Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bush says Sheehan "Weakens America"; Rumsfeld compares Antiwar Protesters to Supporters of Stalin

Yep, 'tis true. A new low. And, yes, we're seeing a coordinated campaign against Sheehan, the antiwar movement, and (as per usual) any dissent from admnistration policy. Shall I use the "f" word again? Thank god for Chuck Hagel.

Bush: Sheehan Is Advocating a Policy to "Weaken" The Country
President Bush has dismissed the ongoing anti-war vigil in Crawford Texas initiated by Cindy Sheehan. He claimed she was advocating a policy that would weaken the country. "I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East would be -- are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States," Bush said. "So I appreciate her right to protest. I understand her anguish. I met with a lot of families. She doesn't represent the view of a lot of the families I have met with. And I'll continue to meet with families." Bush's comments came during a last-minute trip to the Idaho resort town of Donnelly. The trip was scheduled after hundreds of military families, veterans and anti-war protesters began camping outside his 1,600 acre estate in Crawford Texas.

Rumsfeld Compares Anti-War Activists to Backers of Stalin
Meanwhile the Bush administration appears to have launched a coordinated effort to discredit the anti-war movement. On Tuesday, President Bush, White House spokesman Trent Duffy and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld all took jabs at critics of the war. Duffy described the critics as people who don't believe the U.S. must win the war on terror. And Rumsfeld compared anti-war activists to American supporters of Joseph Stalin. He said "Throughout history there have always been those who predict America's failure just around every corner... Many Western intellectuals praised Stalin... For a time, Communism was very much en vogue... thankfully the American people are better centered. They ultimately come to the right decisions on big issues. And the future of Iraq is a very big issue."

18 Thoughts:

Blogger A.T. said...

You forgot the fabulous anti-Kennedy jab. From NRO's The Corner:

AND YOUR FATHER, TOO [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:

Here's a totally unrelated question, perhaps someone on the Corner (Jonah, Derb?) might be interested in answering?
At yesterday's Pentagon press conference, Secretary Rumsfeld was commenting on all the doom and gloom about the Iraqi constitution, and he observed how there are always naysayers who see defeat around every corner. He said something like, "At the height of World War II, a prominent American diplomat predicted that 'democracy is finished in Britan, and probably in America too.'"

That "prominent America diplomat," of course was Joseph Kennedy. Isn't that just about the most delightful statement to come out of a press conference in the last six months? Somebody go down to the bar and tell Teddy: "Rumsfeld just slapped down you and your old man in the same breath."

It truly is fun to watch a master at work.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Well, I have zero love for old Joe Kennedy, for reasons you can probably guess at, and that anti-democratic sentiment is related.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What do you think of the Abramoff stuff? Or of Delay, in general?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger A.T. said...

Honestly not up-to-speed on that at all, so I can't really comment.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 1:34:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Just my thoughts about this whole Sheehan thing.
There are many moms grieving the loss of their sons in the war in Iraq & Afghaniston.
ALL of them have their opinions for or against the war that took the lives of their sons, and ALL of them have the right of free expression.
I would like the media to cover these moms fairly.
What percentage of these moms support the war that took their sons' lives? What percentage of them support our President?
What about those who are against the war and/or the President?
Is the media coverage of these opinions being fairly represented?
If you look at the media time given to Sheehan, you would think that most grieving military families agreed with her.
I'd love to see equal time given to those moms who've lost sons and still support the cause their sons were fighting for. It's only fair, since these women are in the majority.

Thursday, August 25, 2005 2:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hi, Jamie:

I think the one and only point of Sheehan, et al, is an answer to the question, "What did my son/daughter die for?"

That question is still unanswered. First, it was WMDs. None there? Then, it was because there were "operational links" between Iraq and al-Qaida. Whoops, not true. Oops, now it's to save the Iraqis from our former ally, Saddam Hussein and bring democracy and women's rights to the region. Well, check out what's happening with the constitution in Iraq. Sharia will be law. So much for democracy or women's rights.

