How the Bush Administration Used 9-11 to Advance Its Agenda





Ms. Young, a professor at New York University, specializes in U.S. foreign relations. She is working on a book about the Korean War.

The genius of Michael Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 9/11 is that it restores September 11, 2001 to its proper historical context. Despite the title, the film does not begin with the attack on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon but with the fraudulent election of George W. Bush in November 2000. Some of the multiple failures of the democratic system in that election are well known. Hanging chads, for example, will probably make it into the next edition of Webster’s Dictionary. But I have not spoken with anyone who remembers seeing TV coverage of the succession of African-American representatives who came before the Senate, Al Gore presiding, to protest the irregularities in the voting process. Watching this pageant of representative democracy in action, one experiences a brief but thrilling suspension of memory: will the single necessary Senator (Byrd? Kennedy? Leahy? Kerry?) rise to endorse the petition? Can the Republic be saved from the ravages we know are on their way? Can we change the ending? In the Senate chamber there is only silence and the gavel of Al Gore.

Moore presents the events of the morning of September 11, 2001 through its sounds. Rather than the renewable visceral shock of seeing the buildings appear to swallow the planes and then implode, we are made to listen to the incoherent cries of something terrible happening as it happens. The screen is dark and lightens only enough to be filled with dust and shards of paper and debris. We look not at the violence of the act of terror but at the violence of its effect. It was as clear on September 12, 2001 as it is today that the administration of George W. Bush would use the attack to launch a range of policies, domestic and foreign, which might otherwise have found little support. What was less clear then was how successfully the administration would be able to manipulate the appeal to national security so that both the press and the opposition party effectively censored themselves.

Let me offer one small example. During the Democratic primaries, the front-runner, Howard Dean, was asked to respond to the news that Saddam Hussein had been captured. According to the secretary of defense, the vice president, the secretary of state and of course the president, the people of Iraq, the United States and indeed the world, had all been made safer with this evil man safely in American hands. Dean said he thought capturing Saddam Hussein had been a fine thing, but that he doubted the American people were any safer in consequence. It was a small but precise truth. The penalty for telling this truth was instantaneous: denunciation from every quarter, not least from the four quarters of his own party.

The Bush administration tells lies both large and small, vague and precise. Many bear no relation to September 11, 2001 and we can assume would have been told in any case. For example, in order to “better harmonize the environmental, social and economic benefits of America’s greatest natural resources, our forests and grasslands,” the administration gave the Forest Service the power to skip environmental reviews before approving lumber company requests to log national forest land. In order to move “toward more effective prevention of black-lung disease,” the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration raised the limit on the amount of coal dust allowed in mines. In order to “save hundreds of lives,” the Department of Transportation increased the number of hours long distance truckers could drive before a mandated rest period. Through budget cuts, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has lost seventy-seven enforcement agents; it created two new jobs for staff who would “help industry comply with agency rules.” Rules on mercury, the efficiency of air conditioners, food labelling, training of health care workers, restoration of wetlands, and media concentration have all been weakened. As “regulatory initiatives,” these achievements on behalf of business require no new legislation and can be halted only through costly legal action. According to the president’s spokesman, the new rules are the expression of the “President’s common-sense policies [which] reflect the values of America, whether it is cracking down on corporate wrong-doing or eliminating burdensome regulations to create jobs.” This is a sentence of genuine Orwellian grandeur.[1]

Because the crimes of omission and commission of this administration are delivered to the public piecemeal by the press, rarely followed up and, when printed, usually appear deep inside on what publishers call the “airplane pages” (as both the New York Times and the Washington Post acknowledged in recent self-criticisms), the public has little sense of the over-all corruption of the administration. Moreover, the war – against terrorism at home, Afghanistan, Iraq, and enemies yet unborn – distracts the public and, when attention is paid, is used to justify everything.

