Fighting Smart, Fighting Stupid

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Bush Administration, Iraq War, War on Terror

[T]he deeper and more discouraging prospect—that the United States is doomed to spend decades cowering defensively—need not come true. How can the United States regain the initiative against terrorists, as opposed to living in a permanent crouch? By recognizing the point that I heard from so many military strategists: that terrorists, through their own efforts, can damage but not destroy us. Their real destructive power, again, lies in what they can provoke us to do. While the United States can never completely control what violent groups intend and sometimes achieve, it can determine its own response. That we have this power should come as good and important news, because it switches the strategic advantage to our side. — James Fallows, “Declaring Victory,” The Atlantic, September 2006

Chief among the reactions Osama bin Laden hoped to provoke was the invasion and occupation of a Muslim country. Fallows continues,

Documents captured after 9/11 showed that bin Laden hoped to provoke the United States into an invasion and occupation that would entail all the complications that have arisen in Iraq. His only error was to think that the place where Americans would get stuck would be Afghanistan.

Richard Clarke wrote in his book Against All Enemies that something like the Iraq War was bin Laden’s plan all along. At least a decade before 9/11, according to Clarke, Osama was hanging out in the Sudan dreaming up an Iraq scenario–

The ingredients al Qaeda dreamed of for propagating its movement were a Christian government attacking a weaker Muslim region, allowing the new terrorist group to rally jihadists from many countries to come to the aid of the religious brethren. After the success of the jihad, the Muslim region would become a radical Islamic state, a breeding ground for more terrorists, a part of the eventual network of Islamic states that would make up the great new Caliphate, or Muslim empire. [p. 136]

Time and time again, the Bush Administration’s fear and hubris and ignorance become puppet strings in jihadists’ hands. We might as well invite al Qaeda into the Pentagon and let them plan our security policies.

Rightie blogger Allahpundit wrote yesterday,

There are bits from Reid and Kerry too, but as usual it’s Teddy who provides the pull-quote for the day’s events:

    “Five years after 9-11, it is clear that our misguided policies are making America more hated in the world and making the war on terrorism harder to win,” Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said.

We’ve reached the point where either you see instantly what’s wrong with that statement or you don’t, and if you don’t, nothing I’m going to say will change your mind. So I won’t try; maybe Ace or Goldstein will muster the energy later.

Of course Allahpundit can’t explain “what’s wrong” with Senator Kennedy’s statement, because coherently explaining something in words requires logic and dispassion. If one’s motivations are, in fact, a sludge of unprocessed fear and bigotry slopping around one’s psyche like raw sewage, then rendering those motivations into clear, dispassionate, and logical rhetoric is, um, futile. So righties do not explain; they package. We are at war with enemies who hate our freedoms. We must fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here. Victory. Resolve. We can’t cut and run.

Then Allahpundit embraces one of the Right’s favorite conceits, which is that we lefties are opposed to Bush’s policies because we don’t understand the threat posed by terrorism. The fact that we oppose Bush policies because most of them amount to fighting a fire by pouring kerosene on it flies right over their terrorized little heads. But in a “nutroots terror-reaction round-up” he finds no prominent leftie bloggers to feed his fantasies; instead, he sites a commenter at Democratic Underground, a diarist at Daily Kos, and “some moron looking for attention at Goldstein’s site.” We’ve seen this before, too. They’re desperately trying to reassure themselves that we’re the crazy ones, and they’ll take any proof they can get.

The Bush Administration’s habit of dangling terrorism alerts to distract us and manipulate public opinion is too well established to ignore. This timeline, which unfortunately stops in January 2005, provides some good examples. But of course, just because some child cries “wolf” as a prank doesn’t mean there are no wolves. It may be only a matter of time before a plot like the one stopped in London actually succeeds. Lord knows plenty of jihadists would love to hurt us on our own soil, and more such jihadists are being created every day by George Bush’s misbegotten policies.

