Third Party & Independents Archives

March 19, 2008

Sen. McCain Disqualifies Himself

Sen. John McCain disqualified himself from the presidency a number of times in the last 48 hours by declaring he does not know who the enemy is in Iraq or what they are doing. The third time he misspoke overseas declaring al-Queda is entering Iran for training and then returning to Iraq, Sen. Joe Lieberman immediately pulled him away from the mike, and educated McCain on the spot.

McCain had said for the third time in interviews in 24 hours: "it is "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." After Sen. Lieberman's off-mike remedial education whisper, Sen. McCain returned to the microphone and corrected himself saying it was Shiite extremists, not al-Queda, being trained in Iran.

Then McCain issued a written statement for the media today, in which he claims BOTH al-Queda and Shiite extremists are receiving support and training from Iran. A patently false statement. Sen. John McCain is not equipped to be our next president.

His behavior cries early onset Alzheimer's disease, or a fundamental lack of knowledge about the war in Iraq, which has been the cornerstone of his campaign, saying he would remain there as long as leaving might result in unrest in Iraq, which could be 100 years. In either case, he is a candidate whose command of the facts on the most important issue weighing on the American people and our economy, disqualifies him as commander in chief. We expect our commander in chief to have a command of the facts.

McCain said a week or so earlier that al-Queda will attack in Iraq in order to defeat his bid for president. Has no one informed Sen. McCain that al-Queda makes attacks in Iraq on an ongoing basis and has been doing so for several years now. This is the candidate who insists there is no leaving Iraq because that would create the potential for al-Queda and sectarian violence to re-occur. Again, the man's logic is straight out of a dementia ward.

First, the logical consequence of his statement is that we can never leave Iraq. Second, in order for something to reoccur, it must first stop. The violence in Iraq has never stopped since our invasion. And the fact that our very occupation in Iraq is causing Shiite extremists to create violence and seek outside assistance, because they see the U.S. as siding with and protecting the Sunnis, contradicts McCain's delusion.

The utter irony of McCain's campaign is that he sees himself as the only viable commander in chief with the judgment and experience to command our military. It is the foundation of his campaign. He admits he has little to no economics accumen or training, no constitutional education, no answers yet for Medicare and Social Security. The one area he claims to be superior in, is the one in which he is now demonstrating a complete lack of awareness of; war. He can't tell the difference between the enemies in the Middle East, and wrongly thinks he knows what they are doing over there.

America would do well to elect someone with a demonstrated command of reality and facts to be their next president. Not someone who seeks election while demonstrating an absence of mind about facts and details of minor things like correctly identifying our enemies and what they are up to. By inauguration, will he even be able to remember the oath of office recited by the Chief Justice? When that question has to be asked, that candidate is not the right one for president.

Posted by David R. Remer at March 19, 2008 07:17 PM
Comments
Comment #248498

Why is Joe Lieberman shadowing McCain overseas on his misspeaking tour? Is there a Lieberman VP slot in the offing?

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 19, 2008 08:01 PM
Comment #248504

David

I have had suspicions of poor health for some time. I do not believe he has released his medical records as of yet. I think age must be an important consideration for such an important position. And yes his entire campaign seems to be based on a continuance of current republican policy. He mentions need for change yet advocates for what has been obviously wrong for some time now.

I was thinking about who might be his vp the other day. And Lieberman is an obvious choice as I see it. They both are controversial and both are staunch supporters of the war. I wonder though as to just how effective Lieberman would be at helping to bring in the independent vote. It raises the question of just how independents really feel about the many sides of Lieberman.

Posted by: RickIL at March 19, 2008 08:45 PM
Comment #248508

RickIL, McCain may very well bring Lieberman on board in a cabinet position (if that was something Lieberman was at all interested in), but VP is out of the question. McCain would like to pick up some independent voters, yes, but that’s something he can accomplish to the extent that it’s possible on his own, and he’d totally alienate Republicans by picking an economic and social liberal who sides with Democrats on every issue except Iraq. He’s not going to go after a larger slice of the independent vote by alienating Republicans en masse.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 19, 2008 09:00 PM
Comment #248510

Loyal Opp, good analysis. I think you are absolutely right. Secretary of State or Ambassador to Israel or advisor on Middle Eastern affairs, perhaps. Big mistake, but, then McCain is no stranger to those.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 19, 2008 09:10 PM
Comment #248511

David, if it comes down to McCain and Obama, do we go with the candidate that has succeeded and failed, but has the record of doing both. Or do we go with Obama who has not extended himself and failed? I was always taught to learn from what I do wrong as much as I do when I am correct.

I think McCain has come back and said he “gets it” when it comes to the immigration issue. He understands to secure the border first. This shows that he learned from a mistake.

A poor comparison, but I’ll try anyway is Wright and Obama. Rather than admit a mistake for being associated with a church that preaches a sour message, he makes a speech about race.

Posted by: Edge at March 19, 2008 09:15 PM
Comment #248512

There are a great many ties between Iran and Al Qaida, and Iran has long been a sponsor of Al Qaida, so I don’t consider McCain’s remarks to disqualify him at all.

If this is the standard to be used—that any time a candidate makes a controversial statement or retracts a statement he’s previously made—then all of the candidates will soon be judged ready for the “dementia ward.” Why aren’t Obama’s factually inaccurate statements held to the same standard? Once again, this appears an attempt to hold Republicans to a double standard.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 19, 2008 09:17 PM
Comment #248516

Loyal: What exactly are those many ties between Iran and Al Queda? And are we talking about the Al Queda that attacked us, now centered in Pakistan or about Al Queda in Mesopotamia (Iraq) - different organization, though McCain doesn’t seem to realize that.

Posted by: TomD at March 19, 2008 10:04 PM
Comment #248518

UUUMMmmmm … I’m not very good at economics either.

Never mind Americans think it is importante!

All Americans need to know is that the War in Iraq is making us safer.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 19, 2008 10:19 PM
Comment #248520

Loyal,

Do you understand the difference between Sunni and Shia?