At the Nuremburg trials, Hermann Goering explained the way of the world to an American intelligence officer named Gustave Gilbert. Goering noted that most people in the world, including the Germans, had not wanted war. “But, after all,” he explained, “it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship." Gilbert protested that in a democracy the people had a say in such matters; in the U.S., for example, only the Congress could declare war. "Oh, that is all well and good,” Goering answered, “but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Thus Bush insists that the more war he and his cabal make in Iraq and Afghanistan the more safe they have made the country and indeed the world. Thus John Kerry, as if aware of Goering’s rule, accepts the nomination of his party by “reporting for duty” and promises to keep the country even more safe through a more successful, internationalized pursuit of the same misbegotten war. It is likely Bush believes what he is saying, a frightening prospect. It is likely that Kerry does not, which makes voting for him imperative.

In the past four years those of us who thought that the differences between George W. Bush and Al Gore were marginal have learned how important those margins are. It is in the margins that countries are taken to war under the sign of a pumped-up foreign threat; it is in the margins that protective regulations are dismantled; it is in the margins that the wealthiest Americans and the largest corporations are relieved of their tax burdens; it is also in the margins that public health in the U.S. continues to deteriorate. It is in the margins, in short, that people live and die.[2] This election will most likely be determined in the margins. Its effect, like that of the election of 2000, will be central.

[1] All quotes from Joel Brinkley, “Out of Spotlight, Bush Overhauls U.S. Regulations,” New York Times, August 14, 2004, p.10. In the case of the truckers, the rest period was also expanded, but truckers say this will not lessen the negative effect of a longer shift.

[2] The administration understands the importance of margins very well. Recently, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement opened an investigation of alleged voter fraud in the last election for mayor of Orlando. The investigation has frightened its targeted community -- the aging, black membership of Orlando’s League of Voters. Every vote counts. See Bob Herbert, “Suppress the Vote?” New York Times, August 16, pp. 19.

 


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Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


None of the seven politicians you name has done more than G. W. Bush to ensure that money continues to rule American political campaigns to a considerable degree. Evidently your final point is not the criterion on which you judge lesser vs greater evils. I furthermore wonder what your "libertarian" beliefs tell you about ownership of the airwaves. Is it whichever bandit happens to first bribe the requisite politicians into giving his radio or TV network a monopolistic license for a price that defrauds the taxpayers..or ?

I also suspect a close connection between the inability of people to throw out their idiot boxes, filled nowadays with imbecilic political ads, disconnect their 88 channels of cable-dreck, and log on to the websites of quality newspapers and magazines instead, on the one hand, and the mass unknowing and uncaring described by AM above, on the other hand.




andy mahan - 9/19/2006

I see no evidence or indication that either France, Germany, or Russia have suddenly embraced Bush’s doctrine of invading some random country,

Check these out.

Germany, Russia say agree anti-terrorism stance.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L0946298.htm

Russia Threatens to Strike Terror Bases http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/9/8/155734.shtml

The Beslan terror massacre and the kidnapping of French journalists have quietly caused these governments to recognize that negotiation, appeasement, and avoidance are not viable strategies against terrorism. Only death to terrorists will be a lasting solution.

As for forgiving debt. The frogs, krauts and russos met in August to coordinate another round of debt forgiveness.


andy mahan - 9/19/2006

9-11 didn't advance our administration's agenda, it predominated any agenda, it relegated any other issue to comparable insignificance. Except to the deluded liberal sentry's of black helicopters.


andy mahan - 9/19/2006

How convenient Mr. Leckie. Why is it that the Democrat St. Louis Board of Election Commishs is so screwed up that it prohibited other Democrats from voting? With decades of Democrat control in St. Louis it was, and is, beneficial to use the incompetence excuse where if the GOP controlled St. Louis it would be racism as was the mantra in Florida.
The post 2000 audit and subsequent removal and replacement of many on the Board of Commishs in St. Louis for their multiple legal acts such as having dead people on the rolls and allowing many to vote multiple times was limited to Democrat voters. What went on in downtown St. Louis was criminal not incompetence and you know it will continue in 2004.
Mr. Hagedorn was not victimizing the poor downtrodden and depopulated people of St. Louis, (depopulated? everybody is running out of that city (black and white) like rats off a sinking ship due to the corrupt political opportunism) he was plainly stating that St. Louis is a bastion of Democrat voter fraud and he is right.
I am so impressed with John Ashcroft's response to the 2000 results in St. Louis. He would not question the count as did crazy Al but since the emotionally charged campaign including the death of the Democrat Carnahan he would leave it as it stood. What a kind and good man.
Oh BTY what is the inside information you St. Louisians have questioning Mr. Ashcroft’s public service? Uh Huh, thought so. John Ashcroft has an impeccable service record. Impeccable. Bet you can come up with nothing other than the customary partisan delusional rantings. God bless John Ashcroft and God bless George Bush.


