Democrats & Liberals Archives

A Conservative Icon Agrees with Liberals

Hold onto your hats. You will not believe this, but it is true. The conservative icon, George Will, has written remarks that a good, upstanding Republican would find outrageous, if not traitorous. I didn’t believe it when I read it. But after reading it again, I decided I must write this article. Wow! Here was Mr. Conservative George Will praising John Kerry and the liberal position on the Iraq war generally!

George Will was commenting on the excellent way the British foiled the terrorism plot that sought to use liquid explosives to blow up over the ocean 10 aircrafts flying between England and America. He praised the British for following the advice of John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic candidate for president:

"Cooperation between Pakistani and British law enforcement (the British draw upon useful experience combating IRA terrorism) has validated John Kerry's belief (as paraphrased by the New York Times Magazine of Oct. 10, 2004) that 'many of the interdiction tactics that cripple drug lords, including governments working jointly to share intelligence, patrol borders and force banks to identify suspicious customers, can also be some of the most useful tools in the war on terror.' In a candidates' debate in South Carolina (Jan. 29, 2004), Kerry said that although the war on terror will be 'occasionally military,' it is 'primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world.'"

If any liberal would say today that the "war on terror" is "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation" he would be visited with a Swiftboat smear. And, indeed, Kerry was visited that way.

Will George Will be visited by the Swiftboat Smearers? Will did not follow the party line. He deviated from the script. He is supposed to shout "war" not "law enforcement." What will be his punishment? I know he is not a liberal. However, plenty of conservatives have been mercilessly attacked. Will Will escape?

How can Republican leaders disregard such disloyalty? He praised a Democrat, Bush's opponent. And he rained on the Republican "war" parade, the one that they were depending on to stem severe Republican losses in November. According to Republican logic, Will deserves to be called a "traitor."

I say that though Will is a Republican, he is right. Let's take a lesson from the British and hunt down the terrorists the way we hunted down the gangsters and the Mafia.

Posted by Paul Siegel at August 15, 2006 5:23 PM
Comment #175700

This is just the latest in a very (VERY) long line of experts who agree with the liberal philosophy that Terror should not be fought as a WAR. These experts also see the issues in Iraq and the mis-handlings of the Middle East by this Administration. (Bush was being severely knocked around for calling the Israeli incursion into Lebanon a victory. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!)

This is quickly becoming a non-partisan discussion… both sides of the isle are seeing Bush for what he is: a dismal failure.

Posted by: tony at August 15, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #175701

Except, of course, Will didn’t criticize Bush. We’ll see if he can withhold his public criticism until Bush leaves office.

I had to read Will a few times this morning before I realized what he was saying.

I said to someone yesterday that, when we look back on this era in a decade or so, we’ll see it as a time when our policies created more terrorists than we killed.

Posted by: Steve K at August 15, 2006 5:48 PM
Comment #175704

How wrong does a Republican policy need to be in order for George Will to call it out? This is a man, after all, who’d like another chance to see if Reaganomics could work.

Posted by: David S at August 15, 2006 6:05 PM
Comment #175706

Hold the Phone Guys.
George Will didnt critisize the administration. All he did was point out the joint operations of law enforcment and government can yield results. This is no way a smear of anything republican. It is simply being intellectually honest. And no the republicans are not going to hang him for thinking something different than the rest like the dems did to Lieberman. I believe you are looking to far into this. He was just praising Britian.

Posted by: Anthony at August 15, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #175709


You guys keep setting up the straw man. Any deviation from Bush does not mean Kerry. Republicans have much more tolerance for diversity in their party, unlike the Dems who kick out their former VP candidate and successful senator for thought crimes.

And the Brits did a good job BECAUSE they were able to do many of the things liberals in the U.S. complain about re searches and surveillence. There is a good article on the Dianne Rehm show today re. Listen

Posted by: Jack at August 15, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #175712


George Will praising John Kerry and Jack listening to liberal talk show Dianne Rehm. What is the world coming to?

All kidding aside Jack, I sure wish you and other republicans would cut the Lieberman crap.
He was NOT kicked out by the Democratic Party. Virtuely all the leadership of the Dems supported Lieberman. To say he was kicked out is disingenuous and hurts your credibility which is considerable.

Posted by: mark at August 15, 2006 7:07 PM
Comment #175713

Hurrah for you Jack. You’re absoutely correct in pointing out that the success the Brits had were in large part due to bank, personal, and telephone surrivelance. These same tactics I have read on this very blog being critized as unconstitutional. Well, the verdict is still out as to the constitutionality of these procedures, but I doubt if the majority in Congress and on the U.S. Supreme Court will find that so.
As for George Will, I love the guy. Some of my favorite TV memories revolve around George and Sam Donaldson verbally kicking each around. And, who can forget David Brinkley’s famous statement while anchorman at the Democrat convention nominating Bill Clinton the first time. To paraphrase Brinkley, “that man never had an original thought of his own.”

Posted by: Jim at August 15, 2006 7:11 PM
Comment #175716

Jack, et al.,

As was mentioned, I don’t think the Dem Party kicked Lieberman, I think the Dem VOTERS did. You can’t lay the blame on your straw men for that.

As for the phone, bank, etc. surveillence - it is not the action in and of itself I have a problem with, it definitely does have its place. I don’t know exactly how the Brits etc. went about it (do you?) but the indiscriminate searching and trolling through the millions of records with no actual target in sight, and without any kind of warrant or such to legitimize those actions is the kind of thing that wrinkles me a bit. That is how bush does it, his MO.