Posted by: googlumpus at March 19, 2008 10:21 PM
Comment #248522

TomD, you’re absolutely right that there are different terrorist branches in different areas that operate under the name “Al Qaida.” But they still call themselves “Al Qaida,” so it’s not a mark against anybody if they call these organizations by the same name they call themselves.

As for ties between the Al Qaida that attacked us on 9-11 and Iran, those are pretty well established. Nobody has said that Iran was behind 9-11 or that the Iranians even had advance knowledge of it, but I quote directly from the bipartisan 9-11 Commission’s report:

“In sum, there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers.”

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 19, 2008 10:27 PM
Comment #248524
Loyal,

Do you understand the difference between Sunni and Shia?

Sure do. And I also know that it’s a frequent and totally discredited canard that Sunnis and Shias, who otherwise hate each other, haven’t been able to find common ground when it comes to attacking their common enemies in the West under the Al Qaida umbrella.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 19, 2008 10:33 PM
Comment #248535

David

I am a little confused by your statement re Al Qaeda. I agree with you that AQI makes constant attacks in Iraq, but aren’t you one of those who say we are NOT fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq?

I also have no doubt that AQI will step up the attacks in Iraq (to the extent it can) in order to enhance the chances of a Democratic victory. Their goal is to drive us out of Iraq. You may or may not believe that they have already defeated us (Democrats tend to believe this, I do not) but Democrats have promised to leave Iraq. McCain has not. So the quickest way for AQI to achieve its often stated goal is for Obama or Hilary to win in November.

Re Shiite violence – these extremists were more violent a couple years ago when we were fighting Sunnis most of the time. Working with the Sunnis is a potential challenge, but our problems would not go away if we pursued any other strategy toward them.

LO et al

You are right that we make too much of the Sunni/Shiite spit. They can and do find common ground when they want to –both for good and bad. Many Iraqi families have members of both religions. I know a guy who has two wives, one Shiite the other Sunni. The terrorists in Iraq work with those who can help them. Do you really think Iranian agents would shy away from working with AQI if it was in their tactical interests? This is not saying the same as operational ties, BTW, but you recall how Stalin and Hitler could find common ground when they claimed to hate each other.

Posted by: Jack at March 20, 2008 12:42 AM
Comment #248538

There is no link between the Iranian government and Al Qaida. That is wrong, and ludicrous to boot.

Does the 9/11 report say there is “strong evidence”? I see. Please cite the “strong evidence.” If it’s “strong,” it should be an open and shut case, right?

Iran shares a long and porous border with Afghanistan. Iran and Pakistan compete with each other to establish dominating spheres of influence in Afghanistan. The Pakistani government, which is predominantly Sunni, supports the Taliban, who in turn supported Al Qaida. The Iranians support competing Shia groups. Tribal loyalties also define alliances.

There are some Shias in Pakistan, and there are some Sunnis in Iran. But the governments of those countries support the guys that are on their side. Not the other side.

When it comes to McCain and Iraq, comedian Bill Maher summed it up quite nicely: McCain isn’t toughter on Iraq. He’s dumber on Iraq.

Despite the briefings and the tours, McCain continues to make ignorant statements about Iraq and Iran. It’s a little alarming. With this most recent gaffe, Lieberman was there to correct him. But is this guy McCain up for the job? He never had a reputation for being the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but that’s not a disqualifying attribute for a Republican presidential candidate. Is he going senile? It is possible, you know. Sure, the presidential candidates are under tremendous pressure, and they do commit gaffes from time to time. But “100 years” in Iraq? Al Qaida and Iran? Not good. He keeps committing gaffes on similar topics.

Lieberman for Ambassador to Israel? That’s funny. He’s already the Senator from Israel. Why accept a demotion?

Posted by: phx8 at March 20, 2008 01:08 AM
Comment #248541
There is no link between the Iranian government and Al Qaida. That is wrong, and ludicrous to boot.

Ludicrous? Why, because you didn’t know about it?

And these are excerpts taken straight from the 9-11 Commission report.

Now, a person could disagree with the bipartisan 9-11 Commission if they want to—or better yet, disagree and explain why they think they have better facts. But I certainly don’t think it’s “ludicrous” or “demented” or “disqualifying” to accept the Iran-Al Qaida connections based on the evidence out there.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 20, 2008 01:44 AM
Comment #248543

Loyal Opp, once again your comments demonstrate how much error there is in your information gathering.

Al-Queda and Iran, if they have any connection, it is one of a tipping of the hat from a considerable distance. Iran has supported and been a supplier of Hezbollah. In 2006, the West suspected Iranian support of Hamas and claims to have evidence of it subsequently.

It is important to correctly identify who is who. Especially if like McCain, one claims to be in command of the situation with the right plan to deal with it. McCain doesn’t even know who the players are or their relationships with each other. Neither Iran nor Iraq has any desire to harbor al-Queda in their countries. The people of Iran and Iraq dislike that notion just about as much as the idea of hosting the U.S. in their countries. How someone like McCain has the audacity to campaign for president without doing their homework in the National Intelligence Estimate and the CIA Factbook like many of us common working Americans, is beyond me. This guy is faking it. And doing a very bad job of it.

The testimonies before Congress based on our National Intelligence Estimate is a good place to begin homework to acquire credence and reliability in discussing what is happening in the Middle East. If it is too much homework for McCain, he at least could be honest and admit to ignorance on the topic?

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2008 03:54 AM
Comment #248544

Loyal Opp, in a hearing before Congress last month, the DNI gave an assessment of al-Queda, and not once does he reference any link between al-Queda and Iran, though he expounds on many other global links, and goes at length into the threats posed by Iran, not one of which is itemized as any working relationship with al-Queda. Note the following for your education:

Turning first to terrorism, al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates continue to pose significant threats to Americans at home and abroad. And al Qaeda’s central leadership is its most dangerous component. Using its sanctuary along Pakistan’s northern border, al Qaeda has been able to maintain a cadre of skilled lieutenants capable of directing the organization’s operations around the world. It has lost many of its senior operational planners over the years, but the group’s adaptable decision-making process and its bands of skilled operative have been able to identify effective replacements. It’s now attempting to identify, recruit, train, and position operatives for attack on the homeland.