andy mahan - 9/19/2006

How convenient Mr. Leckie. Why is it that the Democrat St. Louis Board of Election Commishs is so screwed up that it prohibited other Democrats from voting? With decades of Democrat control in St. Louis it was, and is, beneficial to use the incompetence excuse where if the GOP controlled St. Louis it would be racism as was the mantra in Florida.
The post 2000 audit and subsequent removal and replacement of many on the Board of Commishs in St. Louis for their multiple legal acts such as having dead people on the rolls and allowing many to vote multiple times was limited to Democrat voters. What went on in downtown St. Louis was criminal not incompetence and you know it will continue in 2004.
Mr. Hagedorn was not victimizing the poor downtrodden and depopulated people of St. Louis, (depopulated? everybody is running out of that city (black and white) like rats off a sinking ship due to the corrupt political opportunism) he was plainly stating that St. Louis is a bastion of Democrat voter fraud and he is right.
I am so impressed with John Ashcroft's response to the 2000 results in St. Louis. He would not question the count as did crazy Al but since the emotionally charged campaign including the death of the Democrat Carnahan he would leave it as it stood. What a kind and good man.
Oh BTY what is the inside information you St. Louisians have questioning Mr. Ashcroft’s public service? Uh Huh, thought so. John Ashcroft has an impeccable service record. Impeccable. Bet you can come up with nothing other than the customary partisan delusional rantings. God bless John Ashcroft and God bless George Bush.


andy mahan - 9/19/2006

Hahahahahaha, just as I predicted. You are without substantive reasons to besmirch Mr. Ashcroft beyond your prejudice. You’ve predictably begged off to the usual liberal name-calling including the coup de gras, that hey, “blacks” hate him too. The true political history of Mr. Ashcroft is one of honor, respect and honesty. Mr. Ashcroft was endorsed by many St. Louis black leaders for his Christian values, an obvious impeachment of your intimation that he is racist.

You, Mr. Leckie are a blind partisan and merely puppet what you have heard in the liberal echo chamber trying to discredit a fine man. Truth is that Mr. Ashcrofts’s service as state auditor all the way through his last term as U.S. senator has been without contentious incident. It was only after the president appointed him AG and congress confirmed him that the dopey liberal attack machine went after him to attack his person not his performance. Mr. Ashcroft has been unfairly attacked and lied about as you have done here when all he is trying to do (and has done very successfully) is make America a safer place in response to the realities of global terrorism. I mean the goofy claims about him subpoenaing library records is evidence of the vacuous and desperate claims of the far left. Sometimes I wonder whether it is only anti-Christian bias that is at the heart of the liberal distain for him because I can find no other reason for them to attack this good man so viciously.

No, other (indurtal?) cities have NOT experienced the same decline. St. Louis has lost residents at a larger percentage rate than any city with more than 100,000 people. A surprising ignorance from someone that has studied St. Louis history for 35 years. For as long as you have studied St. Louis it has either led or ran a close second in population loss.

I will ignore your whining that it is the fault of investors that have “ransacked” St. Louis when Democrats have controlled the city the whole time, (a point in my last post that you excused yet cannot find it in your heart to excuse Republican leadership for their results). Truth is that absent capital investment in that city it would have declined even more rapidly. Currently, it is private investment in “loft” housing and the new baseball stadium that has held off further stagnation. You must accept that when government fails the people it is THAT government’s responsibility not some vague conspiratorial cabal of monied elites. Jeez, can we have SOME original thought? I tire of the same worn out victimization arguments.

Your socialist/communist bent is clouding objective analysis, (not to mention that they have proven to be sociopolitical failures). Even the most ardent communist/liberal/socialist recognizes this fact and are more fashionably calling themselves “progressives”. Not that the ideology is much different but at least they do acknowledge the need for free enterprise capital to allow institutions to exist.

