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RPV’s Tribute To George Bush

By Greg L | 24 January 2009 | RPV, National Politics | 69 Comments

Usually these emails don’t get a lot of attention from me, but this week’s “Chairman’s Update” from Republican Party of Virginia Jeff Frederick was so well written it wouldn’t be right to let it rot in the graveyard of my inbox. I’ve yet to encounter a better evaluation of the presidency of George Bush, the good and the bad, what we should well be proud of, and his occasional and incomprehensible departures from the conservative principles he claimed to espouse.

Farewell, President Bush

This week’s inauguration was historic and will long be remembered. Though not immediately pressing on our attention, of equal importance to the man just sworn in is the man leaving office, President Bush, and what we will take away from his 8 years as commander-in-chief and the course he set for our nation.

Imagine seeing the world through his eyes for just a moment; for over 7 years he wakes each morning to intelligence briefings providing details on the latest attempts by our enemies to re-enact the nightmare of 9/11. Though surrounded by an incredibly capable national security team and Vice President Dick Cheney, he alone must make the decisions that will protect the lives of innocent Americans.

He then steps out into the world to face the media who belittle his every move and the Democrats in Congress who attack him without fail — often viciously so. This despite the fact that until it was politically expedient to do so, Washington Democrats were largely in agreement that Iraq posed a serious threat to the world. With his only objective to keep the American people safe and our nation strong, he earns the privilege of being tagged with just about any smear the elected “leaders” on the other side could fit on an index card; “liar,” “traitor,” “criminal,” “evil” or “stupid.”

Disturbingly, many of these verbal jabs bear an eerie, nearly verbatim resemblance to the taunts crudely videotaped in caves by the very enemies with whom we are at war. This is before his detractors discovered they could serve much the same purpose by chucking their shoes in his direction.

But despite the heavy weight on his shoulders and the increasingly hostile salvos against his leadership and personal character, the American people never saw anything but optimism in his words or on his face. Bush was like an unflappable fiddle player standing behind chicken wire, playing to a hostile crowd at a honkey-tonk. No matter what the patrons threw or how loud they cursed, the music continued to flow.

Whether Democrats attempted to undermine him on wiretaps, Guantanamo Bay, the “surge,” free elections in Iraq — nearly anything pertaining to his policies to fight terror or restore our nation after 9/11 — Bush stayed the proverbial course.The results speak for themselves; he kept America safe, freed tens of millions of people and — though still a serious force to be reckoned with — largely forced our enemies to disperse into the closest rat holes.

And it is not just his performance in keeping America safe and free from subsequent attacks after 9/11 where Bush excelled. He succeeded in passing Reagan-style tax cuts on income and dividends, nominated two excellent Supreme Court justices in John Roberts and Sam Alito, and kept his promise on traditional values issues such as life and marriage, to name just a few.

On the flip-side is the anguish he frequently gave Republicans, especially on issues such as McCain-Feingold, new entitlement programs, amnesty for illegals, and now his final blessing in support of the massive taxpayer funded economic bailout. Just recently Bush made conservatives reach again for the bromo-seltzer by admitting “I’ve abandoned free-market principles in order to save the free-market.”

Perhaps one day we’ll learn exactly what that means, but with a Democrat Congress calling the shots and more government and higher taxes a sure thing, this may just be an admission that when facing the inevitable, once again duty requires him to paint on a smile for what he believes is best for the country.

But let’s not forget where we were when Bush came in. He inherited a recession, and thanks to his predecessor, the prestige of the presidency had degraded to the point where cautious people wouldn’t navigate the oval office without wearing rubber gloves. Once the attacks occurred in 2001, the agenda for the next 7 years was essentially set; fight a war, rebuild an economy, and restore honor to the White House.

And Bush has proven to be nothing if not honorable. No one had to worry where he was at 10:00 PM every night, because he was in bed; his own bed. Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and celebs like Barbra Streisand would slander him and he would respond in public by giving them a peck on the cheek. The Clintons were brutal in their public statements against him but you would never know it based upon Bush’s demonstration of class and warmth when unveiling Clinton’s White House portrait.

As Obama himself acknowledged, the transition from the “compassionate conservative” to “change we can believe in” was amazingly smooth. Bush was gracious in every way imaginable to make it so, including letting Obama appointees set up their offices prior to his taking power. There were no missing “O”s from keyboards or trashing of offices akin to when Bush took the helm 8 years ago. Heck, nobody would probably be surprised if Bush didn’t even buy a couple of those Obama commemorative plates just to show his support and good will.

Many commentators are saying that like Harry Truman, historians will find more to admire in Bush than his contemporaries. While some are certainly within their right to call the Bush presidency a “mixed bag” both for accomplishments achieved and opportunities lost, in the end, he deserves to be judged within his primary role as a war-time president. George W. Bush proved over 8 years that he loved his country, stood by his convictions and knew what he was doing when it came to keeping America safe. Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership.

If Frederick manages to keep the quality in these weekly updates as high as this, he’s going to dramatically improve the communications reach of RPV.  While I get a dozen or more emails like this from various organizations, most of them aren’t worth reading to the end.  Nothing helps get a message out better than having that message well worth reading.

The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.

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  1. fed up said on 24 Jan 2009 at 9:28 pm:
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    Greg -
    I couldn’t agree more - great letter and a class act. It is true. I felt safe with Bush at the helm. Did I agree with everything he did - no. But I felt safe and I knew he had good in his heart. He was public with his christianity and followed through with his actions. I watched him return home to TX, where he made an amazing speech, and I cried. At last, he was surrounded with normal, American people who loved him. At last, no snide comments, or being picked apart by the MSM.
    Never before has a president been so disrespected by the arrogant left. And he ignored them and did his job.
    I wonder how safe we will feel with BO in office. Not very, I’m afraid.

  2. BothPartiesColludeAgainstUs said on 24 Jan 2009 at 10:39 pm:
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    So Frederick, a political hack, goes on at length with his not-especially important or informed opinion. Great. Let me print this out so that I can wipe myself with it if and when there is a toilet paper shortage.

    Before crying about how badly this great man (Bush) has been treated, pick up a copy of “State of Denial” or one of the other many books coming out including interviews from ex-Cabinet members who relate just how petty and small-minded this man was and could be, even when lives and honor were at stake. Thank God he’s gone. But of course that’s reality, not the fantasy land of political spin.

    As to Frederick, he used to serve on my neighborhood’s HOA. Really, he was running it. It never got anywhere on any of the issues it was supposedly confronting - residents consuming visitor parking spaces, overcrowding, etc. They never even maintained the trees in back of my house - a fundamental responsibility - they took my fees and let the trees grow without pruning to the point that THREE SEPERATE TREES have crashed touching my back fence in the last 2 years. They couldn’t manage this basic oversight, and in fact I believe that the HOA property manager was pocketing money or at a minimum just not doing his job. You guys can trust Frederick with your party or your votes or your political goals or whatever but I’m not sure based on personal experience that I’d entrust the man to manage a group out of a wet paper bag, or to locate his own ass.

  3. BothPartiesColludeAgainstUs said on 24 Jan 2009 at 10:48 pm:
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    (personal anger and political disdain collide wildly)

  4. BothPartiesColludeAgainstUs said on 24 Jan 2009 at 10:54 pm:
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    That’s a little bit mean considering that I agree with Frederick on many things, and he has carried the torch on the illegal immigration issue strongly. But I think he is writing a load of weak-minded baloney. And three trees DID crash in back of my house.

  5. BothPartiesColludeAgainstUs said on 24 Jan 2009 at 11:04 pm:
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    “Never before has a president been so disrespected by the arrogant left. And he ignored them and did his job.”

    The view by those who served with him is that he had a pathological disdain for Bill Clinton, to the point that someone saying out loud that Bill C had done anything correctly made them personna non grata. I was just reading a biography of Condaleeza Rice yesterday; it was speaking of an incident where Secretary Powell had said that we planned to continue the Clinton policy on North Korea. Rice dispatched herself to meet with him and communicate to him JUST HOW BADLY it bothered Bush to hear that Clinton had done anything well - and how unless Powell wanted to be personna non grata how he’d better start saying nastier things about Clinton when speaking to reporters - which he did subsequently.

    The largest terrorist attack in the US happened on Bush’s watch. And it was EMINENTLY preventable, and may well have been prevented had Bush not changed up on priorities.

    Bush did a few things right - did a good agressive job of chasing down financial supporters of terrorism. But I think some of you give him entirely more credit than he deserves. I have this vision of some of you crying tears on your pillow for poor President Bush, who stood between us and a hundred terrorist attacks. Give me a break. This guy played it reckless and loose with our fighting forces. In some countries, this guy would have ended up at the end of a noose for what he did, instead of back home to Crawford with a pension and with some bad feelings.

  6. PWConservative said on 24 Jan 2009 at 11:55 pm:
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    great letter

  7. god bless america said on 25 Jan 2009 at 2:35 pm:
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    bush was so bad huh?

    what does obama do first? allow our tax payer money to go to the third world for good olde usa funded abortions because we can’t have too many of those little brown babies around . . . yeah, he wants to limit abortions all right!!! then he starts letting terrorists out of gitmo jail to go home and join with other terrorists to plot another attack on us, oh yes and he is working on a bill of rights for prisoners - busy man this president!!! everyone who voted for this man kindly refrain from voting in the future because it is obvious you hate america . . .

