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Friday, March 19, 2004
Notes on Team Bush
Let's just say it is good thing that laughter is healthy.
A day later my favorite still-active White House Press Secretary, and I hope he is one of yours, said:
Senator Kerry has said that he met with foreign leaders and that he's heard from those leaders, and, yet, he refused to back up that claim. And that's why, yesterday, I said that it's either one of two things: Either he can back up those claims and say who it is, or he is simply making it up to attack the President of the United States. And that would be very unfortunate if that is the case. But this goes to an issue of credibility; it goes to an issue of being straight with the American people.Funny they cut out the bit about how, "the American people need to know if Kerry can be as dishonest as we are."
That said, Kerry's comment was idiotic because it will almost certainly cause him to love more votes than he gains by it and he does look very weak by not coming forward with who, even though it is certainly understandable that he wouldn't want to reveal their names. Still, it isn't as if there is any reason to think he was making policy with these people, so it really isn't that big of a deal. I mean it is far more important that Team Bush's record of dishonesty and manipulation but it is nowhere near as important of an issue as George Carlin's anti-American comments or even whether John Kerry once owned a home someplace other the greatest country ever.
Also on Wednesday, Cheney delivered a piece of brilliance that included:
From his first day in Sacramento to his last day in Washington, Ronald Reagan showed a certain kind of leadership. He had confidence in himself, and even deeper confidence in the United States and our place among nations. His principles were the product of a good heart, a sturdy Midwestern character, and years of disciplined preparation for the work that history gave him. He had a basic awareness of good and evil that made him a champion of human freedom, and the greatest foe of the greatest tyranny of his time. The Cold War ended as it did, not by chance, not by some inevitable progression of events: It ended because Ronald Reagan was President of the United States.That's revisionist history! As everybody knows, the Soviet Union lasted longer because Reagan's election made America look weak!
After the fall of Soviet communism, some observers confidently assumed that America would never again face such determined enemies, or an aggressive ideology, or the prospect of catastrophic violence.Yeah right. You are never going have a situation where the threat of terrorism has been "fully and finally removed." Believe this shit, or at least go along with it, and maybe you deserve the worst.
The attacks of September 11th, 2001, signaled the arrival of an entirely different era. We suffered massive civilian casualties on our own soil. We awakened to dangers even more lethal - the possibility that terrorists could gain chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons from outlaw regimes, and turn those weapons against the United States and our friends. We came to understand that for all the destruction and grief we saw that day, September 11th gave only the merest glimpse of the threat that international terrorism poses to this and other nations. If terrorists ever do acquire weapons of mass destruction - on their own or with help from a terror regime - they will use those weapons without the slightest constraint of reason or morality. Instead of losing thousands of lives, we might lose tens or even hundreds of thousands of lives in a single day of horror.It bothers me that these possibilities supposedly never occurred to Cheney before September 11, 2001.
America is also working closely with intelligence services all over the globe. The best intelligence is necessary - not just to win the war on terror, but also to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. So we have enhanced our intelligence capabilities, in order to trace dangerous weapons activity. We have organized a proliferation security initiative, to interdict lethal materials and technologies in transit. We are aggressively pursuing another dangerous source of proliferation: black-market operatives who sell equipment and expertise related to weapons of mass destruction. The world recently learned of the network led by A.Q. Khan, the former head of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. Khan and his associates sold nuclear technology and know-how to outlaw regimes around the world, including Iran and North Korea. Thanks to the tireless work of intelligence officers from the United States, the UK, Pakistan, and other nations, the Khan network is now being dismantled piece by piece.As Jesse M. Gotham has pointed out, the Bush Administration is not following the "Bush doctrine" in the case of Pakistan. I don't think that is a bad thing, but they shouldn't be allowed to haul it up as a principle when, and only when, it suits their needs as Cheney does in parts of his speech that I will refrain from quoting.
We still have work to do in Iraq, and we will see it through. Our forces are conducting swift, precision raids against the terrorists and regime holdouts who still remain. The thugs and assassins in Iraq are desperately trying to shake our will. Just this morning, they conducted a murderous attack on a hotel in Baghdad. Their goal is to prevent the rise of a democracy - but they will fail. Just last week, the Iraqi Governing Council approved a new fundamental law, an essential step toward building a free constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East. This great work is part of a forward strategy of freedom that we are pursuing throughout the greater Middle East. By helping nations to build the institutions of freedom, and turning the energies of men and women away from violence, we not only make that region more peaceful, we add to the security of our own region.Except they aren't.
Our steady course has not escaped the attention of the leaders in other countries. Three months ago, after initiating talks with America and Britain, and five days after the capture of Saddam Hussein, the leader of Libya voluntarily committed to disclose and dismantle all of his weapons of mass destruction programs. (Applause.) As we meet today, the dismantling of those programs is underway. I do not believe that Colonel Ghadafi just happened to make this very wise decision after many years of pursuing secretive, intensive efforts to develop the world's most dangerous weapons. He was responding to the new realities of the world. Leaders elsewhere are learning that weapons of mass destruction do not bring influence, or prestige, or security - they only invite isolation, and carry other costs.Which is why the United States continues to possess them.
In one of Senator Kerry's recent observations about foreign policy, he informed his listeners that his ideas have gained strong support, at least among unnamed foreigners he's been spending time with. (Laughter.) Senator Kerry said that he has met with foreign leaders, and I quote, " who can't go out and say this publicly, but boy they look at you and say, 'You've got to win this, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy,' things like that." End quote.And you know what asshole? It is our business when you and your buddies are untruthful on matters of policy.
Had the decision belonged to Senator Kerry, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, today, in Iraq. In fact, Saddam Hussein would almost certainly still be in control of Kuwait.Strangely Cheney did not go on to say that Iraqis should be very appreciative of "the terrorists." "Without them," the veep did not say, "the Iraqis would still not be free."
I leave it for Senator Kerry to explain, or explain away his votes and his statements about the war on terror, our cause in Iraq, the allies who serve with us, and the needs of our military. Whatever the explanation, whatever nuances he might fault us for neglecting, it is not an impressive record for someone who aspires to become Commander-in-Chief in this time of testing for our country. In his years in Washington, Senator Kerry has been one vote of a hundred in the United States Senate - and fortunately on matters of national security, he was very often in the minority. But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. The President always casts the deciding vote.Yeah, some document clearly says that when the Prez wants war, the prez gets war. Look it up you appeasers.
Yesterday an interview with Condoleezza Rice appeared on CNN and included this exchange:
[John] KING: You make the case with a great deal of passion, as the president, but as you remember too well, perhaps, going into the war into Iraq, we had the divide with Europe, the French and the Germans principally, publicly outspoken against the position of the United States. Do you worry that we are going back into an environment like that, when you have the newly elected prime minister of Spain saying he believes that the war on terror, the U.S. way of using shock and awe and military force has actually inspired more violence?I find it hard to believe Rice doesn't "understand" this position, as opposed to merely not agreeing with it or believing that it is too simplistic. And I say that as someone who would prefer to believe that Rice and the rest of the administration are just idiots and not extremely manipulative.
UPDATE: For a look at how some have deified Bush, check out this post from Roger L. Simon. 8:10 a.m. 03/19/04