Finally, I don’t want to get into the St. Louis school system too. It’s long record of substandard testing also tops the charts and the reasons are many not the least of which is the policies of the NEA. I responded to your post only to expose your Ashcroft bias and your double standard of excusing democrat runned government (election board) as you insist on holding republican government responsible for everything you don’t like. Thank-you.



andy mahan - 9/19/2006

1) Clinton did more to fight terrorism and to address it as a national issue than any other president in American history.
Not more than GWB.
3) Both Colin Powell and Madaline Albright testified under oath that any invasion of Afghanistan (which is what it would have taken to get Bin Laden) before the attacks of 9/11 would have been politically and tactically “impossible.” Neither the American people, nor the Republican Congress, nor the world, would have allowed it.
It would not have taken an invasion of Afghanistan to kill UBL. In fact, he was not in Afghanistan for much of the 1990's.
Let's be accurate. Clinton was afraid to take any affirmative steps against terrorism because it might lower his popularity polling. He refused to respond to the '93 bombing of the twin towers and on at least 2 separate occasions refused to take UBL into custody when the opportunities presented themselves. This was long after UBL was identified as the number 1 criminal in the world. Finally, it was under Clinton's watch that the expansion of Alquada took place, culminating in the 2nd attack on the twin towers. It's organization and financing grew exponentally during that time. After Somalia Clinton became gunshy to effect a true assault on global terrorism. Thank God for the moral strength and conviction of our President GWB.


andy mahan - 9/19/2006

I find nothing moral in many of Bush’s actions of policies, nor am I grateful to the Almighty for Bush’s actions. What you see as conviction, I see as sheer stubbornness in the face of contradictory evidence.

Undoubtedly an accurate statement. I am grateful to have this president at this time. He is the best we could have at this time. I suspect that most recognize this and he will be returned to office for his leadership.
It even appears that Russia, France and Germany are quietly recognizing and adopting the Bush doctrine of preemption and the usefulness of frogiving Iraqi debt.
The detractors don't want to openly admit it but history will show that Bush was right...and much sooner than I thought.


Stephen Thomas - 10/29/2004

You've got to be kidding.


Thomas W Hagedorn - 9/12/2004

We are so far apart politically that we almost meet at opposite ends of the political continuum. I have found this to be the case that the far left (if that is not you, you may decline my label) and the far right (I will self-label myself, with the descripton that I have libertarian beliefs but few real ways to express that at election time) often meet on various issues.

Your description of St. Louis would probably fit Cincinnati (my town) fairly well. I would suspect Milwaukee and a few other midwestern cities would have similar social dynamics. I am a confirmed, card-carrying Capitalist, but I detest these crony Capitalists who use their large corporations in arrogant and often unhelpful ways (often, they do MEAN well).


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/12/2004

1) “Of course, Bush did challenge Americans. He told us that the country was beginning a war on terrorism. He challenged us to remain steadfast and determined. He challenged us to remain united and to put aside petty partisanship. Which the Democrats were, unfortunately, unable to do.”
This line of debate is pointless. I believe it was Bush and the Republicans partisan agenda that turned Democrats off, I am sure that you put the blame on the Democrats for not… well, endorsing a Republican partisan agenda. I think it is fair to say we both could probably provide a great deal of evidence supporting our own positions.

2) “Bush dramatically changed the way that we fight terrorism. Instead of an impenetrable barrier between law enforcement and intelligence gathering, backed up by an iron-clad set of Attorney General guidelines, he made the law enforcement and the intelligence agencies partners. He created a new department, Department of Homeland Security, and is working towards a new Cabinet level intelligence Czar.”
Indeed, all of this all happened, but it was the Democrats who made it happen. If you recall, Bush opposed the creation of a new department for quite a while after the attacks of 9/11. Observe what White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said on Oct. 24, 2001 -- six weeks after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon::
Fleischer (Oct 24, 2001):[T]he president has suggested to members of Congress that…there does not need to be a Cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security is because there is such overlap among the various agencies, because every agency of the government has security concerns.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/10/20011024-7.html#HSO-legis2

Bush didn't change course until several months later. On June 6, 2002 he said during a national address:
Bush (June 6, 2002): So tonight, I ask the Congress to join me in creating a single, permanent department with an overriding and urgent mission: securing the homeland of America and protecting the American people.
This happened almost 9 months AFTER the 9/11 attacks.
Ditto with the 9/11 Commission recommendations, which he now supports. Remember that Bush was initially opposed to the creation of the commission itself! It was only until massive public pressure forced him to turn an about face, and even then he refused to participate… again, until public pressure forced a turnaround.