The next argument is, of course, that the U.S. wasn’t in Iraq on September 11. No, but we were in Saudi Arabia. It’s well known that bin Laden’s grudge against the U.S. dates from August 1990, when the Saudi government allowed U.S. troops to be stationed in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam. In this case I don’t blame America, because those troops were there at the behest of the Saudi government. Twisted people like Osama bin Laden can be set off by just about anything, and it’s probably not possible to devise a foreign policy that won’t offend some whackjob’s inflammable sensibilities.

On the other hand, when our policies utterly ignore the sensibilities of a majority of Muslims; when our policies are creating enemies faster than we can shoot them; when our policies help the war effort of our enemies but weaken us; there’s a problem. And I’ve yet to see evidence that anti-American terrorists give a hoohaw about our freedoms, one way or another.

I’ve written myriad blog posts explaining why the war in Iraq is hindering, not helping, our antiterrorism efforts. I’m not going to repeat all those arguments now; just click on “Iraq War” after “Filed under” at the top of this post, and start reading. The James Fallows article linked at the top of this page also explains why our war in Iraq is hurting us. If you can access the article (you may not be able to if you aren’t a subscriber), click here and scroll down to “What Has Gone Right for al-Qaeda,” and start reading. Because I believe there is a subscription firewall, I’ve added an excerpt to the end of this post.

It seems obvious to me that, after September 11, our focus should have been on destroying al Qaeda and increasing basic security at home. The “destroying al Qaeda” part certainly included military action (against al Qaeda and groups with a similar agenda, not action diffused over every terrorist cell on the planet whether it is likely to strike the U.S. or not), but it also should have included leading democratic nations in a cooperative global intelligence-and-police effort and addressing those “root causes,” which are still imperfectly understood, in order to deprive terrorists of popular support in the Muslim world.

The “basic security at home” part is a mess; the “security” policies exemplified by the Department of Homeland Security are described in Fallows’s article as “haphazard, wasteful, and sometimes self-defeating.” That other nations are aiding our intelligence and police efforts is mostly because it’s in their own self-interest to do so; they are are terrorism targets, too. We’ve pissed off enough people that I wonder how much they’d help us otherwise. But as for depriving terrorists of popular support, we’ve done just the opposite.

Righties will continue to lie to themselves and each other that we lefties oppose Bush’s policies because lefties don’t want to fight terrorism, and there’s not much point in trying to reason with them. Our efforts, IMO, must be to reach out to those Americans (and voters) whose brains are not pickled in extremist rightwing ideology and explain to them that the Bush White House is aiding terrorism, and foreign policy power must be taken away from the Bushies as quickly as possible.

Since Bush’s “approval” numbers are hovering at around 40 percent these days, that should leave us with plenty of people who are reachable. Of course, an important part of this effort is to keep watch on media and speak up when reporters and “pundits” repeat rightie talking points as gospel, which is most of the time. It’s an uphill fight. But we’ve got to fight as if our lives depend on it, because they probably do.

Here’s the James Fallows slice I promised:

In the modern brand of terrorist warfare, what an enemy can do directly is limited. The most dangerous thing it can do is to provoke you into hurting yourself.

This is what David Kilcullen meant in saying that the response to terrorism was potentially far more destructive than the deed itself. And it is why most people I spoke with said that three kinds of American reaction—the war in Iraq, the economic consequences of willy-nilly spending on security, and the erosion of America’s moral authority—were responsible for such strength as al-Qaeda now maintained.

“You only have to look at the Iraq War to see how much damage you can do to yourself by your response,” Kilcullen told me. He is another of those who supported the war and consider it important to fight toward some kind of victory, but who recognize the ways in which this conflict has helped al-Qaeda. So far the war in Iraq has advanced the jihadist cause because it generates a steady supply of Islamic victims, or martyrs; because it seems to prove Osama bin Laden’s contention that America lusts to occupy Islam’s sacred sites, abuse Muslim people, and steal Muslim resources; and because it raises the tantalizing possibility that humble Muslim insurgents, with cheap, primitive weapons, can once more hobble and ultimately destroy a superpower, as they believe they did to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan twenty years ago. The United States also played a large role in thwarting the Soviets, but that doesn’t matter. For mythic purposes, mujahideen brought down one anti-Islamic army and can bring down another. …