I agree with the idea that less military and more intelligence is the way to handle things. We see what the other way around has done.

Posted by: myles at August 15, 2006 7:29 PM
Comment #175719


As I understand it, all of the surveillance was done legally, with warrants. Please correct me if I’m wrong. That’s all the dems have been pushing for. I know of no democrat who has been against surveillance of terrorists. What they have been against is the Bush administration breaking the laws, and not permitting oversight.

This point that the effort is largely a law-enforcement one has been rising to the surface lately, and more and more people on both sides of the aisle have been jumping on board. Even Ken Mehlman agreed with that, while still voicing his strong suppport of the Bush admin.

While I find George Will to be rather arrogant, I also have heard him disagree with particular conservative policies over the years. So he’s not an automaton. I wish he would disagree more, but hey; I’m a democrat!

And regarding your last comment (although I don’t see what it has to do with this topic), I guess Clinton proved Brinkley wrong on that one.

Posted by: Cole at August 15, 2006 7:34 PM
Comment #175720

“What they have been against is the Bush administration breaking the laws, and not permitting oversight.” Posted by: Cole at August 15, 2006 07:34 PM
Cole, no court has ruled that the Bush administration has broken any laws and I believe you know that. If I am wrong, please cite the case. I have voted Democrat, Republican and Independent over my lifetime. I have no idea how I will vote in the coming Presidential election…hell, I don’t even know who will be on the ballot. One thing for certain though, I won’t vote for a candidate who suggests we can fight terrorism with warrants and liberal judges. God Save America from the appeasers and peace at any price advocates! Jim

Posted by: Jim at August 15, 2006 7:49 PM
Comment #175721


I would disagree with your last statement.

After all, we did try to counter terrorism with police and intelligence. It got us 9/11. While the people ‘involved’ in WTC ‘93 were arrested (save one) the people who funded and planned the attack were left free to do it again.

Thanks a lot Clinton.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 15, 2006 7:51 PM
Comment #175727

As for Paul’s assertion that Kerry was ‘swiftboat smeared’, that’s a case in point that he has no idea what he is talking about in this case. The swiftboat group was led by a guy who was fighting against Kerry since the mid 70s, I don’t think Rove called him up and said ‘hey, do you want to smear Kerry a bit’ but instead he went out on his own to write and promote the book.

Yes, he did has supporters who were republican, just as Michael Moore and MoveOn had democratic supporters. For years I’ve been hearing that Michael Moore and MoveOn weren’t the mainstream of the Democratic party, yet those same people want to put these two groups in the same bucket, even though Bush did repeatedly denounce all of the 527s, unlike Kerry who refused to.

The simple fact is that Kerry sunk his own boat, so to speak, by presenting to the american voter a face of someone who was incapable to be a leader, one that was even worse than Bush. He has no one to blame but himself, just as his supporters have no one to blame but him, no matter how much rewriting of history they want to do.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 15, 2006 7:58 PM
Comment #175728

Where was George Will before the election, when it mattered? Pat Buchanan and George both have a tendency to criticize mid term and then circle the wagons come election time. What I found to be even worse, was both the Houston Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune are regularly critical of Bush and at election time both endorsed Bush.

So I always take their op-eds with a grain of salt and save them for the birdcage.

Posted by: gergle at August 15, 2006 8:00 PM
Comment #175732

I would say Will *is* criticizing Bush, but more over Israel/Lebanon (the topic of the article – and a point where I suspect I personally agree with Kerry & Will more than Bush). I don’t believe that fighting should be so rushed into (despite the 2 hostage & 6 dead soldiers). However:

1.) I believe cooperating with Pakistan was Bush’s strategy long before ever espoused by Kerry. After ~totally ignored by Clinton (correct?), Bush correctly approached the region (incl Afghanistan) in a Pakistan-centric strategy, and I believe this has been shown in hindsight to be correct, yes?

2.) I believe intelligence gathering and going after terrorists in a Law Enforcement Way is something that Bush does/advocates far more than Kerry (or any other Dem, from weekly verbal lynchings by Dems that he has the US overstepping intelligence operations). In fact, I believe that the Brits (in general and in this case in particular) are far more allowing of phone/bank/personal searches than Bush advocates, and this is more than Dems advocate. Correct?

I do want to give anyone (incl Bush) credit/blame where I think it is due. But, again, like Will & Kerry, I think Bush has been quite unwise in the middle east / Israel / Lebanon (e.g., never allowing anyone in his Administration to talk(!) to the democratically elected Arafat), and is too quick to advocate military solutions here (and, with 20/20 hindsight, Iraq also).

Posted by: Brian at August 15, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #175736

Yes, I’ve been reading George Will for over two decades, and he doesn’t always toe the party line. He’s been critical of the Republicans cozying up the fundamentalist right, too.

William Buckley has been very critical of our adventure in Iraq. Here’s a recent example.

These guys,and Patrick Buchanan too, represent old-school conservativism. I’ve usually disagreed with Will and Buckley, but I’ve always respected them.

Posted by: Trent at August 15, 2006 8:39 PM
Comment #175738

“This farrago of caricature and non sequitur makes the administration seem eager to repel all but the delusional. But perhaps such rhetoric reflects the intellectual contortions required to sustain the illusion that the war in Iraq is central to the war on terrorism, and that the war, unlike “the law enforcement approach,” does ‘work.’”

That was from George Will’s column cited in Paul’s article.


Posted by: Trent at August 15, 2006 8:47 PM
Comment #175739


Steve, Anthony: “Will didn’t criticize Bush” - “George Will didnt critisize the administration.” I beg to differ.