We assessed that al Qaeda’s homeland plotting is likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets, designed to produce mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among our population. Al Qaeda’s affiliates from Africa to Southeast Asia also pose a significant terrorist threat. Al Qaeda in Iraq, AQI as we refer to it, has been weakened during the past year, but it remains al Qaeda’s most visible and capable affiliate.

Another affiliate, al Qaeda in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is the most active terrorist group in northwestern Africa. We assess it represents a significant threat to U.S. and European interests in the region.

Other al Qaeda regional affiliates kept a lower profile in 2007, but we judge that they remain capable of conducting attacks against U.S. interests. Home grown extremists inspired by militant Islamic ideology, but without operational direction from al Qaeda, are an evolving danger, both inside the U.S. and to our interests abroad. Disrupted plotting last year in the United States illustrates the nature of this threat. In addition, our European allies continue to uncover new extremist networks plotting against the U.S. as well as targets in Europe.
Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2008 04:04 AM
Comment #248545

Jack, AQI and AQ are not the same organizations. At best they share a name. At worst, AQI receives a very small number of AQ operatives for training and tactical planning guidance. The NIE indicates AQ is busy beefing up its organization in Pakistan and Afghanistan and makes no mention of involvement in beefing up AQI in Iraq. That is a significant omission.

Assuming the AQ that continues to target the West and the U.S., does have some role in Iraq, though there is little evidence of it, their participation in Iraq is drawn there by one factor only, our presence there. It is just as probable that if the U.S. pulls out of Iraq, AQI will cease to exist in Iraq. What remains of it will be torn out by both Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq knowing full well their own aims will not be served in the long run by an AQ presence in Iraq as a reinvite to the U.S. to return.

Jack said: “I also have no doubt that AQI will step up the attacks in Iraq (to the extent it can) in order to enhance the chances of a Democratic victory.”

You may not have any doubt, but you also have not a shred of evidence to support such a hypothesis. The very idea that increased attacks in Iraq would have any significant impact on our elections here is ludicrous on its face. Attacks in Iraq have fluctuated widely without any connection to American elections, making any fluctuation around election time meaningless.

Jacking up terrorist threats around election time is the Bush administration’s tactic, not AQI’s. You, like McCain, confuse who is who and who is doing what. This kind of projection of our own tactics upon foreign enemies is part of what has led to the Bush Administration’s complete and total failure to accomplish anything in Iraq or Afghanistan other than prolonging the conflicts, widening AQ’s friendship circles, and crippling our ability to meet economic challenges staring us square in the face.

McCain is a man past his prime and like his predecessor is trying to fake capacity and ability he does not have. Thankfully, he is proving that before the public media long before he has a chance of being elected to his level of incompetence like GW Bush was.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2008 04:22 AM
Comment #248546

Loyal Opp said: “But they still call themselves “Al Qaida,” so it’s not a mark against anybody if they call these organizations by the same name they call themselves.”

Yes, it is an enormous black mark against their abilities. It is like trying to live in a world of color with only the word white to represent all colors. It renders one impotent in working with or communicating color. Just as McCain’s inability to distinguish between violent organizations referring to them all as al-Queda renders his judgment and abilities to be commander in chief impotent. And does it not occur to you that AQI may call themselves that to deliberately confuse the likes of John McCain and GW Bush and their supporters?

I do wish to thank McCain for revealing this incompetence before the world in time to prevent his election to his dream level of incompetence. There are 100’s of thousands of men and women in America who have served in the Armed Forces, and most of them, on that basis alone, do not have the unique set of qualifications to become an effective President of the U.S. Yet, this now appears to be McCain’s only competitive claim to the office over his rivals.

Whatever the reasons for his gross errors, early onset of Alzheimers, fatigue and old age, or just plain faking abilities and knowledge he just doesn’t have, all these reasons are more than ample to preclude a very large number of intelligent voters from voting for him regardless of Party affiliation. Unless their only criterion is ‘any GOP incompetent or fool is better than a Democrat’. Which of course, demonstrates no more care or responsibility than one would give to a Soccer game played by one’s home team determined by one’s place of residence and employment.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2008 04:39 AM
Comment #248562

From Slate com:

“It’s common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.”
—Sen. John McCain
“I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”
—Sen. McCain, a few moments later, after Sen. Joe Lieberman whispered in his ear.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 20, 2008 08:38 AM
Comment #248567

Yep, this will sink McCain. Just like all of Reagan’s gaffes were his undoing and G.W. Bush’s campaign came unglued after he couldn’t tell you who Musharraf was. Wait a minute, Oh yeah, they both won. Never mind.

Posted by: Duane-o at March 20, 2008 09:31 AM
Comment #248576

David,

I agree that McCain if we are to take him at his word, would be a disaster as President. He might even be worse than Bush because he is even more hawkish than Bush. I admit cognitive dissonance where he is concerned. I think that he could conceivably be worse than Bush now but I am also confident that he would have been better than Bush for the last 8 years. If he took us into Iraq I think that he would have prosecuted the war better. It is hard to imagine anyone doing worse. I was opposed to going into Iraq in the first place and in retrospect clearly I was correct, but the war was easily winnable and I think he would have won it. That would have made all the difference in the world. I also think that he would have gotten bin Laden at Tora Bora. But now??? He wants to go into Iran. That would make Iraq look like a cake walk.

