up by the State Department showing various things that Saddam had tried to reconstitute after 1991. July 1995: Iraq withdraws June deadline and admits that its biological weapons program is more extensive than previously acknowledged. After 1998, we had no instepction until Blix, who did find banned weapons (though not WMD), and the post-war inspections that did find ongoing research (but no weapons).

  • Max Lybbert

    OK, I went back to the War Powers Resolution to see what I could find.

    First, I have to point out that it does include Raoul’s list of limits on the President’s ability to send troops into combat.

    However, the War Powers Resolution does not restrict the President from sending troops into combat (or anywhere, really) for 60 days without Congressional approval (section 5(b)). The President must notify Congress within 48 hours of military deployment, and if the President doesn’t have Congressional approval by the end of 60 days, he must withdraw the troops, but can get 30 days to do so (ibid., “Such sixty-day period shall be extended for … an additional thirty days if the President … certifies to the Congress … that unavoidable military necessity … requires the continued use of such armed forces in the … prompt removal of such forces”). This is where the President gets 90 days to wage war without Congressional apporval.

    However, that approval doesn’t have to be a declaration of war. In fact, the language in section 8(a)(1) leads me to believe that the $18 billion specifically for military operations in Iraq could fall under this:

    Sec. 8. (a) Authority to introduce United States … into hostilities … shall not be inferred –

    (1) from any provision of law … including any provision contained in any appropriation Act, unless such provision specifically authorizes the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities

    The potential unconstitutionality comes from the fact that the War Powers Resolution isn’t a law as defined by the Constitution (INS v. Chadha). It’s an agreement between both Houses of Congress, that the President isn’t really a party to. In other words, it’s an attempt by Congress to put limits on the President, without either amending the Constitution or even getting an agreement from the President. In the same vein, the President cannot sign an executive order that limits Congress’s abilities.

    On top of that, The War Powers Resolution brings up important separation of powers issues. Every President since 1973 (when the War Powers Resolution was passed) has publicly called the Resolution unconstitutional. I don’t think the disclaimer in section 8(d)(1) (“Nothing in this joint resolution is intended to alter the constitutional authority of the Congress or of the President”) is enough to get around this.

    I was suprised to learn that even Carter toed the line on the War Powers Resolution. He informed Congress that he had sent troops into Iran, and decided against using them, several days after the fact. Reagan sent troops into Grenada without consulting Congress until military action was about to take place. Bush I claimed that “imminent hostilities” weren’t guaranteed during Desert Shield since there were no hostitilites taking place at the time. He did notify Congress the day Desert Storm started. Clinton sent troops into Bosnia, and Congress didn’t bring up the War Powers Resolution. Bush II didn’t notify Congress until after starting military action (although he did have certain resolutions that implied Congress had been involved in some consultation).

  • raoul

    Article I. Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution reads in pertinent part:

    The Congress shall have Power . . . To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations; To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water . . .�

  • raoul

    Pentagon officials have indicated that they plan to send as many as 15,000 additional troops during the first four months of 2005, and the President George W. Bush continues to insist “we will stay the course” until Iraq is stabilized.

    Where will the additional troops come from? The Bush administration insists there will be no draft, but its credibility has been badly tarnished. The “backdoor draft” that has kept so many from the Reserve and National Guard on active duty has backfired, as quotas for new enlistments have not been met. So plans are already advanced for fully mobilizing the Reserve and National Guard.

    The well respected International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, before which the president spoke last November, says 500,000. Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki told Congress publicly before the war that “several hundred thousand” troops would be needed. It turns out he was asking for 400,000, fully aware that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was planning to attack and occupy Iraq with just a fraction of that. Rumsfeld gave him the back of his hand.

    While the president promotes the bromide of “months of steady progress” in Iraq, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R, Neb.) calls this a “grand illusion.”

    Who’s the Enemy?Disingenuousness persists about the resistance to U.S. occupation. The president assured us last week that there are only “a handful of people who are willing to kill” in order to thwart U.S. aims.

    The reality in Iraq was far better captured by retired Army Special Forces Col. W. Patrick Lang, former Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East and a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Col. Lang wrote:

    “The sad thing is that US combat intelligence in Iraq does not seem to know who the insurgents are, where they are, how many they are, or what they plan to do. This in spite of all the happy campaign talk about how well things are going.”