… Because the general point is familiar, I’ll let one more anecdote about the consequences of invading Iraq stand for many that I heard. When Americans think of satellite surveillance and the National Security Agency, they are likely to imagine something out of the TV show 24: a limitless set of eyes in the sky that can watch everything, all the time. In fact, even today’s amply funded NSA can watch only a limited number of sites. “Our overhead imagery is dedicated to force protection in Iraq and Afghanistan,” I was told by a former intelligence official who would not let me use his name. He meant that the satellites are tied up following U.S. troops on patrol and in firefights to let them know who might be waiting in ambush. “There are still ammo dumps in Iraq that are open to insurgents,” he said, “but we lack the imagery to cover them—let alone what people might be dreaming up in Thailand or Bangladesh.” Because so many spy satellites are trained on the countries we have invaded, they tell us less than they used to about the rest of the world.

Documents captured after 9/11 showed that bin Laden hoped to provoke the United States into an invasion and occupation that would entail all the complications that have arisen in Iraq. His only error was to think that the place where Americans would get stuck would be Afghanistan.

Bin Laden also hoped that such an entrapment would drain the United States financially. Many al-Qaeda documents refer to the importance of sapping American economic strength as a step toward reducing America’s ability to throw its weight around in the Middle East. Bin Laden imagined this would happen largely through attacks on America’s oil supply. This is still a goal. For instance, a 2004 fatwa from the imprisoned head of al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia declared that targeting oil pipelines and refineries was a legitimate form of economic jihad—and that economic jihad “is one of the most powerful ways in which we can take revenge on the infidels during this present stage.” The fatwa went on to offer an analysis many economists would be proud of, laying out all the steps that would lead from a less-secure oil supply to a less-productive American economy and ultimately to a run on the dollar. (It also emphasized that oil wells themselves should be attacked only as a last resort, because news coverage of the smoke and fires would hurt al-Qaeda’s image.)

Higher-priced oil has hurt America, but what has hurt more is the economic reaction bin Laden didn’t fully foresee. This is the systematic drag on public and private resources created by the undifferentiated need to be “secure.”

The effect is most obvious on the public level. “The economy as a whole took six months or so to recover from the effects of 9/11,” Richard Clarke told me. “The federal budget never recovered. The federal budget is in a permanent mess, to a large degree because of 9/11.” At the start of 2001, the federal budget was $125 billion in surplus. Now it is $300 billion in deficit.

A total of five people died from anthrax spores sent through the mail shortly after 9/11. In Devils and Duct Tape, his forthcoming book, John Mueller points out that the U.S. Postal Service will eventually spend about $5 billion on protective screening equipment and other measures in response to the anthrax threat, or about $1 billion per fatality. Each new security guard, each extra checkpoint or biometric measure, is both a direct cost and an indirect drag on economic flexibility.

If bin Laden hadn’t fully anticipated this effect, he certainly recognized it after it occurred. In his statement just before the 2004 election, he quoted the finding of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (!) to the effect that the total cost, direct and indirect, to America of the 9/11 attacks was at least $500 billion. Bin Laden gleefully pointed out that the attacks had cost al-Qaeda about $500,000, for a million-to-one payoff ratio. America’s deficit spending for Iraq and homeland security was, he said, “evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan, with Allah’s permission.”

And they say some guys in caves in Afghanistan couldn’t have pulled off 9/11. Hah. Bottom line, they’ve been fighting us smart, and we’ve been fighting them stupid.

Update: Finally a serious anti-terror policy.