Lieberman = Sec Def = war with all of Israel’s enemies = disaster for Israel, the Mideast and the U.S.A. McCain will go right for VP - ring wing fundamentalist extremist - James Dobson??? Too obvious maybe??? How about: Dr. H. Edwin Young. http://www.forbes.com/2003/09/17/cz_lk_0917megachurch_print.html

Posted by: Ray Guest at March 20, 2008 10:48 AM
Comment #248579

I wouldn’t think that Lieberman would leave his Senate seat for the after all the trouble it took to get elected the last time. He is 66 years old, and almost became VicePresident in 2000. Maybe he will get the VP nod from McCain after all. It would be a really good move for the Rpblcns, although I would think someone like Huckabee would be more likely.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 20, 2008 11:04 AM
Comment #248580

McCain-Romney ‘08!!!

Posted by: Duane-o at March 20, 2008 11:06 AM
Comment #248590

I meant to say in my previous post that I didn’t think Lieberman would leave the Senate for the SoD spot, only for the VP spot under old man McCain.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 20, 2008 12:17 PM
Comment #248614

David, your arguments are reaching ever-greater heights of absurdity. Allow me to educate you. And then hopefully you will thank me for so kindly helping to clear away the fog of ignorance in which your arguments so vainly struggle. I don’t mind helping, but I do think a little gratitude is in order.

In your numerous responses, you have failed to acknowledge—much less address—the findings of the bipartisan 911 Commission, which point to numerous ties between Iran and Al Qaida. You point out other hearings and intelligence reports that don’t discuss these matters—but so what? Those hearings and reports deal substantially with other matters. In fact, the main thing they deal with is Iran’s nuclear weapons program. And the quote you give is the DI’s response to a specific question from a Congressman—the question wasn’t even about the connections between Iran and Al Qaida.

If Roosevelt were to have given a speech late in WWII about Japan and not mentioned Pearl Harbor, using your logic it would mean that there was no connection between Japan and Pearl Harbor. Perhaps, David, the connection had already been made numerous times and it isn’t necessary to keep pointing out the same established facts over and over. How such elementary facts escape you is truly a mystery.

And does it not occur to you that AQI may call themselves that to deliberately confuse the likes of John McCain and GW Bush and their supporters?

Ridiculous. That is the name THEY call themselves, and so if anyone calls them by THEIR NAME it does not mean that person is not fully aware of the distinctions between different Al Qaida elements.

Obama recently vowed that when he becomes president, he will meet with the President of Canada. As you may or may not know, Canada doesn’t even have a president.

I look forward to your post on how Obama has demonstrated senility, ignorance, dementia and has disqualified himself for office for vowing to meet with people who don’t exist. Or is it only Republicans you hold to such standards?

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 20, 2008 01:48 PM
Comment #248616
Edge wrote: I think McCain has come back and said he “gets it” when it comes to the immigration issue. He understands to secure the border first. This shows that he learned from a mistake.
HHHMMMmmmm … not too sure about that.

After all, John McCain has been in Congress since year 1982. He saw the results of the 1986 Amnesty (which quadrupled the problem), yet his voting record on illegal immigration is awful.
So, how long does it take to “get it”? 26 years? ! ?

And merely securing the border is not enough.
Existing lawlessness that allows illegal employers to get away with violating the law should be stopped too (not to mention a long list of other laws being flagrantly violated: one-simple-idea.com/ConstitutionalViolations.htm).

And is Iraq really making the U.S. safer?
What about the thousands of victims in the U.S. killed annually by illegal aliens (more killed in 3 years than all U.S. troops killed in Iraq in 5 years)?

Posted by: d.a.n at March 20, 2008 02:00 PM
Comment #248628

And d.a.n., even considering McCain’s flaws on immigration, on balance who will be better on immigration—he or Obama, who has no appetite for any enforcement at all and even favors driver’s licenses for illegals?

I know, I know, the real issue is throwing out incompetent and corrupt incumbents. Let’s just assume that you’ve already said that and save you the trouble. So who would be better? Not who would be perfect, but who would be better?

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 20, 2008 03:42 PM
Comment #248632

Loyal Opps,
The two links you provide both refer to the same thing, a flurry of unsubstantiated, unproven charges included in the 9/11 Commission Report, and never supported by any subsequence information. Look carefully: an anonymous administration official thinks the 9/11 Commission will use strong evidence suggesting a link between Iran and Al Qaida. Lol. Back in 2004 it was still acceptable to confuse unsubstantiated intelligence allegations with evidence, and suggestions with fact. Not anymore. Go fish.

“So operatives either erased the Pakistani visas from their passports or traveled through Iran, which did not stamp visas directly into passports.”

You must be kidding! Iran, Pakistan, what they hey, pretty much the same thing, right? I mean, come on!

“But we now have evidence suggesting that 8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi “muscle” operatives traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.”

Sorry, but evidence has to do more than “suggest”. This is the kind of thing that got us into Iraq. Furthermore, traveling through a country DOES NOT mean the travelers are associated with the government of the transit country. That’s ridiculous.

Posted by: phx8 at March 20, 2008 04:30 PM
Comment #248634

Lieberman might have been telling McCain to hush on the State secrets:

This is a translation from Bruno Schirra’s article back in 2005:

The author of this article was able to look at a list of the holy killers who have found safe refuge in Iran. The list reads like the Who’s Who of global jihad, with close to 25 high-ranking leadership cadres of Al-Qa’ida — planners, organizers, and ideologues of the jihad from Egypt, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, North Africa, and Europe. Right at the top in the Al-Qa’ida hierarchy: three of Usama Bin Ladin’s sons, Saad, Mohammad, and Othman.

Al-Qa’ida spokesman Abu Ghaib enjoys Iranian protection, as does Abu Dagana al-Alemani (known as the German), who coordinates cooperation of the various jihadist networks throughout the world from Iran. They live in secure housing of the Revolutionary Guard in and around Tehran. “This is not prison or house arrest,” is the conclusion of a high-ranking intelligence officer. “They are free to do as they please.”

Saif al-Adel, military chief and number three in Al-Qa’ida, also had a free hand. In early May 2003, Saudi intelligence recorded a telephone conversation with the organizer of the series of attacks in the Saudi capital Riyadh that claimed over 30 victims, including seven foreigners, in May 2003. Saif al-Adel gives orders for the attacks from Iran, where he operated under the wing of the Iranian intelligence service.