    Another retired Army colonel, a well respected military strategist and educator, Sam Gardiner, writing recently for Salon.com, reacted bitterly to reports � now confirmed by Secretary Powell � that military operations into the “no-go” areas in Iraq have been postponed until after the election.

    “There is certainly no commander in the field saying, ‘Let’s give the bad guys another 60 days to operate freely inside their sanctuaries before we attack.’ Such a decision would be particularly bizarre when attacks against coalition forces are more frequent than ever, attacks on oil pipelines are on the rise, and the U.S. is suffering increased casualties.”

    Bush is obviously playing politics with the war at the expense of the GIs on the ground. He is such a coward.

  • Max Lybbert

    If Bush is playing politics, what do you call fear-mongering over a draft that hasn’t even been proposed? For that matter, what do you call last year’s attempt to taint the war by proposing a draft?

    I am well aware of Congress’s power to declare war. I am also aware that Congress has declared war only five times in history. I am aware that the first year of the Civil War was fought without decalring war, that George Washington put down Shaye’s rebellion without declaring war, that Clinton sent troops into Bosnia without a declaration of war, and that there have been over 200 examples of the Commander in Chief using military authority without a declaration of war (about one-third of those events did have Congressional approval — which leaves a full two-thirds without it).

    And, as I previously posted, I am aware that the War Powers Resolution has serious Constitutional questions.

  • Max Lybbert

    Raoul has posted several negative reports and opinions on the situation in Iraq, and I haven’t really responded to that portion of the recent cut-n-paste offensive.

    In response to the cut-n-paste blitz, I would like to point out that after a little more than 18 months of combat, the US has just over 1,000th combat deaths. And, for the record, 1,000 deaths amount to a tragedy. But, then again, nobody should be suprised that deadly fighting takes place in a warzone.

    I am curious about what kinds of casualties Raoul’s experts had expected before the invasion. I think the following numbers may put those 1,000 deaths into perspective. With the necessary disclaimers that the forces in each situation were wildly different from each other, followed different tactics, and even had amazingly different goals, here are the American death totals from modern warfare (well, the IDF line is the total of Israeli soldier deaths):

    Iraqi Freedom deaths (through end of September 2004, 18 months): 1052(PDF) (58.4/mo.)

    Viet Nam deaths (after 90 months): 58,000 (644.4/mo.)

    Desert Storm deaths (1.5 months): 299 (199.3/mo.)

    Lebanon deaths, 1982 – 1984 (18 months): 265 (14.8/mo.)

    Israeli Defense Force deaths, 2002 (10 months): 101 (8.4/mo.)

    I recognize that these numbers are statistically suspicious because they aggregate too much information without any useful context (i.e., we can’t look at these numbers and know which months were the most dangerous, or even if Lebanon was fought better than Desert Shield). In all honesty, Desert Shield’s short duration makes its numbers especially hard to trust (although the first month of Iraqi Freedom led to 138 deaths, which is similar to Desert Shield’s monthly rate of 199). Also, Lebabon and the IDF operations had different goals and tactics from Iraqi Freedom, so their casualty rates will be wildly different.

    But, even with those caveats, I think we can plainly see that Iraqi Freedom is not yet a quagmire on the order of Viet Nam.

    Of course, the real issue is how Iraq will be when we leave, not how fast we go through our troops. If we stay until Iraq is on its feet, and that is exactly what we’ve publicly commited to do (and we still have a presence in France, Germany and Japan from our reconstruction their in WWII), then I’m pretty confident that Iraq will continue to be a viable state.

    In a similar vein, I’m not convinced we need 400,000 troops. Experts said that the 200,000 troops we have were spread too thin a month ago to take on any major combat operations. However, those troops assaulted Najaf (and acheived military victory) while putting down opportunist uprisings in nearby cities and the slums of Baghdad.

    If more troops really are needed, I personally wouldn’t mind seeing some base closings in France and Germany. I also wouldn’t mind seeing some reshuffling of our forces commited to NATO. This is exactly the kind of diplomacy that disturbs Kerry and his followers, but I think it’s fair play after France’s efforts to shut down Turkey’s support.

  • Max Lybbert

    Duh, my last post stated there were only 10 months in 2002. That was, of course a type. It should have been 12 like any other year (the 8.4 was determined by dividing 101 by 12, so it’s accurate).

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