  8. anonymous said on 25 Jan 2009 at 3:09 pm:
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    “fact I believe that the HOA property manager was pocketing money”

    If it was Koger Management, they WERE pocketing the money.

  9. Wolverine said on 25 Jan 2009 at 3:21 pm:
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    Both Parties — You are right when you say that 9/11 was eminently preventable. You are misleading when you imply that it was Bush’s responsibility because it happened on his watch. May I remind you that Bush’s “watch” was less than nine months old at the time and had been subject to unprecedented delays in assembling an administration team because of the long dispute over the Florida election results. As one who has been in the counterterrorism fight, I will tell you that the crucial mistakes which led to 9/11 were made long before Bush ever got to the White House…. like in the eight years which preceeded his administration. I would also opine from direct prior experience that the changes in counterterrorism strategy and tactics made by Bush after the 9/11 tragedy were undoubtedly one of the most critical reasons why we have not been attacked on home soil since 9/11 and why you see al Qaeda terrorists being brought down or captured around the globe. If you are going to point fingers as you are so wont to do, you had better be ready to back up your accusations with at least some explanation of why you know what you claim to know.

  10. park'd said on 25 Jan 2009 at 3:33 pm:
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    LOL@ you guys thinking the Bush admin had anything to do with why we haven’t been attacked. With our borders wide open and them looking the other way to every Juan, Pablo and Achmed (who can easily impersonate Juan or Pablo) waltzing right across unimpeded. Do you REALLY believe that these guys did everything they could to protect us? Our neighborhoods filled with illegals on Bush’s watch is proof of that. haha rofl, I’ve had my laugh for the day. This type of partisan crap is the reason why things are the way they are in this country right now.

  11. Slick said on 25 Jan 2009 at 3:52 pm:
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    Good job Jeff. You are an American patriot and we love you here in your district! It is just so sad we have an illegal alien (DumbO) as our fraud in chief.

  12. Wolverine said on 25 Jan 2009 at 4:14 pm:
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    Park’d — As they say, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in awhile. You, as the blind squirrel, hit upon the one major weakness in Bush’s counterterrorism policy — a weakness for which I have been the first to smack him figuratively upside the head. The rest of your post is flipping nonsense born out of ignorance. Apart from that particular lapse, the Bush administration did a very good job in protecting your LOL-prone behind. You could at least show a bit of gratitude for the fact that your guts were not spread out somewhere on an American street and someone has not had to scrape you off the pavement with a shovel and broom. And this tendency to accuse anyone who may disagree with your opinions as “partisan” is rather disgusting. Grow up and start understanding that not everyone around here bases his thoughts and opinions on partisan politics. Then, perhaps, you just might begin to understand the realities of life.

  13. park'd said on 25 Jan 2009 at 4:36 pm:
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    Lapse?? haha Greg I see the blog user quality has went way down in the past 2 years since I was active here. Wolverine if sense were coins you wouldn’t have 2 nickles to rub together. People that know me here know my political views and that I am die hard Republican. Bush and his cronies ‘aint no Republicans. All I know is that our economy is in shambles on Bush’s watch, we were devastatingly attacked on his watch, we have spent trillions of dollars on a useless war to mend his daddy’s pride on his watch and basically have sold our economic futures and those of our children down the drain on his watch. Heck of a job Bushie. Mission Accomplished! That is all I will say so don’t bother goading me with a witless retort. Hello to the gang.

  14. Anonymous said on 25 Jan 2009 at 5:10 pm:
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    BothPartiesColludeAgainstUs said on 24 Jan 2009 at 10:39 pm:
    THREE SEPERATE TREES have crashed touching my back fence in the last 2 years.

    GEE WHIZZZZZZ, BATMAN! Sounds more like they hit you on the head!

  15. Wolverine said on 25 Jan 2009 at 6:09 pm:
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    Park’d — Step back a bit and refocus your eyes. I am calling you out on one particular issue and only that issue. Your response is to scatter-shot a whole pile of other things which takes the argument away from the subject of this thread. Quite frankly, you would find that there are probably a great number of those “other things” on which we would be in agreement, specifically the economy, federal spending, and the illegal immigration issue. Stick to the specific subject at hand and defend your position on that. Let’s see how well you can do without both of us letting it degenerate into a contest of insults.

  16. Citizen12 said on 25 Jan 2009 at 6:15 pm:
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    Anyone who steps up to the challenges of the office of President deserves our respect and gratitude for that undertaking despite the final tally in the win/loss column. However, IMHO when Mr. Frederick speaks of the flip side I feel that such things as “McCain-Feingold, new entitlement programs, amnesty for illegal’s” and much more pale in the shadows of the creation of our ” Orwellian inspired” Department of Homeland Security.

    Before the dust settled from 9/11 President Bush takes 22 federal agencies, 200,000 plus federal employees, shakes them up in a giant shoe box and says make it work. Our exposure and risk was unimaginable. Americans owe a huge debt of gratitude to the men and women who kept us safe despite the challenges of working through that upheaval, and not to Bush for the creation of it.

  17. BothPartiesColludeAgainstUs said on 25 Jan 2009 at 6:21 pm:
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    “You are misleading when you imply that it was Bush’s responsibility because it happened on his watch.”

    I’ll defer to you to some extent Wolverine. It is a cheap shot probably. At any rate, it’s partisan-style muck on my part and I want to refrain from silly postings. You know that an arguement can be made, and has been by Richard Clarke, that Bush relaxed on guarding against an attack within our borders.

    I hit out at Bush reflexively because like many other Americans I was disgusted at how the GOP played politics with this issue 4-6 years ago. But Bush is long gone, McCain didn’t play his race that way, and I’ll drop it.

  18. Loudoun Insider said on 25 Jan 2009 at 7:27 pm:
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    Frederick is way out of his league in being Chairman of RPV. If he or anyone else thinks defending GWB to the bitter end is going to make the GOP win again, you’re out of your freaking mind.

  19. Wolverine said on 25 Jan 2009 at 9:11 pm:
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    Citizen 12 — I couldn’t agree with you more about those people who made that system work in the midst of upheaval and real danger. However, those people, skilled as they are at what they do, needed someone in authority to begin it all by shaking up that box. They did not have the authority to do that on their own. Only the No. 1 guy with the ultimate power can jump start a stalled vehicle of those dimensions.

    That No. 1 guy is also the only one who has the authority to approve the tools those people need for maximum efficiency. He and only he, with the consent of Congress, can do that. I have worked in that system both under conditions in which I was effectively fettered by the lack of tools and under conditions in which the tools were provided for me to really do the job. There is a world of difference, believe you me. Much of that is due to the leadership coming from the top in terms of both morale and working conditions. No one in that army of ready workers had any power whatsoever to effect such changes on their own. They needed the No. 1 guy to step in and take care of business. They also needed to know that he was behind them 100%, which has not always been the case.

    A specific example would be that so-called “Wall of Separation” which came under much discussion at the 9/11 hearings. The troops on the ground had no ability whatsoever to breach that wall on their own without risking serious personal consequences. Only the No. 1 guy could knock it down; and, when he did that (along with other things), the troops were really in business.

    Now, I know that Bush has drawn severe criticism for his actions or lack thereof on other fronts. I happen to think that a great deal of that criticism is deserved. The angry things I have personally said about his illegal immigration policy, for instance, cannot be repeated on this blog because Greg would have to censor them. But on this issue of the battle against terrorism — in which I have more than a little experience — I am fully prepared to give credit where credit is due. The man took radical action when radical action was needed. He did not just cluck his tongue and tell the boys and girls to go back to their jobs and try a little harder.

  20. Wolverine said on 25 Jan 2009 at 9:55 pm:
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    Both Parties — You have a good point. There does appear to have been some letting down of the guard in those first nine months. However, I have to try to put myself in the shoes of a guy who is trying to get a good grip on handling the business of a huge and incredibly complex country during the very opening phase of an administration. My feelings are that much of the blame for all this can be legitimately thrown at the lower professional levels who apparently had some critical clues and did not respond to them effectively and also failed to make an all-out and persistent effort to break through to a busy President and lay it out before him in no uncertain terms. And then there was the uniqueness of the threat. Who woulda thunk? I mean, how many actually thought the Japanese would ever dare to attack Pearl Harbor?

    For these same reasons, you would not find me jumping all over President Obama if this country should get hit again in the early stages of his administration — unless some demonstrable evidence could be presented to show that his specific actions were directly responsible for opening the way for an attack. Democrat or Republican or whatever, we sometimes seem to forget that the holder of the No. 1 spot has a mind-boggling job and that he/she is just as human as the rest of us. Personally, I cannot even imagine walking into the Oval Ofice and realizing, in the famed words of GWB, that I am now the ultimate and last “decider” with regard to the fate of 230 million souls.

  21. Bob Bruhns said on 25 Jan 2009 at 10:16 pm:
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    Bush… please, he was our president, but really he could barely put two words together, he laughed about “no WMD here, no WMD there” while our soldiers were dying, he joked about Trent Lott’s porch while people were dying in Katrina. Joe Biden has nothing on Bush for inappropriate stupidity.

    Bush didn’t have the brains to protect the USA. Cheney and Rove had the brains to trick the whole media into a WMD frenzy, and it was not Bush who put the 16 words into the 2003 State of the Union Address. Bush was a sock puppet; Cheney is the criminal, Rove and Libby wre accomplices.