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27 Comments

  1. terry  •  Aug 11, 2006 @12:42 pm

    Another great post, but I would like to see an expansion on how Bin Laden is winning on the moral authority issue as well. Certainly, we all know how the abuses at Abu Grahib (sp) and Guantanomo, the disdain for the Geneva Convention and our adoption of torture and rendition as acceptable intelligence tools have reduced our moral authority and as the word gets out on the atrocities committed by a few of our servicemen, that will escalate. Personally, I am most concerned with the ending of America as a place where the rule of law prevailed. Certainly, many of the laws which have been ignored were designed to protect the freedoms we once had and which Dumbya’s administration has steadfastly sought to erode all in the name of fighting terrorists making his suggestions that “they hate us for our freedom” all the more absurd, but I believe that there is a more prevasive erosion of the notion of law. The right wing talking points most recently articulated by that prime law breaker himself Tom DeLay to the effect that “liberals are concerned about not infringing on rights of people who kill Americans” as well as the attacks on an independent judiciary, the effective co-opting of the mainstream media and the neutering of Congress, all because of the culture of fear emanating from 9/11, IMHO is what will lead most quickly to the demise of America–not perhaps as a military or economic power, but as any kind of example to the world of what a free and just society looks like. Without the rule of law it will all come down to raw power and corruption. It has always been here of course, but it was at least checked by laws, judges, the media, opposing political parties etc and each of those checks is being marginalized in the name of foghting terrorism.

  2. Donna  •  Aug 11, 2006 @12:58 pm

    The foiling of the latest terrorist plot to use mixed liquids to blow up airliners WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY INTELLIGENCE/POLICE WORK…….not by stupid bully war-mongering which increases terrorist recruitments.

  3. merciless  •  Aug 11, 2006 @1:23 pm

    Donna, you are exactly right. The Rude Pundit makes the point that the hysteria pushed by both the administration and the punditry simply didn’t have much of an effect on people. There were huge lines and delays, and everybody shrugged. The President, who had said this was a major big huge enormous deal with potentially devastating consequences, toured a factory and held a fund-raiser.

    The disconnect is apparent. The Brits caught these guys through police work. The Bushies screamed 9/11. America thanked the British nicely, looked at what the Bushies were doing, and went on with their lives. More and more Americans realize that the Bush administration has no interest in keeping us safe, only in keeping power.

  4. Swami  •  Aug 11, 2006 @1:30 pm

    Bush, Rove, and all their buddies have so distorted the problem of terrorism that to gain a comprehensive understanding of what we are fighting against has become impossible. The minute Bush shifted the battle to the spiritual dimension any possibility of solution disappeared. It’s hopeless to even think that progress can be made as long as a mentality like Bush’s is directing the fight.

    Here’s one of my fantasies….When America asked the Taliban to turnover Osama ….The Taliban expressed a willingness to do that on the condition that Osama be tried by an Islamic court. Had the Americans cultivated that condition and agreed to the Taliban’s demands. They possibly could have given Islam, as a collective body, a way to repudiate terrorism and extremism. I’d feel almost certain that a lagre court composed of respected judges in Islamic law from the entire area of Islamic influence would have condemned Osama. Maybe just a trust in the basic decency of mankind to do the right thing fantasy?

  5. emel  •  Aug 11, 2006 @1:38 pm

    Al Qaeda has not prospered , if anything I wonder if they were hurrying this up to get back on the stage( Hezollah totally eclipsed them by actually fighting, not blowing up planes- that is so 1973). Yes the Brits did this and with police work and evidently with help from someone with a conscience in the community .
    The pundits are pontificating nonsense and saying the Dems have no answer but they do- see Wes Clark for example- but we cannot sum up complexity in a catch phrase such as cut and run. We actually have to discuss real policy which is not simple. However listening to BBC interview British people- the repeating meme is Blair/Bush policy. Blair is equated with Bush and ” it’s the policy stupid”. So there, here is the simplest phrase I can think of. Perhaps ‘had enough of the stupid policy yet?”