The justifications have been ever shifting, but, clearly, the real reasons are: 1. to secure the second-largest oil fields in the world (while Exxon/Mobil makes the largest profit ever, last year, at $25bn!!!), and 2. to protect Israel (misguided in the extreme). If another reason was to put in a pro-American state on Iran's border, well, that has backfired almost completely -- boy, are they laughing at us in Teheran now!

Furthermore, in the process, we have trampled on international law; isolated ourselves from our allies; inflamed Muslim hatred;, created a laboratory for terrorism (where none existed before), to Bin Laden's delight; taken our focus off Afghanistan, which is already having it's bloodiest year for US troops, and it's only August, since the invasion, and where the Taliban rule outside of Kabul and a handful of other cities; and we have in the process shredded our Bill of Rights, engaged in torture -- and let's not even get into the opportunity costs of the at least $200m we've wasted in the Mesopotamian desert.

This war was based on "patriotic" lies given to a scared populace after 9/11 to fatten a few oil companies and to achieve some unbelievably hubristic and counterproductive geopolitical goals.

I think that's why Sheehan, et al, are pissed off. It's why I am, for sure.

At some point (and we may be there now) those who trusted this admin are going to turn in fury on it. And rightly so, as this is a completely immoral war that has killed upwards of 1900 soldiers, wounded an order of magnitude more, and at minimum tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis. Those left see violence every day in their country, gigantic lines at petrol stations, and a looming civil war. No, I'm not happy about any of this, but even members of Bush's government, such as Powell, were warning that this would happen. It was abundantly clear to me, and many others.

Yet, the PR continues -- and now we have our sights set on Iran (big mistake) and, I guess, Venezuela. With no real energy policy to speak of, no plan to get us off a fuel even industry whores say will be gone by 2050, all the while underfunding the VA, which is about to be inundated with wounded after the DoD is done with them and they rotate out.

It took this courageous, moral president two years to mention any number of casualties -- and we needed a FOIA-based court case to get pictures of the dead on the media. Ted Koppel was attacked for even showing their faces. Now, after the international attention Sheehan has gotten, and the inevitable rightwing assault on her, Bush stagecrafts, with a handpicked audience (as usual) a celebration of sacrifice...for what now?

He will never escape that question, and with his approval rating hovering between 36 and 40-ish percent, his party is getting awfully nervous about 2006. An Iraq war vet almost won in a hugely Republican district a month ago. They are scared, and rightly so. People are pissed off. No flowers and cookies, no "mission accomplished," no oil revenues paying for the war -- just a stagnant economy, exploding debts, defecits, and trade defecits, offshoring jobs, endless deaths, and a Middle East even more fucked up than it was in 2002.

Meanwhile, terror bombings continue unabated.

That, in a nutshell, is what people (not just "liberals") are upset about.


Friday, August 26, 2005 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Note: E/M's profit was the largest annual profit for any company ever on the face of the earth.

Friday, August 26, 2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Another error: I meant "$200bn" not two hundred million -- big difference.

Friday, August 26, 2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Your response wasn't an answer to my question. I already know how you and Sheehanites feel.

"At some point (and we may be there now) those who trusted this admin are going to turn in fury on it. "
No, we are not "there now," and you don't have a crystal ball that tells you the future. AND news shouldn't be based on what people like you think (or more like hope) will happen. I want truth in news reporting which we are not getting.
There are FAR more military families in suppport of the war than are against it. That's the truth. It needs to be reported, but it's not getting near the play that a smaller majority is getting.

Friday, August 26, 2005 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jaime, how do you know more military families who have lost sons or daughters in Iraq are in the majority? That may very well be -- I don't know.