    Wolverine, the blatant failure for more than seven years after 9/11 to close the US borders and stop illegal hiring is merely “the one major weakness in Bush’s counterterrorism policy?” Please.

    Now watch the ‘Bush Can Do No Wrong’ crowd start calling me an idiot. “You’re an idiot Bob, so what you say has no merit, and therefore it does not matter.”

    Please people, it’s time to grow up. That kind of mentality is not going to get the job done. And this website is far above that kind of nonsense.

  22. Wolverine said on 26 Jan 2009 at 3:15 am:
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    Bobby Bruhns — Far be it from me to call you an “idiot” for expressing your opinion on a blog. I do wish, however, that you would expand on your broad brush statements just a wee bit. For instance, your paragraph three is accompanied by a final expression which would make one assume that you have some in-depth personal experience and well-sourced information to back up your conclusion. Indulge us a bit and provide it.

  23. Jay said on 26 Jan 2009 at 9:43 am:
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    Now that VA has turned blue, revisionist historians have to quickly tell the world how the redneck messiah was actually (after all) a gosh-darn good president! One could give facts, reasons, and arguments- but to believe this is to hold faith. . .and faith in any extreme cannot be reasoned with. Bush as a president was an embarrasment. The GOP will come back to life quicker the sooner it realizes that.

  24. Johnson said on 26 Jan 2009 at 10:16 am:
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    Not only is she a hypocrite, she supports amnesty for the group of people with the highest birth rate.


    I am in favor of these measures. We need well educated, responsible citizens. The world is overpopulated and the competition is increasing for resources. All governments and religions should be teaching and practicing safe band responsible birth control. We need to start thinking globally on this.

  25. Johnson said on 26 Jan 2009 at 10:16 am:
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    “band”. Duh! :-(

  26. Robert L. Duecaster said on 26 Jan 2009 at 11:34 am:
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    I’ve never been a big fan of el Presidente Jorge W., but I find it very amusing that the Obamanistas are branding him with the same smears that the vile vixens of Haymarket have tried to tag me. Personal villification is the spawn of ignorance and frustration.

  27. Wolverine said on 26 Jan 2009 at 2:09 pm:
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    You speak the truth, Robert L. Duecaster. I, however, find it sad rather than amusing. Even when they are on the winning side of an election, some of the Obama supporters appear absolutely unable to quench the burning hatred which seems to dominate their being. The same might be said for some in the opposition. Eventually, those who would engage in a vigorous and sharp debate on the issues find that their only options are to say nothing or to start firing back in an unseemly battle of vitriol. Honest political debate in this country appears to have been replaced by taunting , trash talk, and generic insults born of absolute intolerance for dissenting opinion. It would seem that we all have become trapped in a hate-filled arena of our own making. Not good for this country of ours. How long will it be before the hatred is transfomed into political and personal violence if one dares to raise one’s voice in dissent?

  28. DB Cooper said on 26 Jan 2009 at 2:16 pm:
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    Not long, Meesheegander, not long.

  29. Mighty Putty said on 26 Jan 2009 at 2:57 pm:
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    BothPartiesColludeAgainstUs said on 24 Jan 2009 at 10:39 pm: Flag comment

    “So Frederick, a political hack, goes on at length with his not-especially important or informed opinion. Great. Let me print this out so that I can wipe myself with it if and when there is a toilet paper shortage.”

    What a class act you are. Good thing you never attack anyone. I hope AW Cheney doesn’t see this!

    BTW, don’t worry about a shortage. Mom can throw a roll down the stairs to you.

  30. Karla H said on 26 Jan 2009 at 4:44 pm:
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    Bush is a turd:
    1. Bush started an unjustified war.
    2. Bush doubled our national debt.
    3. Bush violated the constitution by spying on his own citizens.
    4. Bush not only failed to protect and defend our borders, Bush had the audacity to push for amnesty for those who violated our nation’s laws.
    5. And in his final hours, Bush ushered in a depression, and then became a communist in an attempt to stave it off.

    Bush is a turd. Am I a liberal? Hardly! And I am no longer a Republican either! I hope Bush rots in hell!

  31. Billy Bob said on 26 Jan 2009 at 6:05 pm:
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    Karla H, you are a double turd.

  32. Johnson said on 26 Jan 2009 at 7:53 pm:
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    Karla H-
    your delivery is a bit straightforward, but the message is true enough. His only saving grace is the fact that we haven’t been attacked since. Don’t hold your breath, folks. It’s coming. They will test him to see if he’s a Carter or a Reagan. Look for multiple incidents at public places, all coordinated to occur simultaneously. If you see someone in the mall hold up their arms and speak loudly, lie down with your kids under you and your feet towards them and cover your head. Then run like hell after the blast, because the second and third bombers will wait for the EMS/Police crowd to gather. Just leave.

    I really pray that the above does not happen.

  33. Karla H said on 26 Jan 2009 at 8:29 pm:
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    “Karla H, you are a double turd.” - Billy Bob

    I clearly explained why Bush is a turd, and you offer this as a response? Is one of my statements incorrect? Or do you simply not like my statements because they are true, and you are a blind believer. If so, you are a fool. You will not make it very far in life, my friend.

    “His only saving grace is the fact that we haven’t been attacked since.” - Johnson

    I give Bush zero credit for the lack of attacks. Prove to me that we would have had attacks if Bush had not been our President. Prove to me that Santa Claus does not exist.

    But Johnson, you very well may be right. We may have terrorist attacks on our own soil soon.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Democrat. But that does not mean I must drink the Republican swill. The Republicans have destroyed our nation. You will realize this soon… very soon…

  34. Karla H said on 26 Jan 2009 at 8:45 pm:
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    “Bush was like an unflappable fiddle player”… yeah, Nero.

    ““I’ve abandoned free-market principles in order to save the free-market.”

    Perhaps one day we’ll learn exactly what that means” … simple, it means Bush is a communist. It is quite clear.

    “especially on issues such as McCain-Feingold, new entitlement programs, amnesty for illegals, and now his final blessing in support of the massive taxpayer funded economic bailout” … actually the author if this letter manages to do some great Bush bashing, without being too blatant about it… very clever.

    Bush IS a turd. His monument on the national mall should be a concrete toilet. And he should be flushed down it.

    Bush’s only saving grace is that the president following him, Mr. Sambo, will quickly assume the title of “Worst Prez Ever” from him.

  35. Wolverine said on 26 Jan 2009 at 10:13 pm:
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    God Lord, it’s gone from “criminal” to “sock puppet” to “communist” to “turd” to “Sambo.” Next thing you know we’ll be conducting all our political transitions on the guillotine.

  36. NoVA Scout said on 26 Jan 2009 at 11:45 pm:
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    Wolverine sense the direction of this. The level, on all fronts, is less than edifying. All of you should go get a good secondary education and then spend a little time in a finishing school. I recommend Miss Lillian’s in Farmville. They’ll turn you all into little ladies and gentlemen in no time.

  37. Johnson said on 27 Jan 2009 at 10:11 am:
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    You are WAY out of control. I like that. :-) You gotta let that stuff out or it’ll eat you up. The Republican party no longer represents conservatives. They represent greed and misuse of authority at every level. That won’t drive me to the Dems, but it has forced me to start voting against all incumbants. Our politicians have decided that they are untouchable, no longer represent us and will do as they please. It is up to us to hold them accountable by taking their jobs away.

    It will be interesting to watch the meltdown of the Obama worshippers. He is a snake oil salesman. I wonder if Bush would have fared better if he had a six-pack and could slam dunk?

  38. Billy Bob said on 27 Jan 2009 at 11:01 am:
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    Johnson, Bush might have fared better had he been a member of a
    church where the minister (?) was fond of God damning America?

    And Karla (my “friend”), not to worry about my not getting very far
    for rest assured, I’m certain that I’ve gone much further in my life-
    time and accomplished more than you could ever hope for.

  39. Karla H said on 27 Jan 2009 at 11:35 am:
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    “The Republican party no longer represents conservatives.” - Johnson

    Absolutely agreed, Johnson! I am shopping for new leaders.

    “It will be interesting to watch the meltdown of the Obama worshippers.” - Johnson

    Agreed again! All I will get for my tax money is a few good belly laugh.

    “Next thing you know we’ll be conducting all our political transitions on the guillotine.” - Wolverine

    We can only hope, Wolv. And given the situation (massive unemployment, leading to hunger) we very well may be seeing the start of another “French Revolution”.

    “I’m certain that I’ve gone much further in my life-
    time and accomplished more than you could ever hope for.” - Billy Bob

    And another thoughtful response from Billy Bob.

  40. Anonymous said on 27 Jan 2009 at 12:33 pm:
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    I’ve had a pretty rock sitting on my desk ever since the day after 9/11. We haven’t been attacked since 9/11. How do we know it’s Bush’s policies and not my rock that are responsible?

    Anybody want to buy a rock that keeps terrorists away?

  41. Loudoun Insider said on 27 Jan 2009 at 5:07 pm:
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    Like I said somewhere else (speaking of rocks), Bush has also kept us safe from an asteroid strike.

    He was a horrible President, and the sooner the GOP moves permanently away from him , the sooner it recovers. Once again Jeff Frederick shows how out of touch he is with mainstream America.