Bush’s campaigners certainly came down hard, hard, hard on Kerry’s law enforcement analogy - that was a big GOP talking point for a while. Now Will is saying: “Cooperation between Pakistani and British law enforcement … has validated John Kerry’s belief … that ‘many of the interdiction tactics that cripple drug lords… can also be some of the most useful tools in the war on terror.’” But even better is Will’s comment:

such rhetoric [a prior quote from senior administration official] reflects theintellectual contortions required to sustain the illusion that the war in Iraq is central to the war on terrorism, and that the war, unlike “the law enforcement approach,” does “work.”

Which should surprise nobody, really. I don’t often agree with Will but he’s one of the few Red-Team pundits that actually comes out and says what he thinks, rather than just trying to pursuasively echo latest the GOP talking points. I respect the man.

Posted by: William Cohen at August 15, 2006 8:48 PM
Comment #175740

Re surveillance

All I know I read in the papers or heard on the Dianne Rehm show I linked.

What I do know is that the Brit system requires a different standard than our probable cause. They can also detain people on suspicion. They have cameras around potential targets and can infiltrate potential terror groups in ways we would call profiling. The Brits enjoy as much freedom as we do. Maybe we can learn from them. There is a reasonable standard.

BTW - the French have even more robust rules than the Brits. Most of Europe does. Have you noticed when you check into a hotel in Europe the form is a bit longer? Why do you think that is? The U.S. refuses to have a national identity card. In many European countries you are required to carry one. Again, Europe is not more oppressive than the U.S. In this case, they are just more sensible.

Posted by: Jack at August 15, 2006 8:51 PM
Comment #175743

Britain also has a law that we don’t. It’s called the Official Secrets Act. All personnel involved in intelligence-counterintelligence work are subject to the law. It provides for severe penalties, up to life in prison, for anyone disclosing any information on ongoing, or even some finished, operations. Unlike us, though we have similar rules and laws, the Brits take such matters very seriously and are quite dogged in rooting out leaks. This is why you don’t see classified material on the front page of the London Times or the Manchester Guardian. Seems like we could use a bit more of the Brit spirit.

Posted by: John Back at August 15, 2006 9:13 PM
Comment #175748

I just fell off my chair, Jack called the French more sensible than US.

Posted by: mark at August 15, 2006 9:45 PM
Comment #175754


Give credit where due. They also get 78% of their electricity from nuclear energy. That is smart too. Their food is good and the countryside very pleasant.

They are not so good at job creation and they tend to annoy us. Most things have more than one aspect.

Posted by: Jack at August 15, 2006 10:52 PM
Comment #175761

George Will is saying what I have been saying for some time. The “War on Terror” ended some time ago. The next step is for a national recognition that terrorism is not sufficiently important to be a policy focus.

There will always be terrorists. There will always be loons. OBL needs to be captured, as does Zawahiri and other advocates of murder. But the efficacy of a military approach ended in 2003. Iraq never contributed to the “war” at all. In fact, it made the situation worse.

Once the Bush administration goes away, and Americans slowly but surely regain their perspective, the next act will be to undermine the causes of terrorism.

The US needs to withdraw support from Israel, and withdraw most forces from the Middle East. We need to continue being advocates of democracy through peaceful means.

Because of 9/11, and because of an unseemly fear which has gripped so many citizens, we have latched onto the idea of using the military to accomlish goals.

We can accomplish our goals more surely, more certainly, and permanently, by relying upon our true strengths. Call it what you will- the forces of globalization, economic power, Human Rights, western culture, Soft Power- it is an irresistable historical force, one which goes hand in hand with the values we all share- a dedication to freedom, among other things- and when Americans regain their confidence, we will be back, and this will all seem like a bad and rather embarrassing dream.

Posted by: phx8 at August 15, 2006 11:26 PM
Comment #175762


“no court has ruled that the Bush administration has broken any laws and I believe you know that”

Yes, I know that. It’s an interpretation of the law by educated people. The case has not yet been tested in court. So until that happens, neither of us can say that it’s legal or illegal. I believe you understand that I was referring to the legal opinions offered by many.

What seems to be missed in my statements, and those of many democrats, is that the issue is the legality. It’s not about wiretapping, surveillance, or eavesdropping, per se. It’s about whether the NSA has the legal authority to do this without a warrant. We ALL want the surveillance, etc. But, (and I’m repeating myself) we want it done legally. The NSA (part of the Executive Branch) is not above the law. I’ve read both FISA and the Constitution many times, and still cannot see how this can be interpreted as being legal, unless the warrants are obtained. A large number of legal scholars have come to that same conclusion.
If you want to disagree with the law that requires it, that’s fine. Push for legislation which will allow it. But let’s not give ANY administration carte blanche to select which laws they will obey and which they will not.
Can we at least agree on that one point?


I’m not going back through that entire debate on what Clinton did/did not do in this particular forum. My evidence to the contrary (of your statement) is much too lengthy. Let’s just agree to disagree on this day.

Posted by: Cole at August 15, 2006 11:38 PM
Comment #175763


The case has not yet been tested in court. So until that happens, neither of us can say that it’s legal or illegal.

In the old USSR, if the law did not specifically allow people to do something, it was best to not do it. In the USA, we operate differently. Unless the law specifically prohibits something, it is allowable. Put together with the concept of innocent until proven guilty, and I’d say that the strategies are legal until proven otherwise.