As for media coverage, Bush has gotten a free pass since 9/11 up to about the Rove scandal. Sheehan broke through that. I'm talking mainstream media, here. So, as far as "equal time" goes, and in the face of the rightwing attacks on Sheehan, I'd say Camp Casey represents equal time, as Mr. Limbaugh is so fond of saying.

Look at Bush's numbers. I didn't make them up. Some polls put his approval rating at 36%; others at 40%. Check it out on your own; I won't even post (you can find links on this blog if you like). Most Americans think invading Iraq was a mistake. Those are facts. So, I think we may actually be hitting a turning point. Why else would Republicans be coming out against the war? Republicans! They see the writing on the wall. They see the downward trend line.

Friday, August 26, 2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

One more thing, Jaime:

You wrote, "I'd love to see equal time given to those moms who've lost sons and still support the cause their sons were fighting for."

That's why I started my post with: "I think the one and only point of Sheehan, et al, is an answer to the question, 'What did my son/daughter die for?'"

In other words, what's the cause you are referring to? So, I was responding to your post.

If I missed what the cause is, please tell me! (Seriously.)

Friday, August 26, 2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

One last thing, Jamie (sorry, just saw this):

Direct quote from Cindy Sheehan. Compare to anything Bush or any Bush supporter in the media or administration has said:

"You know, and I never, ever got up here and said, “I speak for every single Gold Star family, I speak for every single military family.” I’ve never said that. But I know I speak for thousands of them. I know we speak for thousands of them when we want to know what is the noble cause our children died for, what is the noble cause they are still fighting for and dying for every day. And that is what we want the answers to the questions. And there’s millions of Americans here with us, thousands here actually in Crawford who want the same answers. They don't have what I like to call skin in the game, but we are all affected. Humanity is affected when one country wages an illegal and immoral war on another country. It affects our entire humanity. And that’s why America is behind us, saying we want the answers to those questions, too.

And there’s other people who disagree with our position who have lost their children. And I know with Karen here and Melanie and Susan, we respect their rights to their opinions, because at the end of the day or at the beginning of this quest, we started in the same way, with our loved one coming home in a flag-draped coffin. And if there is any family who says that they believe their child died for a noble cause, I say that is your right if that helps you get through the day, if that helps you in your pain because we all -- we might not have the same politics, but trust me, we have the same pain. And we do what we have to do to get through our pain, and we hope they respect us for that, and we respect them in any way they have to do to get through their pain."

Camp Casey has invited pro-war activists to a joint dinner this week, and she will be debating a mother who has challenged her to same.

Compare that to Bush's actions. Who's the more courageous?

Source--a video, no less.

Friday, August 26, 2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

The cause is a free, democratic Iraq that is no longer a breeding ground for terror. It's the start of something new in the Middle East, and I'm one of those optimistic types that believes things can change over there. (I'm also hoping to see Palestine as its own state soon, and hoping to see the violence in Israel nearly eliminated.) Pie in the sky? I don't think so. Easily accomplished? No way! Bitching and moaning at every step? Yes. Is that a reason to quit? No.
I'm not dismayed by some Republicans speaking out against the war. This will always happen when things get difficult. Look at history. Some of them are posturing politically. So what?
You can scream, cry and froth at the mouth all you want, but only time will tell if you're right and what these soldiers are doing there is dying for nothing.
Time will also tell if you're wrong, which I think you are.
I'm heartened by progress that is going on there. If anyone expected it would be easy, they were idiots. Look at history.
Staying on track and seeing this through is the best thing Pres. Bush can do, and he will do it. Poll numbers don't dictate; this isn't Clinton in the White House anymore.
Polls go up and down on a whim. It's disturbing how that is actually. One speech can turn the tide of opinion. I hate it, but it's that unsteady and changeable.
I don't look at things short term. Enjoy your glee over the current poll numbers... wait and see.

Friday, August 26, 2005 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hi, Jamie:

1. "The cause is a free, democratic Iraq that is no longer a breeding ground for terror."