  42. Wolverine said on 28 Jan 2009 at 3:25 am:
    Flag comment

    Anonymous and Loudoun Insider —

    You “expert commentators” are really a laugh riot. Anonymous, suggest you put that rock on e-Bay. Somebody on the anti-bvbl will surely bid for it.

  43. Bob Bruhns said on 28 Jan 2009 at 10:49 am:
    Flag comment

    Wolverine wrote “…your paragraph three is accompanied by a final expression which would make one assume that you have some in-depth personal experience and well-sourced information to back up your conclusion. Indulge us a bit and provide it.”
    I assume you mean my quote, “Wolverine, the blatant failure for more than seven years after 9/11 to close the US borders and stop illegal hiring is merely “the one major weakness in Bush’s counterterrorism policy?” Please.”

    There were many major weaknesses in the Bush countereterrorism policy.

    The first was the failure to protect us against the terrorists who brought us 9-11, despite the loudly trumpeted failure to get bin Laden in the 90s when we might have been able to, the known threat that al-Qaeda posed, etc. Intelligence people warned Bush and his administration, and they did not care. And that is very odd, because if you check you will find that the Bush administration was packed with people from Project for the New American Century (PNAC), an active thinktank group warning of the dangers and calling for the use of military force in the middle east. This group petitioned Clinton to take action in 1998. Look it up - signatories for PNAC included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, I. Lewis Libby, Zalmay Khalilzad, Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage,John Bolton, the list of Bush administration people goes on and on… and yet, they took no action to correct the security issues before 9/11. You want to talk about ‘one major weakness in Bush’s counterterrorism policy’?

    Then there was the abysmal failure to capture bin Laden after Tora Bora. We just let him go. At that time, the US had changed direction and was aiming at Saddam, claiming all sorts of unfounded and very controversial things - nuclear program, yellowcake deal, aluminum tubes, mobile chemical weapons labs, etc. We find that yes some in intelligence thought maybe, others thought no, but our leaders said “Oh, we know..” Rumsfeld was saying he knew exactly where the WMD was. And he did not. It was a great big act, Wolverine. They wanted war, they cared nothing about terrorism.

    Bin Laden was known to have been seeking nuclear material to use in a terrrorist attack. He had said that he would do that. But… we let him go, to attack Iraq. Our intlligence was so divided that the sixteen words in the 2003 State of the Uniton address were “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” The British Government, not US Intelligence. The same Britsh Government that plagiarized an eleven year old college paper and presented it as current intelligence. And who put those words into Bush’s speech? George Tenet says he tried to get them out, but they mysteriously reappeared. Bush - yes, Bush the ’sock puppet’ - just read what they handed him, much as Condoleeza Rice was ‘told’ that the aluminum tubes could only be used for nuclear enrichment - when they were not well suited to that but instead were obviously well suiited for Iraqi conventional missiles. Looks like somebody in the Bush administration told people a lot of things that were not true - but nothing about bin Laden and the threat that he still posed, and continues to pose to his day. And you want to talk about ‘one major weakness in Bush’s counterterrorism policy’?

    Remember the liquid explosive scare a few years ago? Suddenly we could not take liquids on board airplanes. But it was nothing new, you know. Terrorists had been caught with that stuff in the 90s - so why was that not incorporated in anti-terrorism after 9/11? Terrorists were gearing up to use it against us… we only found out because an Arab-English fellow blew the whistle. You want to talk about ‘one major weakness in Bush’s counterterrorism policy’?

    I say it again: please. We have not been struck again in our homeland after 9/11 for the same reason that we were not struck for more than eight years after the first WTC attack in 1992 - the hard work of our intelligence and law enforcement services, and pure unadulterated luck. Our government was not making policies that protected us - in the Bush administration they were joking about WMD and porches after stacking their agencies with political hacks, and they were chasing interns around the White House in the preceeding Clinton administration. Political master Karl Rove, of all people, overseeing the Katrina work after they dumped horse racer Brownie? Good grief. Get real. Please.

  44. Mighty Putty said on 28 Jan 2009 at 11:54 am:
    Flag comment

    Karla H said on 26 Jan 2009 at 8:45 pm: Flag comment

    “Bush’s only saving grace is that the president following him, Mr. Sambo, will quickly assume the title of “Worst Prez Ever” from him.”

    This is one of the ugliest racist statements ever made on this site. I have no clue why Greg would allow this kind of garbage to be posted. Shame on all of you for letting this stand without comment.

  45. Mighty Putty said on 28 Jan 2009 at 11:57 am:
    Flag comment

    A lot of you came out of the woodwork a few months ago to attack Medic for using the “N” word in an uninsulting manner to make a point about race relations. This individual used a word that is synonymous with the “N” word as an insult and no one said anything.

  46. Bob Bruhns said on 28 Jan 2009 at 1:31 pm:
    Flag comment

    I didn’t notice Karla H’s 26 comment from Jan 2009 at 8:45 pm - it was in the last line of that less than stellar post. People who want to go on a namecalling spree seldom have much to contribute, and this is yet another example. It is also a particularly despicable example.

    I may not agree with Obama, etc. But I am pleased that the color of his skin did not stop him from being elected.

    Race is not the issue. The issue is about what is good and what is bad for this country. I believe that Bush was bad news for the USA. But what was done is done, and as always, one can only hope that things will work out for the best.

  47. Bob Bruhns said on 28 Jan 2009 at 1:31 pm:
    Flag comment

    M typo’d - I meant I didn’t notice Karla H’s comment from 26 Jan 2009 at 8:45 pm

  48. BothPartiesColludeAgainstYou said on 28 Jan 2009 at 2:36 pm:
    Flag comment

    “I have no clue why Greg would allow this kind of garbage to be posted.”

    Why don’t you ask him?

  49. Greg L said on 28 Jan 2009 at 2:59 pm:
    Flag comment

    Now I’m getting emails from folks complaining about a comment again. I put up the “Flag Comment” link for a reason, people. If you don’t like a comment, use it.

    As for the “sambo” thing, I didn’t see it until people started whining. I’ve got over 80,000 comments here, and I can’t watch them all roll in to see if folks will find one thing or another offensive.

    You have the option of condemning it yourself. You run with that ball. Just because I might not have the time to do so myself doesn’t mean I like or don’t like what someone else wrote. I waste enough of my time policing comments that make this pale in comparison and warring against trolls who want to trash threads with personal attacks and the latest Daily Kos talking points.

    The option is we continue like this, imperfectly, or I close off all comments on all current and future posts.

  50. Bob Bruhns said on 28 Jan 2009 at 7:59 pm:
    Flag comment

    Correcting my mistake: the first WTC attack was in early 1993, not 1992.

  51. Mighty Putty said on 28 Jan 2009 at 9:01 pm:
    Flag comment

    FYI, sanbo is just as powerful as nigger, depending on the part of the country you are from. I’m suprised that people aren’t too concerned, and that bringing this up is considered “whining”. We’re talking about a hateful racist word, not just an insult.

  52. Mighty Putty said on 28 Jan 2009 at 9:01 pm:
    Flag comment

    correction: sambo

  53. Wolverine said on 29 Jan 2009 at 12:55 pm:
    Flag comment

    Glad you answered, Bob Bruhns. Now, let me throw a few things back at you in a gentlemanly debate.

    I think you have to approach this question of responsibility and leadership with an understanding first of all that counterterrorism operations in this country over the past 25 years or so have not been on some sort of solid continuum. This I will give you from the perspective of the troops on the ground. There are three rather distinct divisions: (I) mid-Reagan to the end of the Bush I term; (II) the beginning of the Clinton era to 9/11; and (III) 9/11 to the Present.

    I will readily concede that mistakes may have been made by Bush and his administration during the first nine months before 9/11. Where I differ with you and others is that I believe Bush should be give credit for his actions after 9/11 and that it was not just “unadulterated luck” and/or solely the work of the troops on the ground which have kept us safe. Each of those divisions above are so demarcated because they represent the effects of leadership from the top on performance below. I tell you this because I saw a great deal of it firsthand. Contrary to the attitudes which developed out of the early Cold War period and the J. Edgar Hoover era, our agencies of today are not rogue elephants thrashing around the jungle on their own. They listen to, respond to, and obey the guy at the top. Unfortunately, for reasons which you will understand, I have to broad brush some this without going into great detail. But, anyway, here goes.

    Division I: Reagan directly inspired and demanded this. The counterterrorist capabilities of several major agencies were consolidated for the first time ever. Staffed differently and specifically directed and empowered, they were for the first time able to function out of the normal patterns of operational control. And they were given the tools and designated funds to accomplish this. They drew in personnel of all different talents and skills who were dedicated totally to this battle. One directive was to break down the informal wall that had long existed between agencies; and, difficult as this proved to be, an effort in this direction was begun. Bush I continued this era until the end of his term. To use a play on an old saying, Reagan-Bush I, in effect, unleashed the dogs of the counterterrorism war. I am not at liberty to say more, but I will assure you that those “dogs” did some things that would surprise the heck out of you.