What that means is that if it never goes to court, then it will be presumed legal. We simply don’t have a middle ground of “might or might not be legal”. It may ultimately be decided that the tactics were illegal, but until that point, they will remain legal.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at August 15, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #175767

How are ya?
By that logic, then, it’s illegal. The constitution and FISA already say it’s illegal. There is no law that says it is legal, except some ambiguous wording in the law that was enacted which allowed Bush (et al) to fight the war on terrorism.
So in this scenario, it’s already illegal, except for a broad interpretation by the administration. That same administration has been fighting against it going to court where it could be tested. That’s why it’s such a large issue to dems. As long as the admin can say that it can’t go to court because it’s classified, it can never be tested, and the admin gets to do whatever it wants.
So, it’s illegal, and the admin needs to prove otherwise (in my opinion). And I’m not alone in that position. Congress never anticipated this issue when they passed the law. In fact, some of them never even thought it gave Bush the power to go into Iraq.
I think that it will come up if the dems win a majority in the house. And I think that some changes will be made. The admin has already agreed to more oversight and has asked for some legislation to make it legal, so even they recognize the problem.

Posted by: Cole at August 16, 2006 12:35 AM
Comment #175768


By the way, I’m still perplexed as to how FISA could be considered constitutional without an amendment to the 4th amendment. Perhaps someone smarter than I can explain that.

Posted by: Cole at August 16, 2006 12:41 AM
Comment #175770
I’m not going back through that entire debate on what Clinton did/did not do in this particular forum. My evidence to the contrary (of your statement) is much too lengthy. Let’s just agree to disagree on this day.

And my evidence that my assertion is correct is pretty conclusive. But since you don’t seem to want to debate it there’s not much left to do is there?

From my guess of your statement then we were all just fine and hunky until Bush took over and within 9 months we had raised up all kinds of enemies and they took to creating a massive attack on the US from within the US in thost few short months.

Swell. Except of course they were in the US long before the election and laws in place by the Clinton administration prevented the information gathering to take place (which hasn’t been fixed and I’m peeved at Bush for that mistake) don’t seem to jive with your ‘evidence to the contrary’.


Posted by: Rhinehold at August 16, 2006 12:47 AM
Comment #175771
we did try to counter terrorism with police and intelligence. It got us 9/11.

No Rhinehold. Incompetence and disregarded warnings got us 9/11. Better police work and attention to FBI warnings would have spared America that attack.

Hurray for the Brits who followed up a warning that didn’t even come on a CIA daily brief.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2006 12:52 AM
Comment #175772


Respectfully, I’ve debated this issue so many times that I’m weary of it. Your characterization of what I belive is not correct.

I also do not hold that any administration, including the Clinton one, was perfect. But I don’t go along with this notion that Clinton did nothing; it was all his fault. Absolute comments like that are rarely true.

As I said, I’m not going to get into it with you. Doing so would involve my dredging up months of info gathering and documentation that is stored on my computer, and I’m really not in the mood for that. It’s late and I have to begin moving tomorrow. It’s hurricane season here in SE Louisiana, and I’m moving to higher ground before the activity heats up. Last year’s floods were enough for me.

I hope my comment is not interpreted as trying to get a “last word”, because that is not its intent.

Posted by: Cole at August 16, 2006 12:57 AM
Comment #175773

I know Rhinehold’s not going to pay any attention, but for more info on how better police and intelligence work could have easily foiled 9/11, read the 9/11 Commission Report (free online) or Senator Bob Graham’s excellent book, “Intelligence Matters”.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #175775


I’m not sure why you suggest such a thing, I think I’m pretty open to new information even if it is different then my current view.

Having said that I have two things to say to both you and Cole.

I never once said that 9/11 was ALL of Clinton’s fault. My comment was that the tactics of Clinton show how little effect his administration was in dealing with the problem. He had a myriad of failures and can not be absolved from what happened, any more than his predecessor who brought about the ire of bin Laden in the first place by putting American troops in Saudi Arabia.

I also do think we should have been doing more and should now to more police and intelligence work. I just don’t think the notion that we treat terrorism as a singularly police problem nor a militiary one. I’ve never once suggested such a thing. However, in the case of WTC 93, if we had gone after the people behind the plot then instead of washing our hands of it once the people physically involved it in were put in jail (mostly) then maybe we wouldn’t have as big of a problem as we do now.

By using all of our resources, both police and military, in the right circumstances and the right times, only then can we do anything about the problem. But if people want to continue trying to play partisanship with the issue as is evidenced by the original article, then we are doomed to continue with failure after failure no matter which party is in charge, neither one so far has dealt with it appropriately.

As for the 9/11 report, it’s nice how people on the left and right both use it to tout their own issues but ignore when it doesn’t back up their arguments. But that’s just another sign of the times I suppose. Yes, I’ve read it, I have it saved on my hard drive and I reference it when I need to.

So put away the straw men and partisanship and deal with the issues at hand, mmmkay?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 16, 2006 1:31 AM
Comment #175786


Thou see what thou wants to see!

How that Will quote turned into a massive condemnation of Bush and all things republican shows the far reaching, desperate atmosphere of democrats.

The War on Terror involves EVERYBODY, to include the Marine Sergeant or the Police Sergeant or the fan walking into a crowded stadium noticing wires sticking out of a guy’s jacket.

To seclude this war just to just “policing” means fighting the war only at home.

So, some friendly advice for democrats (I really can’t believe I’m doing this but here goes): This tought of taking the military out of the war on terror does not help the general understanding from those in the middle and on the right that you are weak on terror. If you want to be seen as strong on terror, you will endorse fighting it with every means possible, as aggressively as possible. The War on Terror isn’t a competitive game of croquet, you have to seek out, close with, and destroy the enemy as early and as often as possible. PERIOD, DOT, THE END.