3) “engage the world as full partners again”. In Afghanistan, we are working with a broad coalition of partners. In Iraq, well what can you say? Bush tried to get the UN to go along. But when the French threatened a Security Council veto of any action in Iraq, cooperation became impossible. I remind you, Adam, France threatened a veto of any Security Council resolution involving force, “whatever the situation” in Iraq.

4) “Actually Adam, I think a more careful reading on your part will find that Andy made those remarks.”
Indeed he did. My apologies for the confusion.

5)
a- “Tax cuts are an age-old method of getting the economy going.”
Indeed, but tax cuts to whom? Bush could have given a tax cut to the wealthy, or increased massive spending, or fought a war. Instead, we are doing all three! And what is the “age-old method” for paying for a war? Taxes. Luckily, since there is no accountability in government, the debt with continue to rise, leaving the bill for much later. This is not sound economic policy to me, and I am not alone in thinking this.

b- “Fact is, every one of Bush’s nominees was rated “Qualified” or “Well Qualified”… When it became clear that the Senate would confirm the nominees, the Dems took the unprecedented step of filibustering six of the nominations.
Indeed, the filibuster was an unprecedented tactic, but do not mistake tactics for strategy. Let us look at the math:
Democrats have blocked only seven Bush judicial nominees. Republicans blocked confirmation votes on more than 60 of President Clinton's judicial nominees (including nearly two dozen Circuit Court nominees). All were “qualified.”

Aside from the gross double-standard (60 v. 7 and the Republicans cry foul), the reality is that intelligence or qualifications is not, nor has it been for many years, the issue with judges. Contrary to what politicians say, judges make laws just as surely as legislatures and those have an impact on the entire country. My point was that Bush choose to appoint judges that are the most conservative ever. The Democrats opposed this. To me, the burden of partisanship falls on the Republicans.

“Most conservative ever” is not just an opinion, by the way. It has been empirically demonstrated that on the issue of rights, he pushed through the most conservative judges, the vast majority of them without even so much as a whimper from the Democrats.
http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&;storyID=6197362


William . H. Leckie, Jr. - 9/12/2004

Mahan should also learn a little St. Louis history--one reason I took the tack I did was to smoke out more right wing ignorance.

The City of St. Louis certainly has depopulated; since its boundaries have been fixed since 1872, however, it is geographically if not juridically the inner core of its metropolitan area--most other indurtal cities have experienced the same core decline.

I certainly don't disagree--in fact have railed against it--that political corruption has been a a factor in the City's politics, but actually a lack of political and social cohesion that can be traced back to its incorporation and beyond, deep ethnic, racial and class divisions, and uninsipred public policy are more important and have had greater impact on the town. So has the oportunism of its conservative elites, who've ransacked it, and so has that of its "progressive" boosters. "Progressive" forces to redevelop the city have had both intended and unintended consequences in a city which had experienced by the end of the last century almost 100 years of accelerating capital disinvestment, together with penurious public investment in infrastructure and focus on its west-central corridor and early- to mid-20th century late-developing developing southwestern sector. What I would call "corruption" in St. Louis--heck, what I have called, publicly--corruption in that old town embraced more than electoral shenanigans.

But on the issue of the Board of Elections--if you right-wing ignoramuses would just learn to read, I attribute the problems there to a legacy of indifference, old-style politicking, but most of the short-sighted incompetence that characterizes the city's leadershop classes (and there are several, not just one). Let me shift the focus a bit--take a look at the experience of the city's public schools the past two years. You had a school district in administrative meltdown; a new "progressive" board hired a corporate slash-and-burn consultancy to run it, one result of which is that friends of Bush walked away with fat checks, a black majority that inherited a structure created by the town's old working-class horse trading but without the resources to sustain it--and publci education in the city had always been a stepchild in the 20th century in part because those old working class constituencies had been heavily Catholic and had their own schools. Why do I gesture at this?