For years, according to the findings of Middle Eastern and Western intelligence services, Iranian intelligence services have already worked together repeatedly with Sunni jihad organizations of Al-Qa’ida. “As an Islamist, I go to the Saudis to get money,” the Jordanian GID man outlines the current practice of Islamist holy warriors. “When I need weapons, logistical support, or military terrorist training and equipment, I go to the Iranians.”

The blueprints for the Al-Qa’ida attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 originated in Tehran. The man refers to witness statements, documents, and telephone recordings.

This article touched off a bit of controversy over in Germany when it was released because the guy was too well connected:

Problems Protecting Sources in U.S. and Germany

Posted by: George in SC at March 20, 2008 04:58 PM
Comment #248637

“You are right that we make too much of the Sunni/Shiite spit.”

Jack

I am little surprised Jack, just recently you quoted Angelina Jolie from an article that primarily was about the sectarian split in Iraq. This fact is old, but at one time 90% percent of the violence in Iraq was attributed to sectarian violence. One oft-cited reason given for the reduction in violence in Iraq is that the country has become segregated. The surge is in part working because U.S. forces are holding the opposing factions at arm’s length. The article with Angelina mentioned the millions of Iraq’s that are displaced because of sectarian violence. Even the government of Iraq is stagnant because of their reluctance to set aside religious and historical differences.

It is interesting that some would quote a source (9/11 Commission Report), which is 5 years old. One part of the report that wasn’t mentioned is how Al Qaeda didn’t want to establish close ties with Iran, “because Bin Ladin did not want to alienate his supporters in Saudi Arabia.” Which is not surprising considering that Saudi Arabia is Shiite, while Iran is Sunni. But while it was once relevant, the 9/11 Report does not describe the conditions that currently exist in Iraq.

While it is forgivable for one of us to make that mistake, it is not so forgivable for McCain the candidate of “experience” to make this mistake. Is this a sign of age, a slip of the tongue (three times), or made intentionally to continue the type of misinformation our White House is most noted for. Either way, we would hope for more from a ranking U.S. Senator, especially one that is running for president.

Posted by: Cube at March 20, 2008 05:30 PM
Comment #248638

So maybe Lieberman will play Cheney to McCain as Bush. It would certainly stir up a scheiss-storm and wake the media out of their Obama worship for a few minutes at least.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 20, 2008 05:32 PM
Comment #248643

George & LO,
When McCain connects Iran with Al Qaida, he is trying to create a simplistic view which will permit a simplistic solution by lumping everyone into one big ball of terrorist islamofascism. But precisely the opposite is true. The are fractures and deep divides within Islam, as well as between terrorist groups and various nations. So there’s no way it’s going to fit into some sound-bite kind of narrative.

Connecting Iran and Al Qaida, or Al Qaida in Iraq, simply doesn’t work. Iran, Al Qaida, and Al Qaida in Iraq all have different goals, different takes on religion (presuming a single one can be ascribed to them in the first place).

Now, it would make a lot of sense to note connections between Iran and Al-Hakim, Iran and the ruling Supreme Islamic Countil of Iraq, Iran and Hezbollah, perhaps Iran and the Mahdi Army, and so on. The evidence is obvious and indisputable and widely accepted- it is not a suggestion of evidence by an unnamed source- and those connections make strategic and tactical sense.

There are reasons for the poor state of relations between Iran and the US. So let’s address the real reasons, if possible, rather than contrive ways to make unsubstantiated allegations and make things worse.

Posted by: phx8 at March 20, 2008 05:53 PM
Comment #248645
Loyal Opposition wrote: So who would be better? Not who would be perfect, but who would be better?
I don’t care for any of the choices for president. McCain wants to nation-build and stay in Iraq for who knows how long, and says he now “gets it” with respect to the border, yet did nothing about it for 26 years. By the way, McCain voted for the first amnssty of 1986 also. The other two candidates have equally bad voting records on illegal immigration, but seem willing to bring our troops home sooner (nation building is not the duty of our troops; it’s not fair to our troops, and it is debatable that continued occupation of Iraq is is making the U.S. safer, when bankruptcy in America is also a security issue too (with $53 Trillion of nation-wide debt)). I don’t know who in that sad line-up to give my vote to for the office of Presidenta. May be none of them.

None of them seem to have much credibility. You’re right about Barack Obama’s position on illegal immigration; to ignore existing laws until a SHAMNESTY BILL can be passed so they can all stop breaking (ignoring) the existing laws.

While none of them are likely to do anything about illegal immigration (all have lousy grades (“D”s and “D-“s at BetterImmigration.com), Obama and Hillary at least seem likely to start bringing our troops home. Thus, a good case could be made that Obama and Hillary are more logical choices?

But, I have trouble giving my vote to ANY politicians that despicably choose to pit American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for profits and votes. And all three (McCain, Obama, and Clinton) have done that (which seems very much like a violation of Article 4, Section 4; not to mention one or more other constitutional violations). John McCain voted for the amnesty in 1986, and voted time after time in favor of illegal immigration. Now John McCain says “he gets it”? I don’t believe him. How convenient to flip-flop after 26 years (when he is now running for Presidente).

McCain already admits economics is a his weak suit.
Well, with most Americans concened about the economy and Iraq, that McCain doesn’t seem like a logical choice.

Hillary want a mandated health care system, that is likely to be run about as efficiently as Medicare and Social Security (which has already had $12.8 Trillion borrowed from it, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 million baby boomer bubble approaching).

So, the choices all stink (and that is putting it mildly).

Therefore, a more responsible Congress is more important than ever, but that ain’t likely to come about either when most voters are programmed to repeatedly reward irresponsible incumbent politicians with 93%-to-99% approval ratings.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 20, 2008 06:15 PM
Comment #248646

Loyal Opp, this article is about contemporary events, not ancient and falsified history. 9/11 Commission. Their members have all come forward in public and said they were not given all the relevant information needed. Glad to see relevant facts still get your dander up though. Proves there is still hope to convert you yet.