Or you could be directed to a life of Islam and a wife in a berka, it’s really your choice.

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 16, 2006 3:31 AM
Comment #175790
My comment was that the tactics of Clinton show how little effect his administration was in dealing with the problem.

No, you said, “we did try to counter terrorism with police and intelligence. It got us 9/11.” If you want to backpedal, fine, I think you should.

I just don’t think the notion that we treat terrorism as a singularly police problem nor a militiary one.

Nobody on this thread suggested it was. But, again, nice backpedal. In fact, Democrats have been trying to get Bush to double the number of Spec Ops troops for years, but Bush and Rummy have resisted it.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 16, 2006 3:48 AM
Comment #175805

As a conservative, I do not find George Will’s comments outrageous or traitorous and I agree with him.

John Kerry lost the election for many reasons, one of which was that he did not articulate his approach to fighting terrorism to the point where the people could understand him.

There are two fronts we fight…one best handled by our military and the other by our law enforcement/intelligence offices.

If we are going to remove terrorist-supported governments (like Iraq, Syria or Iran), them we better use our military. Law enforcement just can’t do it.

But we need to use our law enforcement and intelligence gathering tools to address domestic threats/plots, because our military aren’t trained in these areas.

The military wins wars, the police fight crime. Understand the difference and the discussion will make sense.

Posted by: mac6115cd at August 16, 2006 8:46 AM
Comment #175808

While the discussion has focused on what George Will said, (I think he is correct that this administration is delusional,) a portion of the earlier comments has been ignored. The Democratic Party does not feed on its own and it is very inclusive. The charge that Lieberman was “expelled” because of intolerance is simply a distraction from the real reason he lost. His policy choices were wrong in the view of the voters.

Much more can be said of the Republican Party’s intolerance the defeat of centrist Republican congressional candidates and the insistence of the religous right that candidates pass the litmus test of abortion is clearly much less tolerant than the Democrats ever thought of being. Indeed there are organized groups within the Republican Party that insists on purging transgressors. See Link:

The modern history of the Republican Party is based on being exclusive. The current rise of the Republican Party can be traced to the flight of segregationist southern Democrats to the Republican Party. This flight started with Harry Truman’s integration of the armed forces (remember Trent Lott’s loving remarks about segregationist Strom Thurmond. Thurmond split the Democratic Party by running against Truman because of integration.) followed by Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” and the southern Democrat’s “George Wallace and Lester Maddox insurgency.” The move was finally completed with the adoption of Ronald Reagan as conservatisms poster child since he spoke to these folks without being overtly tainted by segregation.

The Republican Party has become the Party of exclusion and divisiveness, people will become tired of it…I just hope it’s soon.

Posted by: Bill at August 16, 2006 8:57 AM
Comment #175812

Finally, after years, I’m glad people are starting to see the obvious. Intelligence works; security works; declaring war on a tactic is not helpful.

Posted by: Schwamp at August 16, 2006 9:28 AM
Comment #175815

Rhinehold says: “However, in the case of WTC 93, if we had gone after the people behind the plot then instead of washing our hands of it once the people physically involved it in were put in jail (mostly) then maybe we wouldn’t have as big of a problem as we do now.”

I assume you’re saying that since, OBL was the person behind WTC93, Clinton should have gone after him then, and got him. Perhaps you’re right. But then after 9/11 Bush should have gone after OBL, and gotten him - and 5 years later(!) OBL is still out there, unapprehended. That’s Bush’s failure, not Clintons - it’s not a failure to use force, but a failure to use force intelligently.

Many more people approve of Bush’s retaliatory invasion of Afghanistan than approve of Bush’s (badly mismanaged) pre-emptive excursion into Iraq.

Bill - right on. The Democrats tend to be all over the map on many issues, and Republicans have been strictly regimented - at least until recently. At least that’s the way it looks to me. If you want to understand why Joe L lost, watch the video of him kissing Bush and read Colbert’s analysis, or just the title: “Evidently Low Approval Ratings Can Be Contracted By Saliva”

Posted by: William Cohen at August 16, 2006 9:35 AM
Comment #175824


After all, we did try to counter terrorism with police and intelligence. It got us 9/11.

Republican obstruction would be a good start in assigning blame for 9/11:

- sent legislation to Congress to allow for BETTER TRACKING OF TERRORIST FUNDING. It was DEFEATED BY REPUBLICANS in the Senate because of opposition from banking interests.

— sent legislation to Congress to TIGHTEN AIRPORT SECURITY. (Remember, this is before 911) The legislation was DEFEATED BY REPUBLICANS because of opposition from the airlines.

— sent legislation to Congress to add tagents to explosives, to allow for BETTER TRACKING OF EXPLOSIVES USED BY TERRORISTS. It was DEFEATED BY REPUBLICANS because of opposition from the NRA.

Remember, each and every time the Bush administration raises the terror alert (orange, red)…it means YOU ARE NOT SAFE and it means Bush isn’t “winning” against terrorism…

Posted by: Lynne at August 16, 2006 10:18 AM
Comment #175825


I never said that Bush was a paragon of success, did I? Why is it everyone on this blog seems to think that if you disapproved of the way Clinton handled terrorism that you must agree with the way Bush is handling it…

I am upset that he hasn’t gotten OBL yet, it seems that some leaning on Pakistan would take care of that in short order. I also have a number of issues with Bush on some other fronts as well, especially his handling of the war and inability to address key questions about the WMD that I want answered.