  6. justme  •  Aug 11, 2006 @2:51 pm

    Well , given the bush logic we can only do one thing now.Since the people caught were from the U.K we must launch an attack. There really can be no other way.What we have here is the entire U.K harboring terrorists that mean harm to this nation..they are aiding them and giving them a place to plan attacks.I want to be out front of the righties on this: There should be lap dog regime change.We have to fight the terrorists THERE so we don’t have to fight them here…and booga booga.. they are coming direct from Heathrow on hijacked planes to cut off our heads(omg the righties LOVE that line)…

    The problem with rightie logic is that they want to attack countries not involved, like Iraq rather then countries where terrorists are actually allowed to grow like fungi such as SAUDI who sent us 15 of 19 hijackers.Righties LOVE to point out how saddam supported terror because he sent funds to the families of Palistine suicide bombers but SAUDI held a telethon on STATE tv to raise funds from it’s citizens for the same cause…THEY did what righties accuse saddam of on a national scale!The world thinks it is ok to sweep that little fact under the rug but I say bullshit! Saudi is a state sponsor of terror…yet they go un- checked..I have the photo of bush holding hands with his pal.I wonder how much he gave to the telethon?

    And now the UK. Sorry to say it, but THEY seem to have gotten a case of the fungi…how many terrorists have they bread in their damp climate now??It seems like a trip to the UK is as madatory for terrorists as a trip to the Mecca..

    But I am sure that when we attacked Iraq, and whomever is on our “things to do ” list we teach those terrorists a lesson!(wags finger)…

    Worst of all we give them a actual training ground to learn the habits and ways our military can fight.We are giving them real time combat experience.We are showing our hand to them before the battle.. real bright!Think how many of our troops have rotated in and out…imagine if as many of the “terrorists” troops have been in and out also….maybe more since they have home field advantage.When the army talks about giving strength for later I am not sure THIS is what they had in mind.

    Kilcullen and Fallows seem to have hit the nail on the head.It is about time someone approached the topic with REASON.The powers that be have had “we the people” whipped up in to such an emotional frenzy over the past several years that no one has taken the time to give reasoned thought to the problem at hand..

    I think” we the people” have been on what is eqaul to a acid trip for the past years.I hope there is still an American left when they come down and can think clearly again.

  7. erinyes  •  Aug 11, 2006 @4:03 pm

    Acid trip?
    ‘More like a tabasco sauce enema….

  8. Frank from Boston  •  Aug 11, 2006 @4:06 pm

    I love how most posts seem to ignore that fact that Bush was indeed re-elected, and John Kerry wasn’t elected. All these topics were discussed at length during that election. Guess what? You guys lost and all the name calling and excuses in the world don’t change that.

    The people that voted for Bush then, and those that will vote in the next Republican president simply disagree with you. There’s no magic there. Bush was an extremely weak canadate. I doubt seriously the Republicans can put up a worse candadite next time, yet you lost, you lost, you lost.

    Bill Clinton was the best President the Democrats have put forth since Kennedy, and he dropped the ball on terrorism; the voters know that. They don’t trust you guys, and for good reason. You are indeed soft. Not soft on terrorism per se, soft in general. Its the whole Kumbya mentality that democrats exude. I can’t stand it and I will never vote for it, even though I despise Bush.

    You want to change that, try handling yoursevlves like your rising star Barack Obama. He agrees with many of your policies, disagrees with some, but he is about empowerment of the indivudual, not cow towing to the least common denominator. He comes across strong. Kerry, Edwards et. al, they come off as soft and mealy mouthed.

  9. maha  •  Aug 11, 2006 @4:42 pm

    They don’t trust you guys, and for good reason. You are indeed soft. Not soft on terrorism per se, soft in general.

    Of course. You’ve had propaganda poured into your head for years telling you that, and it doesn’t matter what the reality is; that’s what you see. So pudgy baby-face Rove and Dick “five deferment” Cheney and the Little princeling Bush who has had everything in life handed to him on a plate are “tough,” and everyone else is soft. I understand completely.

    cow towing

    Is that what you do when your Holsetein breaks down on the highway?