    Division II: During the Clinton era, the curtain started coming down almost from the very start. In the first instance, Clinton was preoccupied with domestic and other issues and, in the opinion of many, paid inadequate attention to the intelligence apparatus. I don’t know what was going through his mind at the time. But he was notorious, for example, for NOT meeting on a regular basis with his intelligence chiefs. In my opinion, and without going into detail, one of the policies he implemented directly from the top resulted in a severe handicapping of the troops because it ended one of their most logical tools for penetrating terrorist or other groups in the search for human intelligence. That and a host of other directives which I cannot explain on a blog affected morale and effectiveness. One was the so-called “Wall of Separation.’ which was discussed at the 9/11 hearings. Once again the various federal agencies which had only just begun to cooperate productively against the terrorist threat were atomized, this time not by tradition but by law. The troops on the ground still tried hard and gave it what they could. But the upshot of all this was that morale sank and a great many of our most effective, experienced, and savvy officers simply up and left the service — some say as many as 25 percent. Show me a team that can continue to function at top efficiency when it loses one-fourth of its best veteran players. And you try to tell me after looking at this that the top does not have a direct effect on the troops on the ground. Kovar Towers; the embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Saalam; the USS Cole; the failure to get Bin Laden when we had the chance; et al — none of those events surprised someone like me one damned bit. And show me a commander, who, when his own faithful troops are killed by a gunman at the very gates to their fortress, cannot be bothered to drive five miles to attend the mourning ceremony. He sends his wife instead. I assure you that that was not a morale-boosting day.

    When Bush II took over in 2001, I suspect strongly that he did not start with a bunch of happy counterterrorist campers all armed to the teeth and engaged in battle on every front. Just about everything resulting from the policies of the Clinton years needed revamping and revising in order to regain the aggressiveness and effectiveness begun under the Reagan-Bush I era. This included recruiting and training a whole new generation of operatives, especially those with needed language skills. I was not privilege to what went on in the Oval office. I do not know how aggressively and persistently those who feared an attack pushed the subject at Bush. I do know that, because of the legal dustup over the Florida electoral votes, the Bush II administration got a later start than any administration in history in assembling its team. I also know that you had a guy trying to get a handle on probably the most complex nation on earth right in the midst of a cloud of accusations that he had stolen a presidential election. I also know that there were some major misfires at the operational level. How else to explain the difficulty of FBI field offices in getting FBI Hqs to react to reports of some mighty strange pilot training? Action right there might well have prevented 9/11. In the end , you can argue all you want about who should have done what from 20 January 2001 to 11 September 2001. That is not my point. My point is after 9/11.

    Division III: I will posit that, if the Clinton era, in my opinion, had a negative effect coming down from the top, the Bush II era after 9/11 had the reverse. The troops in the field cannot change the rules of their own volition — at least in this day and age they would do so at their own personal peril. When the rules are changed significantly, those rule changes come from the top. When the funding is increased it comes from the top. When new and unusual tools are sought, that permission comes from the top. When moral support is needed, the greatest effect comes when it’s from the top. I will tell you that people have had to operate in this day and age with lawyers under foot to give them advice on what they can and cannot do. You just do not go off on your own without harming your career. And you know when the top is listening and paying attention when your chief has an open door to the Oval Office. Ever have a President ask you for talking points? I have. Ever had a President act like you didn’t exist? I have. Mighty big difference that “top” can make. I am far from an Obama fan. But I do see that he apparently intends to become and stay engaged. Good for him. That’s exactly what is needed: the guy at the top leading the charge.

    I could go on and write a book about this but I might say something I shouldn’t. I will tell you this. You can argue all you want about 20 January-11 September 2001. I’m talking about Bush II’s strategy and tactics after 9/11. In my opinion, he did more than just shake the box and walk away. He stayed engaged. God knows, I have been a critic of Bush II on a whole raft of issues, not the least being that folly called the southern border. But consider as well that there is another army of pols up on the Hill who commit that same folly every day. And if the southern border does turn out to be our Achilles Heel, I will jump down the throats of every last one of them, including Bush and Obama. But, with regard to the revamping and revitalizing of the counterterrorist troops in the field over the past eight years, I will give Bush II credit where credit is deserved. I know what it’s like to be in the fight with and without the support from the top. I don’t like it when people are so taken up with their hatred that they cannot parse out something worthy from all the negatives. To me that doesn’t make you some sort of Bushbot. It shows that you can discern differences where appropriate.

    Bob, you brought up some other points like Tora Bora, Bin Laden in hiding, and liquid explosives. It would take another book to cover all that. Let me say that I consider Tora Bora a military mistake, complicated by, among other things, the uneasy and unpredictable state of relations with Pakistan and Pakistan’s very loose control of its northwest border. I’m not going further than that at this point.

    Bin Laden in hiding? I’ve fought terrorist groups which were tightly controlled within a particular area and those which were widely spread throughout the world with individual units under looser control. My own opinion at this point is that al Qaeda now falls into the latter category. It does not need a supreme field marshall pulling the operational strings at every step. Yes, it would be nice to catch him. But I guarantee that, if he falls, there will be somebody ready to take his place. Let him rot in his cave and send out a stupid recorded message once in awhile. We need to peel that al-Qaeda onion by stopping the individual , virtually independent commands wherever they are in the field, and eventually leave the old bugger just talking to himself. On the other hand, Obama’s planned surge in Afghanistan could perhaps result in a nice find of that nature. Good. Hang him high when you find him, even though I doubt it will stop al Qaeda in its tracks. It will probably give him even greater value as a martyr.

    Explosive liquids? You could argue the point. Just remember that the people involved in this fight are human, not robocops. They make mistakes. Which of us on this blog doesn’t. I made a major one once and came very close to not being here to write this post. .60 calibre at my temple in the hands of a chap who was mightily enraged. And guess what, Karla H. The guy who saved my life happened to be the same color as that “Sambo” you so nastily referred to in your post. You just don’t “Sambo” anyone when you are personally around me. No, sirrreee. A lot of those guys have been my brothers-in-arms.

  54. BothPartiesColludeAgainstYou said on 30 Jan 2009 at 7:44 am:
    Flag comment

    “sanbo [sic] is just as powerful as nigger, depending on the part of the country you are from”

    Not in the US, dude.

  55. Bob Bruhns said on 30 Jan 2009 at 11:19 am:
    Flag comment

    Wolverine, you acknowledge that Tora Bora was a military mistake, you point to everything from Clinton and even Buhs I and Reagan, to the 2000 election contest - and excuse me, but Bush and many of his PNAC friends, including Richard B. Cheney, were in office from January through September 2001. What, they weren’t allowed to do anything? You acknowledge the liquid explosives too. This is an improvement from your earlier statement that the immigration absurdity was Bush-II’s ‘one’ national security mistake.

    Now on top of those things, I remind you of that immigration law nonsense. Bush-II did very little to deal with illegal presence in the country from 9/11 onward, witness the situation we have today. Only at the very end of his administeration was E-Verify rolled out, just in time to be scuttled by the incoming Obama administration. I submit that Bush II was playing by the same rulebook as Clinton and Bush I and Reagan: “Keep them illegal, to keep them cheap - and keep them coming.” Law was not to be enforced. Oh, now and then 600 here, 100 there… while 12 to 20 million other illegal aliens slip right by.

    You wrote about inappropriate divisions… so, what about the division that exists to this day, where the IRS and the Social Security Agency can not inform the Justice Department about all of the bogus Social Security numbers in use, etc? In over seven years since 9/11… nothing was done about that, Wolverine. Nothing. Do you call this national security?

    And when a woman on the terrorist watchlist slipped across the border from Mexico and got caught with an altered South African passport trying to get onto a domestic flight, the story was quietly buried. Oh, you can find it… if someone points you to the links.

    Google Search on ‘Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed’

    CNN.com - Woman with altered passport detained - Jul 28, 2004

    AP: Terrorists obtain S. Africa passports

    I submit that this has everything to do with cheap labor for business interests that in my view should not be considered American, and nothing whatsoever to do with US national security.

    Bush was a sock puppet for Dick Cheney and the PNAC. Please don’t idolize him. He sold us out like the others did, for cheap labor for his benefactors. He laughed while soldiers were dying in his false war on essentially nonexisitant WMD. (”No WMD here. No WMD there.”) He joked about Trent Lott’s porch, as if that was the extent of the trouble, while people were dying in Katrina. When will the hero worship cease?

  56. Bob Bruhns said on 30 Jan 2009 at 11:28 am:
    Flag comment

    Darn, this link has gone stale.
    CNN.com - Woman with altered passport detained - Jul 28, 2004

    Google search on ”CNN.com - Woman with altered passport detained - Jul 28, 2004″:


  57. Mighty Putty said on 30 Jan 2009 at 6:17 pm:
    Flag comment

    BothPartiesColludeAgainstYou said on 30 Jan 2009 at 7:44 am: Flag comment

    “sanbo [sic] is just as powerful as nigger, depending on the part of the country you are from

    Not in the US, dude.”

    You black? Don’t tell me how I feel, DUDE.

    The flag comment link is pretty asinine, Greg. I guess nobody gives a damn here. It’s fine with me if no one can post comments anymore. I would worry about Both Parties though, he might OD on the chocolate milk without a distraction.

  58. Wolverine said on 30 Jan 2009 at 10:01 pm:
    Flag comment

    Bob Bruhns — You have some very good points. I am not going to disagree with you all up and down the line on this. Back when I was active in the field and in the home front leadership levels on this terrorism issue, I had to sort of rip apart whole terrorist groups piece by piece in order to identify the weak parts most liable to a successful attack and to find ways to track down the malefactors by using those weaknesses, sometimes track them down one by one or cell by cell. It was largely a case of seeing the terrorist group not only as a whole but as a puzzle made of individual pieces, trying to determine which pieces you could remove and perhaps make the whole begin to collapse.