Like the elections honchos, those running the schools had complex and intractable problems they could barely agree on the nature of much less solve, deeply embedded in the past, to contend with. A saint couldn't have run things any better. Just handling racial suspicion and antagonism is a bear there. Was there "corruption" in city politics? In the schools? Heck yes. Was it "Democratic" or "Republican" or any other simple-minded category? Sometimes, but even then it's hard to label the players. In a perverse way, St. Louis represents a classic test case of a rent-seeking society half-converted into a classic liberal one (read Dave Beito on its private neighborhoods--look it up). You right wingers ought to love the place. Were evil Dems in a pack with the Devil? Is that all there was to it?

I spent 35 years studying that city, son, and if you wish to debate St. Louis history you better know what you are writing about.

As for Ashscroft, his record in the state as a neo-Confederate, theocratic, reactionary political opportunist and racial bigot was well known; St. Louis voters--especialy its black ones--don't take kindly to his ilke. His authoritarian propensities have had a chance to shine since 2000.

As for Hitler and the Reichstag (to the flint-chipper below): No, Bush ain't no Hitler. His mediocrity and that of his handlers may be his saving grace and ours. But he's sure not been hesitant to make political capital out of 9/11 and paint critics of his regime as allies of demonic threats to the republic; I'd argue that 9/11 gave conservative forces in the US--whose nature we can explore perhaps elsewhere--a chance to consolidate something they've been trying to do since the end of Reconstruction in one guise or another (in St. Louis they were particularly guileless about all that, by the way), which is to say, impose order.


stephen Brody - 9/12/2004

1. “What I provided is some examples..”

Actually, what you provided was one example and several vague generalities.

But let’s take your generalities.

“challenge Americans”. Of course, Bush did challenge Americans. He told us that the country was beginning a war on terrorism. He challenged us to remain steadfast and determined. He challenged us to remain united and to put aside petty partisanship. Which the Democrats were, unfortunately, unable to do.

“ dramatically alter our national organization” Bush dramatically changed the way that we fight terrorism. Instead of an impenetrable barrier between law enforcement and intelligence gathering, backed up by an iron-clad set of Attorney General guidelines, he made the law enforcement and the intelligence agencies partners. He created a new department, Department of Homeland Security, and is working towards a new Cabinet level intelligence Czar.

“engage the world as full partners again”. In Afghanistan, we are working with a broad coalition of partners. In Iraq, well what can you say? Bush tried to get the UN to go along. But when the French threatened a Security Council veto of any action in Iraq, cooperation became impossible. I remind you, Adam, France threatened a veto of any Security Council resolution involving force, “whatever the situation” in Iraq.

2. “The claim you made was the following:
“9-11 didn't advance our administration's agenda, it predominated any agenda, it relegated any other issue to comparable insignificance.”

Actually Adam, I think a more careful reading on your part will find that Andy made those remarks. I’m Steve. As I said, you seem a little confused.

3. “My point was (and remains) that his very public agenda, which included massive tax cuts, controversially conservative judicial nominees, and his not so public goal of invading Iraq, were all pursued with vigilance in the wake of public support that followed the attacks.”

And your point is what?

“massive tax cuts,” Bush inherited a sputtering economy from Clinton. Tax cuts are an age-old method of getting the economy going. Bush did what he had to get the economy going. Should he really have just let it continue to sink? Or do you propose some revolutionary plan to get the economy going again by raising taxes?

“controversially conservative judicial nominees”. Adam, every President has the right to nominate qualified lawyers to judicial positions. Bush’s nominations were vilified by a bitter Democrat party that was having a tantrum over losing first the White House and then the Senate. Fact is, every one of Bush’s nominees was rated “Qualified” or “Well Qualified “ by that bastion of conservativism the American Bar Association. When it became clear that the Senate would confirm the nominees, the Dems took the unprecedented step of filibustering six of the nominations.


stephen Brody - 9/12/2004

1. “What I provided is some examples..”