Q: When was Iraq a breeding ground for terror, pre-US invasion? If you're talking post-US invasion, that may be something different, as it surely is now. Do you think Iraq was a breeding ground fro terror pre-invasion? If so, can you provide evidence?

Q: What makes you think we want a free, democratic Iraq, rather than a stable one? Washington Post article: "senior admin officials" -- and I know you know how it works with such sources -- have given up on the last in a series of "reasons" for Iraq.

2. "If anyone expected it would be easy, they were idiots."

Q: This administration promised flowers and chocolates, declared mission accomplished in May of 2003, and expected, by all accounts, to have a self-financing and -financed war by now due to oil profits. None of this has occurred. They ignored their own State Dept., Powell, Brent Scowcroft, and plenty of other Republicans for getting involved in Iraq to begin with, let alone leaving al-Qaida alone (relatively speaking) by diverting money and materiel from Afghanistan, which has now descended into chaos outside of Kabul, and which enjoyed the bloodiest month of US troops since the invasion in July. So, were the neocons in this administration idiots?

3. "Staying on track and seeing this through is the best thing Pres. Bush can do, and he will do it. Poll numbers don't dictate; this isn't Clinton in the White House anymore."

If you think this administration ignores polls, you're more naive than I thought! What do you think Rove does all day? How do you think they ran the election? Where did gay marriage come from, and how was it "tested"? Believe me, no national-level Dem or Rep leaves anything to "chance" that they can't -- they poll and try out stuff on test audiences. If you don't like that (and I don't), blame Madison Avenue, where these quite sophisticated techniques come from. But don't believe what is itself a tested statement ("Bush the strong leader who ignores polls"). Just because Bush says he ignores them means nothing, unless you trust your presidents, especially one who's a proven liar.

Furthermore, Q: Is it wise to stay on track if that track has been shown to be based on lies and has been disastrous on the ground?

Qs: When, how, and why did Hussein turn from ally to enemy? Why did we turn a blind eye to his use of chemical weapons in the 80s, and then jump on that in the 00s? Why is that now convenient for us? Why else might we be in Iraq, other than the oft-stated, later-disproved or abandoned "reasons"?

Final Q: How many lives are worth staying the course? Please provide a number -- I know how you value life, so I imagine you'll give this some thought. 5,000 American soldiers? 10,000? 50,000? Please also include Iraqi lives, as they're equal in God's eyes, no? We're up to around 100,000 -- let's say 50,000. Was it worth it? How many more? Another 25,000? 50,000?

We're not "foaming at the mouth" or any such thing. We're happy because it looks like America is finally waking up to this insanity in Iraq and its authors. Sure, we might be wrong, and the GOP noise machine is doing all it can to ensure that the proper opinions are manufactured. So, yes, numbers may rise.

But you can be sure that other Republicans, especially in the House, are trembling in their boots -- and, also, realizing that this war was misguided and misexecuted. That's why "Freedom Fries" and Hagel, et al, have joined in questioning the wisdom of "staying the course."

Sunday, August 28, 2005 8:45:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Pre-invasion, Iraq was a peace-loving nation without a single terrorist within its borders.... ever. I wish you would have been born in such a wonderful place.
Post-invasion, Iraq has suddenly "created" terrorists out of thin air that didn't exist there or in any surrounding equally peace-loving countries.
You sound like sooo many Republicans during Clinton's presidency who would "predict" doom and destuction beyond belief for Clinton and his cohorts. Frankly, I was embarrassed at times by some Repubs' comments. I thought Clinton was a disgrace, but he wasn't Satan incarnate. Clinton's presidency is over, and much of the hype is over with it. That's what happens with hot air.
Bush still has three years left. He's not going to budge on Iraq. I see Bush as a modern day Churchill and you want a modern day Chamberlain. Let's see what happens...

Sunday, August 28, 2005 4:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hi, Jamie:

The comparison to Churchill/Chamberlain is fallacious, as Saddam Hussein was not nearly the threat Hitler was.