    That kind of approach, when you use it every day of your life, eventually colors the way in which you address a lot of other issues. I do not know at this point how I can convince you that I am not among those who “idolize” George W. Bush. Especially on the illegal immigration issue, I could not agree with you more. My own neighborhood and my hometown have long been suffering under the results of the illegal immigration assault, and I myself have had to join the battle using the skills I once exercised on another battlefield in order to lend a contemporary hand to law enforcement. In that process, I have been heard to carry out public and private tongue lashings of GWB which would make a nun run in panic for her rosary beads. I do not disagree with you at all on that issue. I believe the problem is one of a socio-economic disaster in the making. I also believe, based on my past experience, that it is a major counterterrorist mistake — not just a lapse ( I admit I shouldn’t have used that word) or just one of GWB’s failures, but a major mistake that could really hurt us. But it is not a failure on the part of GWB alone. It is a failure perpetrated by a large number of people on the Hill from both parties; the current President; a large part of the business community thinking only of personal profit; a large number of people who cannot distinguish between the good effects of legal immigration and the bad effects of illegal immigration; and, rather frankly, a large swath of American citizens who just sit on their behinds and do not make a stink about it because it has not yet touched them personally (or so they think). In sum, we are on the same page here. No doubt about it.

    When I look at the GWB administration, I tend to look at the individual pieces as well as the whole puzzle. I do not condemn en masse. One (I repeat: one) of the pieces which I deem to be a positive is the leadership he demonstrated in revitalizing the counterterrorist assets at home and abroad to engage in a full-throttle battle against al-Queda in the field. I base this assessment on my own long experience in such a battle under a variety of leadership conditions.

    Nope, GWB was not some kind of invincible King Arthur in this battle. He made mistakes at various times. I, too, wonder what happened at the highest levels in the eight or nine months leading up to 9/11. Having been among the troops, I can pick out just through open sources where things went wrong at the ground level — including the absolutely disastrous effects of the Clinton “Wall of Separation.” I do not recall for sure at which point that wall was tumbled in a de facto as well as de jure fashion. If I had been in GWB’s shoes, I would have killed it on Day One. But I have been a counterterroist warrior. GWB was not. And I have to consider that counterterrorism was not the only issue in front of an incoming president. That was not an ordinary transition by any means. But, at this point, what can you or I do? The mechanisms to fight terrorism (all except the southern border issue, which seems to be a loss for us no matter who handles it at the top these days) are now in place. My feeling is that we have to leave the months leading up to 9/11 for the historians to sort out unless we want to get an ulcer by continually dwelling on it.

    Since writing the previous post, I have been ruminating over ways to give you a more acute and unclassified flavor of the diffrence in field leadership between my division II (Clinton) and division III (Bush II). This may be it. If you will think back to the USS Cole incident under Clinton. After that attack, FBI investigators were dispatched to Yemen to try to track down those who had planned and executed the attack. When they got there, they were told by the US Ambassador (a Clinton appointee) that she did not want them there investigating the case because, in her opinion, it would harm her conduct of bilateral relations with the Yemeni government. So the FBI investigators were withdrawn, despite the fact that we had a capital warship with a huge hole in its side and 16 dead American sailors. My own field experience tells me that the Ambassador would not have taken such a stance of her own volition. She was most certainly in direct consultation with State and, through State, with the White House. This was a front page incident, not just a minor attack that would escape press attention. It appears to me that the top level decision was to retreat, just like we retreated out of Somalia after the Black Hawk incident.

    Contrast that with an incident which took place not too long ago under the GWB administration. Known al-Qaeda terrorists were spotted by reconnaissance driving from time to time in a car down a certain road in Yemen. One day, poof!! They and the car disappeared in a cloud of fire and smoke. They were hit by a missile from one of our drones flying over Yemen. That, my friend, constitutes a sea change of policy that can come only from the very top. In my opinion and from my own experience, there is not a man or woman in our counterterrorist services who would have dared to launch such an attack in a foreign country without the express approval of the top “decider” in Washington. The same goes for those rockets now being sent into Pakistani territory when an al-Qaeda target is sighted and verified by reconnaisance. In my book, that shows a big difference in the level and type of engagement at the very top, and I am more than willing to give GWB credit for that, despite all the other things for which I would withhold such credit. (There may also be a bit of jealousy here. There were times when I could have used one of those drones, I tell you.)

    I know I am going long on this, but there is one other important issue brought up by you (and Obama during the campaign) which merits attention: Bin Laden in hiding. The area is being watched by reconnaissance. If he is still alive and shows himself, a drone missile could well take him out. That is one thing. But what if you do capture him alive? He is no longer a Napoleon Bonaparte directing the placement and movement of troops at Austerlitz or Jena. He is pretty well isolated. He is now mostly a symbol, an icon, if you will. Capture and execute him for his crimes as a measure of “closure” for 9/11 and you will create a martyr of both political and radical religious dimensions which will outshadow anything in the cult of Che Guevara. Jail him? You do that and you had better pray for all those Americans out their in foreign fields as diplomats, businessmen, missionaries, oil company workers, tourists, and anything else. They may be plucked up and held as hostages against the release of the leader. Refuse and we may be presented periodically with the severed head of an American man, woman, or child as a further reminder of the issue at hand.

    Don’t believe it? Check with the news coming out of the African Sahel. In North Africa, the “Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Mahgreb” is not only setting off bombs but also kidnapping or murdering European tourists. Now we discover that two ranking Canadian/UN diplomats and four European tourists in the Sahel below the Sahara have been kidnapped and taken into the desert, kidnapped apparently by nomadic Touareg raiders armed with automatic firepower. The last time I looked at it a few days ago, UN, US, and Canadian investigators were opining that the raiders may have turned over the victims to other radical Islamic groups in close alliance with Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Mahgreb. Grab Bin Laden and hold him and you may wish to turn in your passport. And how would you like it if he was put into a jail near you now that Gitmo is being closed?

    As previously stated, my personal preference right now is to let him rot in his cave and die of natural causes. He can’t control the battle very well from there. He’s known to have medical difficulties, if he is not already dead from them. If we can’t get him from the air, we are going to have to send troops into a very difficult mountainous battlefield. Those troops would move with the most determined and suicidal of al-Qaeda in front of them and the resurgent Taliban ranging around behind them in a country which is known for frustrating foreign”invaders” throughout the centuries. This “closure” we always seek is nice; but, in my opinion, that old bastard in his cave is not by himself worth the life of one single American soldier. We shed the blood to get him, and they get to have the martyr of all martyrs. I’m not privilege to U.S. policy decisions but I have sometimes wondered if this might not be the thinking behind the Bush lack of a direct effort. I also wonder if Obama might eventually adopt the same strategy, at least unitl we may be able to clean out the Taliban again.

    I ask Greg to forgive me for taking up so much blog space, but Bob Bruhns appears to be someone interested in serious and amicable debate and deserves to have a response.

  59. Bob Bruhns said on 1 Feb 2009 at 6:02 pm:
    Flag comment

    Wolverine, thank you for your resonse, and for the amicable and intelligent tone of this discussion.

    The argument that bin Laden is untouchable because he would be a martyr does not hold water, in my view. It argues for the validity of Che Guevera T-shirt politics. Yes, I know there are noises of religious fervor and such, but that really means nothing. Bottom line, those who bin Laden’s death would unite in hate against us, are already united in hate against us. We should have gotten bin Laden, and although they hate us they would always hesitate, because they saw the risk of swift and certain justice. As it is now, they certainly do not.

    Bush II’s policies were nonsense. How can we talk about national security, when we do almost nothing to enforce immigration law? And Obama is no better in that regard - in fact, the E-Verify holdup indicates that he may even be worse, if that is possible. Money does not talk, it swears… it screams “Keep them illegal to keep them cheap, but keep them coming!” And our government obeys. Cheap labor trumps national security every time, and that shows what is really important to our ruling class.

    It is odd that I would use a Marxist term to describe them, but that’s how it is - they are an unaccountable ruling class, and they break every law that they impose on us. And we are in such a sorry condition that we either support and re-elect them, or we fail to re-elect them, after allowing our parties to nominate and select them, without pushing for important things to be clearly stated in the party platforms. In the end, I think that the problem is us, for failing to push back against the destructive agendas of our so-called leaders. We stand and stare like cattle, don’t we.

  60. Wolverine said on 2 Feb 2009 at 5:28 am:
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    Bob Bruhns — I’m not quite sure how to address your use of the term “untouchable.” What I am saying is taken largely from strategic and tactical considerations. My principal interest is in weighing what we face right now against the possible consequences which might result if we launched a successful military operation resulting in either Bin Laden’s death or his capture. From what I can see at this point, we are doing pretty well in this battle while the old cuss is penned up in his cave (provided he is actually still alive) and remains largely a minor strategic and an almost non-existent tactical factor in that battle. ( If he should somehow break out of that isolation, the entire equation would change, of course.)