Its the Republican supporters who simply ignore relevant facts altogether that are hopeless.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2008 06:22 PM
Comment #248647

d.a.n said: “At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters deserve.”

Another way to make this profound statement is:

The voters have this government they don’t like as a result of how the majority of them voted in the last election.

If voters want better government they are going to have to replace the politicians currently making it a poor government.

Your way is far more succinct.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2008 06:30 PM
Comment #248657

David, Thanks. You make a couple of ver good points.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 20, 2008 07:12 PM
Comment #248668
George & LO, When McCain connects Iran with Al Qaida, he is trying to create a simplistic view which will permit a simplistic solution by lumping everyone into one big ball of terrorist islamofascism. But precisely the opposite is true. The are fractures and deep divides within Islam, as well as between terrorist groups and various nations. So there’s no way it’s going to fit into some sound-bite kind of narrative.

Phx8, what is simplistic about McCain’s view? Al Qaida is an umbrella organization based on ideology and has several factions. If I were to say “the Axis Powers,” am I being simplistic and trying to create fear for not saying Germany, Japan and Italy instead? It’s understood that a term like “Al Qaida” or “the Axis powers” are entities which contain separate parts.

If you don’t acknowledge that Al Qaida is an organization which stretches worldwide and which includes many sub-groups, then your view is the simplistic one. Al Qaida is not just got a couple guys hiding in a tent somewhere in Pakistan or along the Afghani border.

McCain understands this. You’d like to ignore it or pretend that it’s not the case, despite the 911 Commission reports and a great many links that our intelligence communities have pointed to since.

Do you deny, first of all, that Al Qaida is a worldwide organizaton with many different groups?

Secondly, do you deny that Iran is and has long been a supporter of international terrorism—whether of Al Qaida or of other groups?

If you deny either of these, then you’re just plain wrong. But if you do believe them, then why is it so hard to believe intelligence reports reviewd by bipartisan groups that lend support to this connection?

But I’d like to add something else, something which is actually more relevant to this overall subject. If you don’t agree with the mountains of intelligence about Iran and Al Qaida, that’s fine. I fully agree that we’ve been burned by bad intelligence before.

But the fact that McCain DOES believe them is not somehow preposterous and beyond the pale. Unless you want to say that we should have as president somebody who doesn’t believe a word the intelligence community tells him. A healthy skepticism is one thing, but an insistence that our presidential candidates just totally reject all intelligence reports as ridiculous, demented, and disqualifying is downright strange.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 20, 2008 09:14 PM
Comment #248669

Loyal Opp, I think someone needs to inform the FBI and CIA of your intimate working knowledge of the internal structure of al-Queda, its umbrella organization and sub-units as your comment implies you know what they are, their similarities and differences. If you are not al-Queda yourself, then perhaps the DNI should hire your incredible intimate knowledge of al-Queda staffing and their personal beliefs and philosophies and political persuasions, etc. right after determining how you obtained such intimate knowledge.

Your comments are simply INcredible, Loyal Opp.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2008 09:32 PM
Comment #248672

The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes three-strike laws and wants them to sing God Bless America. No! No No! God damn America … for killing innocent people. God damn America for threatening citizens as less than humans. God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and supreme. – Pastor Jeremiah Wright (April 2003)

I can no more disown [Rev. Wright] than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. – Senator Obama (March 2008)

My question is…why did it take Senator Obama 5 years to address this issue? Why now? Why, as he running for President, is he still affiliated with this type of extremism? The same extremism that is the foundation for the terrorism we are fighting today. If he can’t disown this extremism, why are Americans still supporting him? The next quote is from a radio broadcast 19 Mar 2008…

The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know (pause) there’s a reaction in her that doesn’t go away and it comes out in the wrong way – Senator Obama

A supposed Presidential hopeful slamming whites and his own grandmother to the nation he wants to run. Please, somebody explain this to me…

Here are some more quotes…

…I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites… - Senator Obama’s Book “Dreams From My Father” page xv

Trinity [Church] embodies the black community in its entirety – Senator Obama

My Rant…The Democrats will put our country in a downward spiral, just as Bill Clinton did during his term. More importantly they will open our country to terrorism, they will send the wrong message to the whole world and more importantly to them…they plan to slap the almost 4000 men and women that have died in Iraq by pulling out of Iraq and letting that country go to Iran, Al Qaeda and Muslim extremists. Bill Clinton and the democrats are to blame for the down sizing of our military and our intelligence community that led to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. President Bush didn’t have time to fix these issues…he only had time to react. President Bush also asked for the parties to unite…take a look today…there isn’t any unity on the hill. The democrats DO NOT GET IT and THEY NEVER WILL. The democrats were the first to jump on the issue of troops not having the proper equipment to fight a war, our troops were lacking proper armament and personal protection…who did they point the finger at…President Bush. President Bush had nothing to do with it. Bill Clinton is to blame…and Americans support another Clinton!! Amazing! On the flip side of the coin, we have never fought a war like we are fighting today and just as we did during all previous wars…we adapted. Unfortunately, lives are lost before weaknesses are realized. This is the nature of war…been there, done that. Still, the democrats point at the Republicans.

What is that saying, “That birds of a feather will flock together”. The Clintons are married and are still married. Bill Clinton lied to our faces when he stated he did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. I remember that broadcast, while he pointed his finger, pounded on the podium all while squinting his eyes at the camera. He was scalding the American people for questioning his behavior (behavior unbecoming an American President). By the way, questioning our elected leaders is not only a duty and but a responsibility of an American citizen. HE WAS LYING RIGHT TO OUR FACES!! So what makes people who support the Clintons think that Hillary will not lie to our faces also? “Birds of a feather will flock together”. Another quote…

Our view is that if you can’t run your own house, you certainly can’t run the White House – Mrs. Obama

My vote is for Mrs. Obama!! LOL, just kidding…see below.