  10. moonbat  •  Aug 11, 2006 @4:43 pm

    Maha, your post needs to be shouted from the rooftops. I knew in the weeks following 9/11 that it was just bait to draw this country into a fight. Given the loony delusions of the neocons (welcomed with flowers, as liberators) it fulfilled Osama’s plans beyond his wildest fantasy.

    Frank from Beantown, several points:

    - it’s debateable whether Bush won 2004 – exit polls don’t lie. I and many other don’t accept your assertion that Bush won, but set that aside for now.

    - that said, Kerry was a weak candidate (a poor “Thurston Howell III clone” as Billmon wrote), he basically campaigned as a competent Bush, instead of embracing policies that were radically different. When given a choice between a real Republican and Republican-Lite, a lot of people will choose the former.

    - Given your assumptions, how’s that War on Terra goin? How many thousands of American kids killed or maimed for lies? By any hard, quantitative measure (not soft right wing wishful fantasies), Iraq is growing into a bigger disaster each week. Extremists are rising up in the Middle East in response to our bunch of extremists at home, which was all so boringly inevitable and predictable. Feel any safer since 9/11? You like living under a dictatorship? Was it worth giving up the Constitution?

    - What has being “hard” gotten America except painting us into the corner as the world’s pariah, a depleted military, our reputation ruined, our treasury bankrupt, and far more enemies than we had before?

    Again, it’s all about fighting smart, not fighting stupid. 60 % or better of this country, by the latest polls has had enough of fighting stupid, and losing. Americans like winners not losers, and the people in charge are obviously self-absorbed losers. Join them if you will, but most of this country has had enough.

  11. erinyes  •  Aug 11, 2006 @5:14 pm

    Wanna wrestle with a soft mealy-mouthed liberal, Frank?
    I’d be glad to oblige….
    (winner gets a Texas Tabasco Enema!)

  12. Donna  •  Aug 11, 2006 @5:15 pm

    Hey, Frank from Boston…..John Kerry exactly called for the correct focus in the ‘war on terrorism’, i.e., that it boils down to good intelligence and good police work. Now that is strength and wisdom, not stupic psuedo-toughness like that of the rovian and neocon types [and their dumb followers, hint, hint] who have mastered all their wordly ‘experience’ from playing hand-held children’s games.

  13. erinyes  •  Aug 11, 2006 @5:21 pm

    I’m sorry Frank from Boston, but dude WE ALL LOST!
    Now, to set up that wrestlin’ match call my agent @ 1(800)277-4653.Have a WONDERFUL day!

  14. terry  •  Aug 11, 2006 @5:26 pm

    Now we have to be nice to Frank or else we will be accused of hate speech by those oh so tough neocons. I do like your definition of cow towing however. Out of curiosity how do you spell what Frank was trying to say? I guess I would also take issue with the Frank’s premise that all these issues were discussed two years ago. While certainly the points were made, nobody really knew what the next two years would bring. Now we do and there is a reason why 60% of Americans think Dumbya is doing a crappy job versus 33% like Frank who want to stick with failed policies no matter what. Of course Al Gore was mocked for his lock box theory of actually saving the surplus generated by social security reciepts, but I bet majority of Americans over the age of 50 wish we had followed Al’s advice and not frittered that money away on Dumbya’s deficit spending so the rich could pay even less of their fair share of taxes.. I was even thinking the other day that if Paul Tsongas had not been mocked for his gas tax plan a couple of decades ago, we would be in a much better place today. So yeah Frank you guys won–maybe-but it did not make Dumbya any smarter or tougher and as an American who loves his country very much, I am deeply saddened to see it make the sort of mistakes it has made in fighting people who wish to harm us. I do not think that to be tough you also have to be stupid and that is where we differ.

  15. Swami  •  Aug 11, 2006 @5:38 pm

    Hey Frank…America lost..we didn’t. I appreciate your astute observation about election results,but there were huge emotional factors that aren’t factored in to your conclusion. Fear and deception was the order of the day in the 2004 electorial process. You’re short-changing yourself to believe what you expound.