Actually, what you provided was one example and several vague generalities.

But let’s take your generalities.

“challenge Americans”. Of course, Bush did challenge Americans. He told us that the country was beginning a war on terrorism. He challenged us to remain steadfast and determined. He challenged us to remain united and to put aside petty partisanship. Which the Democrats were, unfortunately, unable to do.

“ dramatically alter our national organization” Bush dramatically changed the way that we fight terrorism. Instead of an impenetrable barrier between law enforcement and intelligence gathering, backed up by an iron-clad set of Attorney General guidelines, he made the law enforcement and the intelligence agencies partners. He created a new department, Department of Homeland Security, and is working towards a new Cabinet level intelligence Czar.

“engage the world as full partners again”. In Afghanistan, we are working with a broad coalition of partners. In Iraq, well what can you say? Bush tried to get the UN to go along. But when the French threatened a Security Council veto of any action in Iraq, cooperation became impossible. I remind you, Adam, France threatened a veto of any Security Council resolution involving force, “whatever the situation” in Iraq.

2. “The claim you made was the following:
“9-11 didn't advance our administration's agenda, it predominated any agenda, it relegated any other issue to comparable insignificance.”

Actually Adam, I think a more careful reading on your part will find that Andy made those remarks. I’m Steve. As I said, you seem a little confused.

3. “My point was (and remains) that his very public agenda, which included massive tax cuts, controversially conservative judicial nominees, and his not so public goal of invading Iraq, were all pursued with vigilance in the wake of public support that followed the attacks.”

And your point is what?

“massive tax cuts,” Bush inherited a sputtering economy from Clinton. Tax cuts are an age-old method of getting the economy going. Bush did what he had to get the economy going. Should he really have just let it continue to sink? Or do you propose some revolutionary plan to get the economy going again by raising taxes?

“controversially conservative judicial nominees”. Adam, every President has the right to nominate qualified lawyers to judicial positions. Bush’s nominations were vilified by a bitter Democrat party that was having a tantrum over losing first the White House and then the Senate. Fact is, every one of Bush’s nominees was rated “Qualified” or “Well Qualified “ by that bastion of conservativism the American Bar Association. When it became clear that the Senate would confirm the nominees, the Dems took the unprecedented step of filibustering six of the nominations.


Thomas W Hagedorn - 9/12/2004

I'm interested in your reference to Hitler and his call for "vigilance against terrorists." Are you really suggesting that Bush's vigilance is phony in the same way as Hitler? Who was responsible for the 4 suicide planes that day and the 3,000 murders of mostly non-combatants?


William . H. Leckie, Jr. - 9/11/2004

Let me reply (why not bait another yahoo?) that I was on the streets of the 9th ward--a poverty-devastated and depopulated inner-city area, though anchored on the southwest by St. Louis University and the Grand Center Arts District--of St. Louis on election day of 2000. I was in charge of door-to-door workers and was also a certified Democratic poll challenger, present--as much as I possibly could be--at every polling place in that ward throughout the day. I travelled to each one at closing time, did so because it was my job.

I can assure you that the situation as described in the media wasn't quite the case, at least in the 9th. In some instances, precinct polling places were vacant at 7 p.m., at others election judges refused to stay (at one, the judges caused a disturbance after receiving the news from an Election Board rep raced to the scene with the opening order in an unmarked police car). In others, even though open briefly, no one showed up to vote.

On the other hand, it was clear to me--and I brought this to the attention of the organizations I represented well before the election--that the St. Louis Board of Elections had failed to maintain voter registration rolls adequately, indeed, their lists were a mess.

I was present when voters were turned away or referred to the Board's downtown headquarters, spoke with both election judges and those discouraged voters, and was also fully apprised of an equally confused and chaotic situation downtown.

To assert that the maladministration of the St. Louis election was a product of chicanery is utter baloney. It was a result of utter incompetence; no one I was familiar with--and I knew or was well-acquainted with all the players in that city--had the smarts to pull a coup off simply because the system was a mess; indeed, in large part the problem grew out of a past in which St. Louis elections were highly questionable from time to time, and, as co-manager of a local race in the early 1970s--a particularly hard-fought one against entrenched, white, old-line union Democratic interests--we purged the rolls by challenging each and every voter in the legislative district in question, and I personally was stunned at how easy it was to upset a a strong incumbent of highly questionable virtue.