But that being said, Clinton screwed up, Bush (both of them) screwed up and instead of getting on a chair and screaming these facts we bicker between the parties in pettery partisanship and nothing gets done and no one is truly held accountable.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 16, 2006 10:20 AM
Comment #175827


Perfect example of what I was just commenting to William about, good timing!

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 16, 2006 10:21 AM
Comment #175829


Way to turn my post which shows your bias against using good old police work against terrorists into something completely different…

Sorry…you can’t ignore the fact that the Congressional Republicans disallowed the very police-type tactics that would have gone very far in preventing 9/11…without their obstruction, 9/11 might never have happened.

I don’t see them taking a bow for their obstruction which supported the very terrorism that has followed.

Posted by: Lynne at August 16, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #175835

“You could be directed to a life of Islam and a wife in a berka…”

Strong on fear.

Posted by: phx8 at August 16, 2006 10:59 AM
Comment #175836


I’m not sure what you’re arguing with me about on this, I’ve never said that we shouldn’t be using police in investigating terrorism, in fact if you look back you’ll see that I have qualified that more than once.

As for ignoring Congressional Republicans, who was doing that? Again, I stated that we should be blaming both parties, at least 3 different presidents and all politicians for putting partisanship above doing their jobs. Please find in there where I defend anyone…?

My point is that treating is ONLY as a police matter is a recipie for disaster, as we have seen. Treating is ONLY as a military matter is also never going to work. Only by using all resources available to us are we going to put an end to terrorism, at least enough that it won’t be a concern of our daily lives. I’m tired of hearing about it, of seeing it employed and of seeing nation-states supporting the use of it as a fair game tactic.

Until we do something about combatting those nations that support and fund terrorism the few whackjobs that continue to use the tactic will have the ability to do much more damage than they could if they were not funded and expunged from society.

However, we should also be on the lookout for anyone who is intent on causing another human being harm and protecting them.

Of course, if you would rather play the partisanship card, or try to convince people that we shouldn’t be using the military when necessary to combat terrorism, boiling it down to just a police matter, well I think we’ve seen what comes from that.

As for Clinton and the ‘republican congress’, they BOTH failed. Sleep well.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 16, 2006 11:12 AM
Comment #175878

Republicans can smell a dead albatross around their necks. Rats always abandon a sinking ship first.

Posted by: gergle at August 16, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #175880

PHX 8,

Do you deny that all extremist Muslims and a good portion of mainstream Muslims think that anyone who doesn’t practice Islam is a godless pig and probably deserves either to die or a life in slavery … and would gladly car-bomb an Israeli Pizzaria or a NYC hot spot to drive their point home?

See, now your answer will inevitably be something about “most Muslims” this and “most Muslims” that. The problem with claiming the majority of Muslims are reasonable “live and let live” people is that, if only 10% of Muslims want to dominate the world with Islamo Fascism, then we have 200 million people ready to commit terrorist acts should they be given the training and financing to do so. TWO HUNDRED MILLION TERRORISTS!

Sometimes it’s right to be concerned!!!

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 16, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #175884

Gasp! A conservative disagreed with Bush?! How surprising? Can it be, just maybe, that even conservatives are getting tired of Bush? Since when did being a conservative mean you agree with everything Bush does? I call myself a conservative and I have no great love for the man. Since when is the prescence of debate and disagreement inside a group surprising?

Its been a whoping 5 years since 9/11. Thats not very long. You guys all expect us to have caught one guy with a very extensive security network, a gazillion hiding places and pretty good knowledge of US intelligence practices (thank you, media) inside 5 measly years?! I doubt we’ll ever catch him. In any case its far easier and more cost effective to take out his capability to hurt us than actually hurt him.

I think its safe to say that both the military and law enforcement are necessary tools in the War on Terror. Blasting away at everything in sight does not work so well, usually you make more enemies than you kill. (Iraq) Waiting till they’re here then hoping we catch them doesn’t work so hot either, usually some get through and make bad things happen. (9/11)

Members of both parties are partially at fault for 9/11. Everyone at fault should be held accountable, Rep and Dem alike, according to the magnitude of their fault. Can anyone disagree with this?

Posted by: Silima at August 16, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #175888

Ken said,

“The problem with claiming the majority of Muslims are reasonable “live and let live” people is that, if only 10% of Muslims want to dominate the world with Islamo Fascism, then we have 200 million people ready to commit terrorist acts should they be given the training and financing to do so. TWO HUNDRED MILLION TERRORISTS!”

My God! Let’s invade !!!!!

Posted by: Trent at August 16, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #175899

Ken Strong is a man possessed. Someone hurry up and send over an army recruiter now before he comes to his senses. I could see it now…a lone american gunman wandering through the middle east shooting anyone brown and all the while yelling about them being the “terrorists”.

Hilarious. But sad too…as his vote in the next national election will certainly negate mine.

My favorite part is:

“To seclude this war just to just “policing” means fighting the war only at home.”

Now there is one confused statement. Ever hear of the “Vietnam Police Action”? You can make all the arbitrary rules about what to label it that you want to make…it doesn’t change the fact that a soldier today is not fighting, they are policing (serving and protecting foreign governments and citizens). They do this not from fortified positions, but from the streets they routinely patrol.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 16, 2006 3:30 PM
Comment #175901

to hell with the constitution, it’s just a piece of paper.

let’s all just throw away our freedoms, and let OBL win.

he already has.

Posted by: garbo at August 16, 2006 3:38 PM
Comment #175904

Rhinehold, Ken, et al.,

Can you please name one military response to terrorism that has resulted in a reduction in terrorism originating from that country?