  16. erinyes  •  Aug 11, 2006 @5:51 pm

    OK. enough of the silly jokes.I have a bit of common ground with boston frank. Kerry should have punched Bush right in the snot locker during the debates,right there on national TV, DAMNED STRAIGHT! He would have been tackeled and beaten by the SS(or maybe not?), but he may have won, (provided Greg Palast is wrong about the vote fixin’ in New Mexico and Ohio.)If he didn’t win, he’d at least get som exposure on the Jerry Springer show, there’s no such thing as bad publicity! Bush was loosing badly in the debates, no doubt in my mind, but Kerry had the chance to “rope-a-dope, and didn’t do it because:
    A/ he is too civilized
    B/ Realized the collosal mess awaiting the winner
    C/Didn’t want to get “Wellstoned”
    D/Was happy to keep his seat and watch the Republican party
    self destruct
    E/ All of the above
    I have heard several Republicans express a liking for Obama.
    The funny thing is, those same guys don’t much “cotton” to black folk. Any Idea what’s up with that? The same guys love Colin Powell. Just askin”.
    Anyway, the base is going South fast. Let’s all hope the crap hitting the fan in the ME doesn’t rupture completely, because even Frank from Boston would not like getting stuck with what could happen in the next election.
    Now Frank, I promise no Kumbaya singin’ but could we at least do a little spoonin?
    Just kiddin!

  17. Swami  •  Aug 11, 2006 @6:07 pm
  18. erinyes  •  Aug 11, 2006 @6:12 pm

    Swami, I think Frank IS the marshmallow.

  19. folkbum  •  Aug 11, 2006 @6:58 pm

    For kicks, kowtow.

  20. maha  •  Aug 11, 2006 @7:15 pm

    it boils down to good intelligence and good police work.

    Hmm, you mean like the good intelligence and good police work that stopped the would-be London plane bombers?

  21. erinyes  •  Aug 11, 2006 @9:10 pm

    And a tip from a responsible Muslim good guy helped stymie the psychos!

  22. justme  •  Aug 11, 2006 @9:13 pm

    Frank, stick to small shiny objects.

  23. emel  •  Aug 12, 2006 @1:15 am

    Hey Frank if Dick and Karl and Rush and Newt And Bill Kristol ( to name a few) are so ‘hard’ where are their DD214′s?

  24. Donna  •  Aug 12, 2006 @3:55 pm

    And it was, guess who, yep, the Dick himself [then Sec'y of Defense] who went to Saudi Arabia in 1990 and promised the Saudis that our troops would only stay near those sacred mosques a short time….. only, he said, long enough to handle the invasion of Kuwait and protect the Saudi interests from an increased aggression from Saddam. The Dick Cheney lied, didn’t he? Watch out world, our promises mean nothing when we intent to maintain a strategic foothold over territory aligned with our oil interests, religious sensitivities be damned.

  25. Joe Stafford  •  Aug 12, 2006 @6:25 pm

    It’s so refreshing to read the truth instead of the wrongheaded talking points constantly trotted out by the rabit right wing. There are still many minds out there open to the truth, just as there are still people who believe in evolution.Keep fighting the good fight. Terrorism can be defeated if we can only convince 51 percent of the country to fight smart. And fighting smart certainly doesn’t involve randomly lashing out at the first convenient target and squandering money on mindless endeavors like Iraq, which has succeeded at nothing so well as padding the pockets of Dick Cheney’s cronies.

  26. FungiFromYuggoth  •  Aug 13, 2006 @9:57 pm

    Donna – not only was Dick Cheney involved in that, but evidence suggests that the US lied about or faked the satellite pictures to get into Saudi Arabia in the first place.

    Desert Shield was set up to defend Saudi against Saddam’s forces massed on the border – but other satellite pictures didn’t detect any, and the US satellite pictures have never been declassified.

  27. Joker9  •  Aug 14, 2006 @2:58 pm

    Based on the real terrorist activity in Great Britain, I am surprised that Dick Cheney has not advocated an invasion of the Isles. At least there is some evidence for this proposal vice the last war we started…Joker9

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