Friday, October 07, 2005



A Mess of George Bush's Own Making

The Nation -- It is fair to say that a good many Americans perceive George W. Bush to be a doltish incompetent who does not know the first thing about fighting terrorism.

But, whatever the president's actual level of competence may be, it is now clear that he has even less respect for the intelligence of the American people than his critics have for his cognitive capabilities.

As the president struggles this week to make a case for the staying the course that leads deeper into the quagmire that is Iraq, he is, remarkably, selling a warmed over version of the misguided take on terrorism that he peddled before this disasterous mission was launched.

Apparently working under the assumption that no one has been paying attention over the past two and a half years, Bush delivered a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy Thursday in which he dismissed calls for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. "Some observers also claim that America would be better off by cutting our losses and leaving Iraq now," the president argued, before concluding that, "It's a dangerous illusion refuted with a simple question: Would the United States and other free nations be more safe or less safe with Zarqawi and bin Laden in control of Iraq, its people and its resources?"That's a scary scenario. Unfortunately, it is one that the president created. And it is one that the president still fails to fully comprehend.

To hear the president tell it, the U.S. went to Iraq to combat bin Laden's al Qaida network.

The problem, of course, is that going to Iraq to confront al Qaida in 2003 was like going to the Vatican to confront Protestants.

Al Queda Writes Letters

He could not say when the letter was intercepted or when authorities believe it might have been written.

The lengthy communication was said to detail the strategy of Muslim extremists to push the United States out of Iraq and establish an Islamic state that could expand its form of governance to neighboring countries, Whitman said.


Convenient Threats

Pardon my skepticism at the breathless warnings on Thursday of yet another “specific threat” to our safety – in this case, the danger to New York City subway riders. This one could be quite real, and I don’t necessarily quarrel with that.

But I worry at how the news media seems to feel forced to take these dire warnings at face value despite the pattern of politicians provoking these episodes at suspiciously opportune moments. Most memorable was the time last summer when we heard warnings of terror attacks on the East Coast – announced just as the Democrats wrapped up their national convention in Boston and sent presidential nominee John Kerry on the road for what they hoped would be a high-profile launch of his general election campaign.

It later turned out that the terror alert that overshadowed Kerry’s launch was based on outdated intelligence, raising suspicion that it was done for political reasons and had little to do with public safety.

Yesterday we heard about possible attacks in New York just hours after the President delivered a tough-talking speech about the dangers we face from terrorists. And the subway story stepped on breaking news that White House political boss Karl Rove would again testify to a Grand Jury. How convenient!

Pat Tillman’s Truth

A Chronicle review of more than 2,000 pages of testimony, as well as interviews with Pat Tillman’s family members and soldiers who served with him, found contradictions, inaccuracies and what appears to be the military’s attempt at self-protection.


The Weekly Standard’s 10th Year

The Standard's soiree was emblematic of the entire Bush era. While the conservative elite was nibbling lobster tails and sipping champagne, the rest of the world--from the Bayou to Baghdad--was going down the toilet.

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