No one said Iraq under Hussein was a lovely place. The challenge to you is: provide one piece of actual evidence that Hussein had any role whatsoever in 9/11 or in Al-Qaida. That was official reason #1 for going into Iraq. False. Official reason #2 was to end his WMD program, which UNSCOM was doing quite well. "Everybody" wasn't "wrong" -- there were no WMDs. False, again.

So, please point to a terror attack caused by Iraq that was aimed at us. The ones against his own people were OK'd by us, specifically. Guess who we sent to soothe Iraq in the 80s? Yep, Rumsfeld. Check it out yourself, if you don't believe me.

I said nothing about terrorists in surrounding countries. Iran has been linked to terrorists; now Bush has provided them a Shiite rump state (at least) on their border. They are laughing their asses of at our stupidity.

Also, given that we went in with insufficient forces (as Shinseki stated, and was summarily forced to retire by Wolfowitz, et al), we didn't secure the country -- let alone the borders! So, um, yeah, I can see how Iraq became a magnet for international terrorists, especially with a huge recruitment pool courtesy of that moron L. Paul Bremer, who fired the entire Iraqi army. How best to create an insurgency? Study what the Bush admin has done in Iraq. It's driven the British crazy.

Note I've said nothing about whether we should have been there at all in the first place.

Also, you didn't answer any of the specific questions I asked. They are important ones, and I should think a supporter of this war would have answers to them.

Ciao, Dug

Sunday, August 28, 2005 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

No WMD's were found, that is true. But I don't know what all those tons and tons and tons of weapons we've uncovered all over Iraq were for. Why were those there?
What was Zaqawri (sp?) doing there?
Your other questions about Hussein, friend and foe, cover a lot of history. We've been friends and foes with Britiain during past history, as well as others.
Things change and our relationships with others change with time and circumstances.
Take away everything and look at what we've got right now.
The point is that we are there and must do what is best in the current situation regardless of your thoughts on us going in in the first place.
I agree that not securing the borders was a big mistake. It has to be dealt with.
Analyze the heck out of it, but look at what needs to be done now. What's the best course of action?
We have an opporunity to break the back of terror by defeating this hornet's nest that is being fueled by Syria and Iran, and they have the chance (should we weaken) for a great victory against us which would only serve to breed more terrorists. I see no good scenario for pulling out of Iraq too soon. I see the possiblility for some incredibly good things to happen should we stay, see them though to a stable end.
How many soldiers are worth that? Your question is a provocative one and should be asked of every war or conflict we've ever engaged in. I don't think any general has answered that going in to a war, because it's the objective that one always looks at.
I cannot give you a number.
I would pose the question to the soldiers themselves. See what they have to say about it. Their number would satisfy me.
Ask them if they want to complete their mission in Iraq.
Ask them if they think they even have a valid mission.
Ask them how long they are willing to stay there to complete their mission.
Ask them if they are willing to continue risking their lives for it. Their answers will satisfy me.
Not the answers of a handful of fringe soldiers that you may be able to find links to and some anti-war quotes from. I mean the majority of soldiers.
I'd like to see a completely unbiased, honest report of what the majority of our soldiers really want and think.
I'd be inclined to side with them since they are taking the heat, the brunt of this war, as well as their families.

Monday, August 29, 2005 1:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How are we supposed to gauge the soldiers' wishes? An army's not a democracy...they literally work for us: from CIC down to private. We have to set the policy, including a pullout or a non-pullout.

If you're saying we should have a referendum (private, secret ballot) among all soldiers, sailors, Marines, et al, currently serving in Iraq -- well, that's very radical of you!

I am for ditching the all-volunteer armed forces and going back to a draft -- with no escape hatch for the rich. That, plus actually following Constitutional war powers (vested wholly in the Congress), will make wars like Vietnam and Iraq far less likely to occur.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 10:37:00 AM  

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