Can you please name one successful regime change in the Middle East? In a Muslim country?

[crickets chirping]

Does not the lack of answers to the above questions shift the burden of proof to Bush Co. to prove that the policies work rather than force anyone in opposition prove the opposite?

Posted by: CPAdams at August 16, 2006 3:57 PM
Comment #175908

Why don’t we look at our history of regime change in the last 50 years or so? The facts are so much more powerful than partisan arguments:

Iran - a policy failure of such gargantuan proportions that it belongs in a Hall of Fame all its own; installing the Shah in 1953 began this whole mess

Iraq 1 - installing Saddam, to combat the failure in Iran with the fall of the Shah; gets extra credit points as the incubator for Ayatollah Khomeini’s raging anti-Western rhetoric.

Nicaragua 1/2 - supporting an oppressive dictator and then failing to defeat those who depose him - our favorite foreign policy tactic

Iraq 2 - the list is too long; approaching 9/11 in total American casualties (excluding the wounded); Iraq now losing as many as died on 9/11 on a MONTHLY basis

Vietnam - the 1963 assassination of South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem was the beginning of the end

Afghanistan - appropriate to end with this one; our work to overthrow the Soviets resulted in OBL - well done boys!

Regime change has been pursued by Democrat and Republican alike. The problem is it appears that the Democrats have learned it doesn’t work but the GOP learning curve is too long.

We must abandon regime change for the most logical and morally ambivalent of all reasons - it’s expensive and it doesn’t work.

Posted by: CPAdams at August 16, 2006 4:18 PM
Comment #175909

“No Rhinehold. Incompetence and disregarded warnings got us 9/11. Better police work and attention to FBI warnings would have spared America that attack.”

A minor increase in airport security would likely have prevented 9/11. Somehow bush supporters can’t seem to bring themselves to the realization that the pre 9/11 bush administration was completely lax in the terror fight and ignored warnings. They focus on the idea that since the beginning of the planning for the attacks probably happened under Clinton, that makes it 100% Clintons fault. Interesting convolution of logic.
BTW, just flew in from Hawaii yesterday. Despite the increased terror alert level (orange?? Anyone know what that means?), I noticed no increase in security beyond the posting of signs about liquids and hair gel. I believe the latest stats show that STILL, 4 out of 10 guns get through checkpoints, while a billion a week is still wasted in the Iraqi desert.

Posted by: Observer at August 16, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #175912


You should make clear that only one of the regime changes in your list is under a Democratic president…and that would be Diem in Vietnam.

The rest (and there are more!!) are all under Republican presidents.

Democrats learned in one outing…the Repubs are sloooooooow learners (Is our children learning?).

Posted by: Lynne at August 16, 2006 4:45 PM
Comment #175914
Republicans can smell a dead albatross around their necks. Rats always abandon a sinking ship first.

And the current commander-in-chief is already making sure he won’t be going down with his sinking ship:

Bush making sure he’s not incriminated as a war criminal

Bush must finally be starting to feel guilt…nope, couldn’t be…just fear.

Posted by: Lynne at August 16, 2006 4:48 PM
Comment #175915


Here’s the quote with which I disagreed…it’s right there in your post for the world to see:

After all, we did try to counter terrorism with police and intelligence. It got us 9/11. While the people ‘involved’ in WTC ‘93 were arrested (save one) the people who funded and planned the attack were left free to do it again.

Thanks a lot Clinton.

Doesn’t sound a bit like you’re supporting police and intelligence, does it!!

Posted by: Lynne at August 16, 2006 4:52 PM
Comment #175922


I’m glad you pointed out Bush’s rewriting of the War Crimes Act. This has gotten very little attention and deserves a lot. Of course we shouldn’t be surprised that GWB is trying to do this and we can’t let him get away with it. He must be getting nervous as his power fades away(or should I say “political capital”. Spend it all George!

Posted by: mark at August 16, 2006 5:41 PM
Comment #175928

The problem is that conservatives have a faith-based political philosophy. Because they are ideologically driven, they believe in certain axioms without proof (e.g., the invisible hand of the marketplace). This leads them to take stands in spite of the evidence, and so they are as likely to be wrong as to be right. They believe if someone is poor, it’s because they screwed up or they are lazy and so deserve no help, but if they are given any, they should do penance for their neediness. They believe that the government can’t do anything useful other than the military. They believe that lowering taxes is always a good thing and raising always bad. They believe the business of American is business and that a healthy economy is one marked by increased wealth regardless of how it is distributed among the people.

Sometimes a little evidence creeps in (e.g., they have to step over the homeless in the streets) and they modify their position a little bit, but always with the disclaimer that their axioms are still true, it’s just that this one time we have to bend. This recalcitrant position makes arguing with them tedious (I know, I used to be one in my youth). If you present them with evidence (for example, that the majority of those on welfare have physical or mental problems that make it impossible for them to support themselves), they ignore it and argue from principle or prior belief, or they cherrypick only those data that support their prior belief. Since they base their worldview on an essentially middle class vantagepoint, they are able to sway large chunks of the population who have experienced nothing beyond their own immediate environment and to whom their assertions about the world seem plausible. If most of the people you associate with are hale and hearty wage earners or professionals, and you never meet poor people in their own environment or even read the literature on the nature of poverty, then it is plausible that all the people on welfare are just like middle class folks, but lazy or inept.