    None of us can really judge the full extent his martyrdom would have on al-Qaeda; but I must say that current radical movements in the Middle East worship and even thrive on martyrdom far more than any I have ever seen on my watch. This terrorist movement is far different than anything we have ever faced, especially in its willingness to accept operational suicide or certain death. It seems as if they, unlike virtually any other terrorist group in my experience, seldom even figure into their plans an escape route if an operation goes awry. And I feel that many of them do not view “justice” as we do but, rather, as just another form of personal martyrdom. If we absolutely do not have to do it at this moment, why go to the trouble of testing those waters right now? Let’s kick the pants off his al Qaeda troops first and use him to mop up the floor afterwards.

    As for capturing him alive and putting him on trial under current conditions, I still maintain that we would be creating some very dangerous circumstances for Americans and our allies living or traveling abroad. I myself would avoid going abroad in those circumstances. These people have no mercy whatsoever. They will do anything to achieve their objective. And, as good as our military and counterterrorist forces may be at the moment, there are simply not enough of them to provide the protection that would be needed, even with the cooperation of foreign allies. Again, in my honest opinion, it is something we do not absolutely have to do at this juncture in the battle. In effect, as a wise , old veteran once told me in a similar situation: “The battle is already difficult enough. Be careful that you do not do something which makes it even harder, especially if your action, as desireable as it may look on the surface, can be delayed until a better moment.” He was right. As I later understood very well, the action I had wanted to take at that time would have placed a lot of hitherto untouched and innocent people in imminent danger when they did not have to be and when I would be unable to protect them adequately.

    Having said all of the above, I can fully understand the emotional side of the issue. I must confess that the same emotion has tugged at me more than once. It is just that a part of my former job was realizing that, if you make a tactical misjudgement, you somehow wind up believing within your own mind that a certain amount of the resulting blood is on your own hands, even though your intentions were the best. At this point, we have probably exhausted the issue between us. Obama will do what he feels he must do about Bin Laden. When that happens, we will probably be at the debate again.

    As far as your last paragraphs goes, one could well look at the both of us as blood brothers in an unacceptable situation. Just simply as an American citizen and apart from my former profession, I have been absolutely disheartened by what seems to be an almost total inability on our part to influence what you term the “unaccountable ruling class.” I don’t think we two are alone out there in feeling that a huge gap has opened between the rulers and the ruled no matter what political party is involved. We just had a campaign in which one of the candidates touted the word “change.” Nice word. But then I look at the way the bailouts are being handled; what is in the stimulus package; the Daschle nomination and the automatic discounting of his tax problems, et al, and I still feel far distanced from what is going on only a few miles from me. Quite frankly, Bob, I do not know what the Hell to do to get us out of this, short of my fantasy of going into D.C., hauling every last one of those politicos out of their posh offices, banning them from the capital foreover, and trying to find some way to start over within the guiding limits of our Constitution. I’m an ageing old veteran of many wars in uniform and in mufti. I am just hoping that, somewhere out there in blogland, is a smart young man or woman who comes up with an idea that works.

  61. Bob Bruhns said on 2 Feb 2009 at 10:07 am:
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    It was inadequate for Bush II to abandon (only) Libby to his felony conviction, when the conspiracy to leak the identity of CIA NOC agent Valerie Plame was clearly larger, as well as deliberate and malicious, and when the central guilty party was evidently Vice President Cheney. And nobody talks about how that destroyed an entire US spy network, nor (speaking of no mercy) how it surely got friendly assets killed overseas. I am frankly amazed at how some think that was just magnificent and exemplary behavior by our top governmental administration.

    Keep in mind, the supposed first leaker Richard Armitage was another PNAC signatory. Just because he worked under Powell did not mean he was a dove. Why wasn’t he prosecuted? It’s the unaccountable ruling class in action again. If it had been me, I would have been in jail in about two days. Have you ever seen the security agreements they sign? Libby’s was released in his trial.

    How much money was lost, and how many people died, and how much critical intelligence was lost, because of that malicious leak? All to hide the fact that the claim, a major one, of Iraqi attempts to acquire yellowcake uranium ore, was flat out false. And nobody asks who put that claim back into Bush’s speech, after George Tenet got it removed. Bush, of course, just read what they gave him. A great president? I really don’t think so.

    And how about the big-mouthed Bush administration leak while British intelligence was chasing terrorists around Leeds, about a year before 7/7? It forced a sudden roundup by the Brits, and they missed a few, and as far as I am concerned it probably opened the door to 7/7 in the process.

    Bottom line, the Bush II administration was no boon to US national security. We have been lucky, just as we were lucky for more than eight years after the first WTC attack in 1993.

  62. Wolverine said on 2 Feb 2009 at 6:27 pm:
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    Bob Bruhns — No argument from me about the way the Plame thing seems to have been botched up. Maybe some day the historians will be able to uncover the entire truth about the affair. One thing I would caution, though. Don’t be ready to make your final analysis based on the musings of the media, even when they claim to have interviewed all kinds of people who ought to be in the know. Most of it is speculation and opinion based on a lack of direct knowledge. I, even with my own experience, would hesitate to give a “definitive” assessment on such a case to a reporter. And I am not going to get into a discussion here about Plame’s former status as a NOC officer. Believe me, I know the NOC program and how it is supposed to work. I say the wrong thing here, even at this late date, and it could be my behind in the fire. So, I’ll drop it.

    I will, however, give you my initial personal reaction to Joe Wilson’s endeavors in Niamey. There seems to me to have been a whole lot of presumption that Wilson was a so-called “Africa hand” and thereby a natural to send to Niger…as if he had been in Niger for years and had an entire stable of contacts and friends who would supply him with the truth for old time’s sake. Balderdash, I would conjecture. Recognize that Wilson served in Niamey from 1976 to 1978, approximately a quarter century before the yellow cake affair. Moreover, he was the General Services Officer or GSO. Know what a GSO does? He’s somewhat the equivalent of a super in a large apartment building, only his apartment building is the US Embassy and allied US agencies. An important and critical job, especially in developing countries; but he is not a political officer or an economic/commercial officer. Those people are trained and very focused on their jobs, which even I will admit can be very tough ones, especially in the Third World, where you are usually viewed with much suspicion and apprehension when you show up seeking the truth. I have seen these guys work up close. Damned hard and often frustrating job in many cases. People usually try to avoid telling you the truth because, if such willingness to blab is ever found out by those above you, your career could be smoke real quick. Maybe even more than your career.

    From what I can see, Wilson appears to me to have been in State’s admin cone until 1982, when he became DCM in Bujumbura and later in Brazzaville. That, in my personal estimation, would have been the first time he actually got involved in the job of political and economic reporting. I have to presume that he did a pretty good job, especially because he got promoted to the DCM job in Baghdad… a whole different kettle of fish. His reward was obviously a subsequent promotion to the ambassadorial ranks.

    When I look at that in its totality, I think many people have missed a key point on the yellowcake affair. Wilson came into Niamey essentially cold. He was reportedly told by the US Ambassador that the embassy had already debunked the yellowcake report but that Wilson would be set up with appointments to further his own, independent investigation. In assessing the validity of the yellowcake report, I personally would have jumped immediately on the contents of that embassy reporting. It was done presumably by the pros on the ground at the time with a whole array of on-going contemporary contacts. I would have put much more emphasis on that reporting than on anything Wilson could pick up during his essentially one-shot deal. Imagine walking into that situation, even with the rank of retired ambassador, and asking national officials if anyone there had violated UN sanctions by selling yellowcake to the Iraqis. You think they are all going to jump up and confess and then provide you with the damning evidence of the bill of sale? If you think that, you don’t know diddleysquat about the Third World. My big question even now is: Where is that embassy report and what did it say? I just haven’t had the time to search for it. I don’t even know whether the essential contents were ever released publically or in court. If you have located it or a version of it, let me know. I’d like to read it just out of curiosity.

    I’m not going to go further into this thing. Sort a curse of the profession in a way. Yes, I know fuill well what those security agreements are like. Boy, do I know. They literally follow you to the end of your days. You tempt me far too much, Bob, with your willingness to engage in a mature debate. So, I will now take the more prudent course and zip my lip.

  63. Bob Bruhns said on 4 Feb 2009 at 9:55 pm:
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    They may follow YOU…. but they clearly do not follow PNAC signatory Richard Armitage. I submit that indeed there were srtrange goings on in the Plame affair.

    I have never seen the embassy reports. I saw them referenced in the Senate Select Committee report. The point is that somebody in the Bush administration - and Bush did not have the brains to do this, so it must have been Cheney - completely misrepresented all intelligence, in order to trick us into the Iraq War. Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, were all PNAC signatories, the PNAC specitifally looking to use US military force in the middle east. The truth is self evident: they stacked the deck, and they got their war. Only it did not work out as they had planned.

    Thousands of US troops killed, many more thousands wounded, and more driven half crazy by the heavy rotation, and now breaking records for suicides. And they want us out… The deficit rising from 50 to 60 billion dollars a month, and then boom, the economic collapse, and then the deficit rising to 100 billion a month, and no doubt rising from there, and now a new president has taken office.

    Bush, a great president? No way. I rank him as one of the all-time worst.