If anyone has had their patriotism tested, it has been Senator John McCain. During his 23rd bombing mission on October 26, 1967, a missile struck his plane and forced him to eject, knocking him unconscious and breaking both his arms and his leg. He was then taken as a prisoner of war into the now infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” where he was denied necessary medical treatment and often beaten by the North Vietnamese. He spent much of his time as a prisoner of war in solitary confinement, aided by his faith and the friendships of his fellow POWs. When he was released in accordance with the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, Senator McCain continued his service by regaining his naval flight status. He was a POW for 5 ½ years! His naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Senator McCain is a loyal and faithful patriot of our country. He came home to us honorably in 1973 and for that and for the love of his country, he has earned my vote as the next President of the United States. No other candidate compares.

Posted by: Chris at March 20, 2008 09:45 PM
Comment #248678

David, the nature of Al Qaida’s loose, ideologically-based organization is a matter of common knowledge to anybody even dimly aware of the facts.

Even Wikipedia—hardly a fount of arcane knowledge— begins their description of Al Qaida by saying that it “is an international alliance of Islamic militant terrorist organizations.”

Not organization. Organizations. An alliance.

Rather than suggesting that I might be a terrorist (attacking the messenger?) for pointing out elementary facts that you were not yet aware of, you should be thanking me for furthering your education… which I am happy to do for no other reason than the deep reservoirs of kindness in my heart.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 20, 2008 09:59 PM
Comment #248679

Chris, very nicely put. And you are 100% correct.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 20, 2008 10:04 PM
Comment #248710

Loyal Opp. does Wikipedia identify WHICH Islamic militant terrorist organizations? They are not all al-Queda, that fact is readily found in the DNI’s testimony before Congress.

I suggest you educate yourself just a bit more at the source of information before rattling off defenses of your indefensible comments.

Common Knowledge and national security intelligence are rarely congruous. What ether do you capture this Common Knowledge from besides Wikipedia? Does everyone in America access Wikipedia and thus derive this “common” source of knowledge?

Of course not. Bush is a failed president. Now that’s common knowledge tested by polls for years and many hundreds of times and published in vast majority of every medium possible available to the general public.

The make up of al-Queda by its constituent components is NOT common knowledge. I doubt one 20 Americans could name a single constituent group within the al-Queda organization outside of bin Laden’s group holed up in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.

How much we know about al-Queda’s constituent groups is in fact, top secret information, and therefore NOT common knowledge at all. But, pray tell, do give us the details on their constituent groups so al-Queda can read your reply and know how much our intelligence agencies about their identities and locations.

Too funny.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2008 11:17 PM
Comment #248713

David, to say that Al Qaida is a federation of Islamic militant organizations is 100% correct.

You will not find any credible source anywhere that denies it, and if you don’t find precisely this information in the congressional testimonies or reports dealing with completely different issues that you cite, or for that matter, if you don’t find it in the daily horoscopes or on the sports pages (other irrelevant sources), then it doesn’t suddenly become arcane knowledge or a suspect fact.

To say that Al Qaida is a federation of different Islamic militant organization is not to also say that ALL Islamic militant organizations are part of Al Qaida, and your absurd suggestion to that effect is way off the mark.

Only the Islamic militant organizations that are part of Al Qaida are part of Al Qaida—and what’s their price of admission? To merely call themselves Al Qaida.

You talk a great deal about logic and facts, but it doesn’t seem that you’ve ever actually taken a course on logic. Let me educate you. I had to pay college tuition for this, and now you’re getting it for free. So please thank me. It’s only right.

A textbook example of your logic: All cats die. Socrates died. Therefore Socrates was a cat.

WRONG, David. This is the logic you’re using to say that claiming Al Qaida is made of different militant groups is also saying that all militant groups are Al Qaida.

If you’d now like to send me a check to express your gratitude for these educational freebies, it’s not necessary. I do this out of kindness alone. But if you insist, you can send a modest donation—whatever you can afford—to your local humane society or the the John McCain for President campaign.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 20, 2008 11:43 PM
Comment #248732

“McCain understands this.”

Then why did McCain retract his statements?

Posted by: Cube at March 21, 2008 02:24 AM
Comment #248754

Yep, this will sink McCain. Just like all of Reagan’s gaffes were his undoing and G.W. Bush’s campaign came unglued after he couldn’t tell you who Musharraf was. Wait a minute, Oh yeah, they both won. Never mind.

Good to see a Republican acknowledge past incompetence and the need for Republicans to elect barking lapdogs.

Let’s bomb,bomb,bomb, bomb,bomb Iran. That’ll make it all good. I feel warm all over.

Posted by: googlumpus at March 21, 2008 10:01 AM
Comment #248763

Loyal Opposition,

You wrote:

“In sum, there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers.”
I do not doubt that Iran would look the other way when it comes to terrorist attacking their open enemy the U.S.A. I strongly suspect that if an expatriate Iranian group were plotting mischief in Iran that our government would look the other way as well. That would not necessarily mean that we had “ties” to them. We might have ties to them, or we might not. It would mean only that we have no motivation to help Iran.

al-Qaida in Iraq is supported by the Sunnis because al-Qaida in Iraq is supporting the Sunnis in the civil war that our sons and daughters are dying to suppress below the radar of the corporatist media. Iran is supporting their proxies in Iraq (elements of the Shi’ah) because this failed President has handed Iraq to them on a silver platter and they are the winners of the Iraq war - (at least until we withdraw out troops - then they may have a little fight on their hands - that is why the are having Mugtada al Sader maintain a cease fire. They are trying to help their de facto American ally John McCain get elected.)

Posted by: Ray Guest at March 21, 2008 12:12 PM
Comment #248779

Ray, what I wrote was a quote from the bipartisan 911 Commission. I didn’t dream it up myself.