Most run-of-the-mill conservatives sustain their beliefs by enforced ignorance, by attending only to sources that reinforce these beliefs and actively avoiding any credible sources that disagree or present a full complement of resources with which to evaluate the issues. This is why conservatives are angry with a) academe and b) public radio/television. If you actually study things by collecting data dispassionately and analyzing it, you get a much more nuanced view of the world and it will sometimes conflict with your deeply held prior beliefs. If you watch or listen to media that attempt to intelligently present and analyze current events, the facts won’t always agree with your political philosophy.

This is why it is so shocking when a Bill Buckley or a George Will, exceptions to much of the stereotyping above, consider the data and draw conclusions that conflict with the ideological purity of the main body of conservatives. It is why these two men are, more than most conservatives, regarded seriously by the center and left of the political spectrum. They seem to actually be trying to validate their core beliefs by not only applying their ideals to the world but also evaluating the effect of that application.

Plus, George Will is a knowledgeable and entertaining fan of and writer about baseball.

Go, Twins!

Posted by: Mental Wimp at August 16, 2006 6:11 PM
Comment #175932

Mental Whimp:

Thank you…your “handle” in no way seems to describe you, unless you are referring to your wanton conservative youth!

For too many, if they haven’t experienced it, it doesn’t exist, it can’t be true…yet they continue to proselytize politics with an invisible and unknown deity. Facts mean nothing which is why science is just a bunch of hooey.

You put it quite succinctly and kindly…but the rest of us are so tired of waiting for this type of people to wake up and get with reality!!

I believe that community service should be required of every child/teenager…homeschooled, public school, private school…this would go a long way toward leading them to an adulthood of living in reality instead of cringeing from it behind closed doors with like kinds.

I’ll never remember how shocked my daughter was when, during high school, she worked in a ghetto neighborhood daycare afterschool…one girl had had several of her family members killed in the streets and that girl took it as though it was just the way things were supposed to be…or the little girl who asked my daughter “you 16 and you don’t have no babies?”…she was crushed to see how these children were forced to live…

We can educate children now or incarcerate them later; we can feed children now or put up with stunted physical and mental growth later…

If people want to boil it down to economics instead of the common good, then it is well known that a $ of “care” saves $$$$ of “remedial” courses in adulthood.

OK, done ranting for the day. I’m just hoping we stop having so much flooding out here in the desert…goodness knows we need to break this horrendous drought, but not in a matter of days!

Posted by: Lynne at August 16, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #176131


The stereotyping of conservatives by liberals is about as useful as the stereotyping of:

Minorities by Racists
“Geeks” and “Jocks”, by High-School Students (and unfortunately many of their well-intentioned parents)
Northerners by Southerners
Southerners by Northerners
Frenchmen by Americans
Americans by Frenchmen
and Liberals by Conservatives.

Thanks for the gem. Btw, I thought stereotyping went against most liberal belief systems, but I’m obviously guilty of too much stereotyping of my own there.

To the tangent point the post makes, I believe that Will’s thesis has some validity. There are some real dangers in getting to tunneled vision on either approach as being the “final” answer though. Terrorists by occupation are adaptive folks, to counter them, our policies must be as well.

To the real thrust of the article, I’d be surprised if there was a dedicating bashing of Will or Buckley anytime soon. They are conservative icons with impressive credentials. Even most of us dumb conservatives are not willing to go after them when we disagree with them.

I hope that Will’s piece gets some serious consideration and has some impact. Often, the criticism must come from within the camp to have the power to persuade. See Clinton and welfare reform for a case study on this point.

Posted by: Rob at August 17, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #176150


Looks like Cole was right, hmmnnn, maybe the constitution has something to do with this administration. This administration seems to have little need for the constitution. Nice to see those chaecks and balances working.

Posted by: grattan at August 17, 2006 4:05 PM
Comment #176156

Where there is no STATE sponsored terrorism, it is NOT a proper response to attack any non-terrorist state…like was done re: Iraq.

Remember when Israelis were slaughtered at the Olymipics, the Israelis did NOT attack at “state.” They did track down the terrorists and made them pay w their lives…instead of declaring war against a country.


But, the Bushies were determined to take advantage of 9-11 to put their authoritarian idealogy in effect and rattle the weaponry in order to appear tough. Tough w other american lives in a non-sensible war of choice….based on ratcheted-up fear mongering.

And, in the end,for all their bluster, having NO IDEA HOW TO CONDUCT A WAR SUCCESSFULLY!

They know of no other way to govern for the benefit of the wealthy and detriment of those no so well off.

And, having no other policy, go DOWN in November for the sake of our constitution and betterment of the lives of all americans.

Posted by: Art Dolinj at August 17, 2006 4:14 PM
Comment #176185


I saw the article about the court ruling today. Of course, they will appeal, but for now it looks like the constitution held up.
Ironically, all of the publicly realeased info on any arrests revealed that info was obtained with warrants. So the warrantless version of the program was probably not needed, anyway.

Posted by: Cole at August 17, 2006 5:56 PM
Comment #176202

Remember this rogue nation that was WAY down on the priority list a few years ago?

So one country has loose (at best) ties to POSSIBLY financing SOME terrorist activity in a round about way and they are invaded and occupied. Another threatens a nuclear standoff, fires missiles towards the US, publicly mocks the US, and now possibly tests a nuke, and we won’t even acknowledge them? Can someone tell me the priorites we have to take this course of action? Preferably without a bunch of crap about China needing to take a role…we never needed them before, so we don’t need them now.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 17, 2006 7:07 PM
Comment #176676

Huh, now Joe Scarborough has joined the apostates. He dares to use the word “idiot.”

Posted by: Trent at August 20, 2006 9:40 PM
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