  64. Wolverine said on 6 Feb 2009 at 8:04 pm:
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    Bob, I cannot recall offhand too many who have called Bush II a “great president.” Maybe some have out there, but it hasn’t crossed my scope in any major way. (Maybe I should expand my blog scope?) In any case, I certainly have not labelled Bush II as such. I see from my personal vantage point a lot of bad things and a few good things. But, my opinion is just that: my opinion. I have never met Bush II and have no way of truly assessing at this point his mental acumen. Nor did I have any direct or indirect access to what actually went on in those White House meetings in which post-9/11 policy was discussed and set. You and I and most of the rest of us will remain outsiders looking in until that moment when the historians have gathered enough factual material to pronounce some thoughtful judgements on the Bush administration. In fact, if I can revert to type, an intelligence operative, when debriefing just about any of us at the present time, me included, would decline to submit our expressed opinions as definitive intelligence, unless we could somehow prove that we had satisfactory access to the real facts.

    All that said, it has been a pleasure blogging with you on these subjects. Even from a distance, you appear to be someone who knows how to debate a subject without throwing in a lot of invective aimed at your interlocutor. The result is that I am led to respect your personal opinions more than I would the opinions of many another. Therefore, I encourage you, if at all possible, to run for some office so that you can apply your obviously high standards to our governance. If you are a resident of PWC, I would suggest starting with the school board. If there is anyplace that appears to need a boot in the pants concerning the role of citizens in governance…….

  65. Bob Bruhns said on 7 Feb 2009 at 6:28 am:
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    I refer to the nearly glowing review of the Bush II presidency in “Chairman’s Update” from Republican Party of Virginia Jeff Frederick - a bunch of weasel-words to tell us that Cheney and company were right, and to make a hero out of a politically connected son who could barely speak, and who either read what they handed him, or joked about false pretenses while our soldiers died in Iraq, or joked about Trent Lott’s porch while people died in Katrina.

    What I would really like to do is work for Patrick Fitzgerald, and nail every one of the guilty parties from that administration. I was frankly disappointed that Fitzgerald was not waiting outside to arrest former Vice President Richard B. Cheney when he stepped out of the hall of executive privilege last month, now that Bush could not pardon him any more. The high crimes of tricking our nation into a war, and of betraying a NOC CIA officer simply in order to confuse the issue for his own convenience, are still within the Statute of Limitations.

  66. Wolverine said on 7 Feb 2009 at 6:16 pm:
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    Bob — I acknowledge your reference to the Frederick “update.” To me his release was just politics. That an official of the party would choose to release such a document doesn’t surprise me. I was referring to general sentiment found in blogs, letters to the editor, and comments appended to news articles and commentary found on the web. What I have seen there doesn’t compute into a judgement that Bush II is considered by many to have been a “great president.” I think we will have to wait for a long, long time to get a good assessment of where that administration stands in history. I also suspect that such a standing might well be affected by what Obama winds up doing, good or bad. This is especially so since Obama is proposing a sea change in policy. If it works: Bush II was bad. If it doesn’t work: Take another look at Bush II. The historians will certainly factor that into their assessments.

    As for your Fitzgerald thing, let me dissent with all due respect. If it comes out at some point that specific laws were truly broken, then let justice take its due course. I suspect that there are plenty of people out there looking into that right now. Tough row to hoe, however. You first have to separate the right of an administration to make policy from the actual violation of law — never an easy thing to do and usually very arbitrary. I have to surmise that your use of the word “tricking” means they misled us in the process of making and seeking public approval for policy. Well, if prevarication in public statements were a crime, most of our politicians might merit winding up in the slammer for something or other. And how, in a legal sense, can you distinguish prevarication from claims of interpretation of intelligence? Neither Joe Wilson’s report nor the embassy reporting on the yellowcake carried a legal aspect requiring acceptance. The President apparently rejected them. That’s within his power. Mistake? Perhaps. Crime? No. In the end, it is up to us, the voters, in this political system to separate the wheat from the chaff and mete out political punishment where appropriate. Looks like the nation did that on 4 November. Now we’ll see if our assessments were correct.

    We have to be very careful, in my opinion, not to let justice be mixed up with our political assessments. I must say, quite frankly, that your own expressed sentiments tell me that you have decided to hold Cheney et al guilty even before any investigation takes place. I fully understand where those feelings may be coming from and I respect them; but I must caution that, in my view, this is not the best starting point for an investigator. Suspecting the possibility of guilt is one thing. But we do not want to be so dedicated to that proposition that we start focusing only on one set of clues and shove aside any exculpatory evidence. All I can say for now is that neither you nor I have the real evidence at this moment to label anyone as a criminal as opposed to a bad policy maker. This includes both the issue of the Iraq war and the Plame affair (Armitage excepted — I tend to agree with you for now on that one, except if we find out that Plame and Wilson played fast and loose with her NOC cover, of which there are reports out there to that effect). If, in the end, your sentiments prove to be the right ones, I will be the first to raise my glass and toast your prescience.

    One final point is that we do not want to start a tradition of detesting so much the policies of an administration that we wind up threatening outgoing administrations with retaliatory criminal prosecution and jail time. That can start us down the road to becoming a banana republic in which every transition becomes problematical, eventually with bayonets involved. In that scenario, Abe Lincoln himself, had he lived, could have been prosecuted for temporarily waiving habeas corpus and exiling the leader of the anti-war Democrat Copperheads without a trial. U.S. Grant would likely be in the same boat because of the corruption of his underlings. And how about old FDR, again if he had lived, for placing Japanese-Americans in the equivalent of POW camps. You don’t want to start down that road. Soon no one will want the highest offices except those who think they can keep them by superior force. Nixon was probably the most transparent violator of the law in our history. Ford pardoned him at great political risk, largely because we are not in the habit of sending our ex-Presidents and ex-Veeps to jail. As I recall, not even Aaron Burr suffered that, and he was alleged to have committed treason!

    As for your frequent references to Bush II’s jokes in the midst of crisis, I suggest you read the writings of Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury under Lincoln. Chase was fit to be tied because, during cabinet meetings to discuss critical war issues, Lincoln would frequently tell a funny story. Chase thought that this was an abominable trait on the part of Lincoln in the midst of a civil war in which troops were dying like flies and the nation’s finances were extremely rocky. Personally, I don’t see where Chase’s criticism had much effect on Lincoln’s legacy.

  67. Bob Bruhns said on 8 Feb 2009 at 12:24 pm:
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    Wolverine, I doubt that Lincoln’s funny stories would have been about false causes for a war he had championed. And of course, the Civil War was not based on false causes to begin with.

    Perhaps he can play dumb on the Iraq War, and get away with it. But Cheney should have been arrested for driving the campaign to leak Plame’s identity. You say that Wilson and Plame played loose with her NOC status - show me then where they did that, please, and don’t just refer to vague and bogus reports on the internet. If you check, you will find that yes, she was known to be his wife, but no, she was not known to be an NOC CIA spy. If you look at the picture of them in the car… you would not recognize her, first of all, and secondly, so what? It’s all a bunch of grasping at straws. “Oh he shows her in his car, so it was no secret that she is a NOC CIA spy!” So if you see a picture of me with a girlfriend in a car, then therefore she must be some NOC CIA spy? The CIA needs to know about that! And you know, if they had let that out, they would have been arrested and all that, because they had signed agreements too, just like Armitage. And Cheney swore an oath.

    You will find disinformation about the yellowcake deal too. People love to say “OH! Wilson said there was no deal - but look! There was yellowcake in Iraq!” Yes there was, under UN seal since the early 90s, and known since before Desert Storm because it was from Saddam’s old nuclear program. It was NOT obtained by Iraq in the late 90s or early 00s, it was from the 80s when the USA still supported Saddam.

    A pack of lies, that’s what we got from Cheney and his entourage, and it’s what we still get from his supporters to this day.

    Cheney deliberately ignored all evidence, and when Wilson spoke up, the swaggering Cheney clobbered him for his audacity. Cheney should go to jail for a very long time.

  68. Wolverine said on 8 Feb 2009 at 7:34 pm:
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    Bob — Funny thing about Lincoln. A new documentary film coming out by a respected African-American historian, in consultation with other well known historians, tends to show that Lincoln used the “N” word and was fond of funny, so-called “darkie” stories. It also maintains that Lincoln did not really believe in his heart in the equality of Whites and Blacks and even ruminated over the possibility of sending freed slaves to other countries for resettlement. And all these funny stories in cabinet meetings during a war not only to save the Union but to end slavery? Sort of comes close to qualifying in my book. Joke about the Blacks, free the slaves, and then send them elsewhere so you don’t have to deal with them. But, as the historian emphasizes, Lincoln was a man of his time, complete with the warts along with the admirable qualities. I tend to agree with him. When looking at the whole picture, I won’t go after Lincoln’s legacy endlessly because of the warts.

  69. Bob Bruhns said on 18 Feb 2009 at 5:58 pm:
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    I have read that Lincoln did not think that black people ultimately could live with white people. I am not sure why he felt that way.

    I guess we have to look at the legacy. The Emancipation and the end of slavery in the United States of America - something alluded to, but put off until 1808 or afterwards, in the Constitution - versus Iraq and Katrina. I doubt that even after a century and a half, Iraq will ever prove to be on a par with Emancipation. Certainly Katrina never will be. The failure to deal with the tidal flood of illegal immigration is not exactly stellar either.

    Frankly when I see a picture of George W. Bush from the past eight years… it’s nauseating. He was our president??? Honestly, it’s a very bad memory that I’d almost rather forget.

    Not that Obama is therefore going to be wonderful. But Bush II was the PITS.

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