Cube, McCain retracted his statement about recent intelligence saying that Iran was currently training and harboring Al Qaida operatives in Iran and sending them back across the border into Iraq. He wasn’t denying that Iran is training other terrorists that operate in Iraq or denying the long historic ties between Iran and Al Qaida—all of which is a matter of record.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 21, 2008 02:01 PM
Comment #248796

Loyal Opposition,

I guess it all depends on the definition of “ties.” You are “tied” to Osama bin Laden after all. You are both descended form Eve (in Africa) and you both have the same CREB gene.

Posted by: Ray Guest at March 21, 2008 03:11 PM
Comment #248805

Eve?? Who the hell was she? Why not Hera???

Perhaps, Lucy….:)

Posted by: googlumpugus at March 21, 2008 04:34 PM
Comment #248832

googlumpugus,

Eve… you know… lived 6000 years ago and only 100,000 years of evolotion have happened since then.

Posted by: Ray Guest at March 21, 2008 10:33 PM
Comment #248860

Loyal Opp. said: “Cube, McCain retracted his statement about recent intelligence saying that Iran was currently training and harboring Al Qaida operatives in Iran and sending them back across the border into Iraq.”

That’s a laugh. You left out a few key details. Like it was his third same statement in 2 days before Sen. Joe Lieberman educated him on the matter before world TV. But, here’s the kicker, after he corrects himself with the educational assistance of Joe Lieberman, he issues a written press release reiterating the same false claim. It really calls into question his short term memory capacity.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2008 06:59 AM
Comment #248861

Loyal Opp said: “David, to say that Al Qaida is a federation of Islamic militant organizations is 100% correct.”

Never said it wasn’t. I agree, it is. Which terrorist groups belong to that federation and which do not, however, is the issue I addressed if you will go back re-read my comment for understanding. Not all Islamic terrorist groups are in the al-Queda federation, according to our NIE. Of course, McCain and GW Bush don’t have time to read such lengthy an inconsequential details which would only get in their way of seeing the world in uncomplicated White Hat, Black Turban terms.

Hezbollah, Hamas, and some of the warring Islamic terrorist groups in the Phillipines aren’t part of the al-Queda federation. Just as China is not part of the United States or NATO despite the fact that we exchange with them in dialogue and trade constantly.

It is simply not logical nor useful to label disparate groups with entirely separate agendas and causes under one umbrella with the only connecting thread being their tactics or the fact that a couple in each of the disparate groups talk to each other as relatives or Hashish mates.

GW Bush continues to make this error despite his entire intelligence communities insistence that it just isn’t so. (My apology for using the words Bush and intelligence in the same sentence.) And McCain now appears to hold this same Bush White Hat, Black Turban view.

If only he hadn’t issued that press release undoing his education by Lieberman. But, he is not a very bright man. A war hero 50 years ago, yes. A man with a couple of clear insights into fiscal mismanagement, yes. A gift for the obvious like accepting Nader’s claims that special interest money is corrupting our governing process, yes. But, that is the extent of his bag of tricks. I take that back, there is one other, his greatest, the ability to work bi-partisanly. (He needs all the help he can get even if it is from the other side of the aisle.)

If he didn’t have Lieberman as a walking crib sheet overseas, or Nader’s decades of hammering the special interest corruption home to him, all he would have left is “We must balance our budget” and “I was a POW and wing commander during the Viet Nam War”.

It may be a sufficient resume for President of the United States in major crisis mode along nearly every issue line save American international corporation profitability, for you and other GOP rah rah cheerleading squads. It ain’t sufficient for me.

I want someone a whole helluva lot more educated, energetic, optimistic, and talented than John McCain; the candidate chosen by his party for his campaign endurance. I just can’t see siding with a candidate whose own Party lacked enthusiasm over its choice.

Now Obama doesn’t yet measure up on a number of my criterion either as the candidate with the answers. But, his educational background is superior, his public speaking and motivating skills are vastly superior, his vision of diminishing divisiveness as the fulcrum for governance, and his judgment on the invasion and occupation of Iraq in the wake of 9/11 and our invasion of Afghanistan, add up to more and better qualifications for me than I find in John McCain.

McCain reminds me of the captain in the movie Crimson Tide, where the Captain says to the effect: “Someone asks me whether we should drop the bomb, a simple yes will suffice. By all means, drop that MF. Twice!”

The author’s intent of course was to portray the captain as a military man highly competent within the chain of command with orders in hand. But, utterly incompetent as a policy decision maker or crisis manager without orders from above. That role fell, ironically, to an African American actor, Denzel Washington.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2008 07:21 AM
Comment #248917

Rene, love your proclivity toward guilt by association. Thankfully, our laws protect people from the likes of you who would use association to find guilt in others. To be consistent, do you hold parents responsible for the actions of their children after the children turned 18? The Bush family has been close business and social friends with the bin Laden family. Does this not, by your standard make GW Bush unworthy by association with Osama bin Laden’s family?

Was Logic a part of your degree program? Just curious, because it seems to be absent from your comments.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 22, 2008 07:21 PM
Comment #248930

Dr. Rene,

You wrote:

According to Fox News, one must consider that the Illinois Senator is a friend with FBI former number one Most Wanted terrorists.
Of course the first problem here is Faux News - but “number one Most Wanted terrorists”??? - PLEASE… …you would actually believe and have the audacity to repeat such absurdity…

And conservatives, (joined at the hip with Pat Robertson and Falwell and the rest of their ilk), have the unmitigated nerve to complain about the stupid things some liberal preacher said. If this campaign is going to be about stupid things that preachers say… Well there goes whatever was left of quality political discourse in this country. Now if you can tie Obama to those controversial views you might have something.

I have criticized Pat Robertson and George Bush. I have criticized Pat Robertson because he is an idiot. I have criticized George Bush because he espouses the same idiotic views. I don’t criticize George Bush because he knows Pat Robertson. One idiot knows another. So what. The problem is that they are both idiots. It is OK with me that they know each other. John McCain knows some flat stone idiot preachers too. It is OK that he knows them. It would be OK that he brown noses em - except that… He is selling his soul out to them for cynical political gain. That is just wrong.

Posted by: Ray Guest at March 22, 2008 10:52 PM
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