No local candidate in St. Louis worth his or her salt is unaware of the the difficulties with the lists prior to 2000. Indeed, I have been in the situation where, when questions of residency were an issue, I have had the unpleasant task of advising a client to withdraw and meeting with his opponent to to offer a full accounting and support.

Furthermore, I am also intimately aware of the nature of turn-out-the-vote drives in the old days, or rather the waning old days, of organized urban ward politics. I can assure you that in most instances, the ward slicks--like GOP electoral technicians these days--fervently looked to dampen turnout to maintain controllable constituencies. That too, at least, could avoid the sunlight quickly and easily shone on the tombstones of voters of yore. There ain't nothin' new under th' sun.

As to the situation in Florida, where I also lived for a decade and know the landscape reasonably well, you don't know what you are writing about anymore than you know anything about St. Louis politics. The voter list in question was compiled because it was supposed to contain possible convicted felons. It turned out Glenda Hood, the dragon lady from Orlando in charge, somehow committed the oversight of excluding Hispanic voters, those more prone in the Sunshine State to vote Republican, but rather listed almost totally black ones, which is to say, of course folks who vote predominately Democratic. The chicanery there was and is totally transparent. By the way, Florida state troopers have been calling on get-out-the-vote organizers in Orlando's black neighborhoods. The idea is that somehow an election violation has been committed, something eschewed by the court officers in charge.

Back to St. Louis: It is however right on target that our motivation for wearing out shoe leather in 2000 was John Ashcroft. We knew him well, and he has not disappointed us as AG.

As for your allusions to earlier election irregularities: The Nyah-nyah, your side does it too ploy is a dog that don't hunt. Are you implying that because Chicago's Daley machine and the patrones in South Texas, like George Parr, did it, it's still okay? That it was okay for the King Ranch to fire vaqueros who voted for Adlai in '56? That the conservative mossbacks down where I grew up, well, their kids and grandkids now call themselves Republicans? We're not on a grade-school playground here, pal.

Finally: "democratic process" is all very well and good. Sure, I don't exactly like GOP control of Congress; but when you have Zell Miller--yeah, a nominal Dem still--and Alan Keyes advocating repeal of the 17th amendment, the company you keep might bear examining. Even worse is the revisionism of the outcome the 2000 Florida farce. The Supreme Court didn't legitimate the Bush White House, by the way, it merely stopped a recount. Get yore facts straight, pal.

Do I think the electoral college should be abolished? Once again, you seem to jump the gun. You deploy a classic debater's mistake as ad hominem, I guess. I think very good arguments can be made either way on that one, although it would seem that the plebiscitarian character of the modern presidential election would make it a no-brainer. I'm not sure.

If you're a good conservative--not a right-winger--you appreciate classical political theory. You cannot, in any case, have it both ways. If you appeal to "democracy" you must heed the warnings of the role of money in US politics, of the moral not procedural context of corruption as classically viewed, and acknowledge the dangers of knee-jerk appeals to democracy, which can be as despotic in a republic as one-man rule or that of aristoi. Don't test me with appeals to "democracy."

One reason is that mass politics, as developed since the late 19th century, have led to some pretty destructive things. If you deny that GOP ascendancy was based on racial reaction--remember the "Southern strategy?"--your less informed than even I think now. Hitler was elected, recall, and, after the Reichstag fire called for vigilance against terrorists. We managed to benefit from folks who left. I'm here, sonny, because I've paid my dues, am old and tired, and if Bush wins in November by whatever means, you can have'im. I'm not just an American but a Texan--more of one than that carpetbagging Bush is--and I'm where I am because, partly, Bush represents everything my American values are opposed to.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/11/2004

1) “Yet, Adam, I note that in your original post, you offer a laundry list of actions that you suggest Bush should have taken: “challenge Americans” “ dramatically alter our national organization”,” push forward visionary new plans for fuel efficiency” or “engage the world as full partners again”. All vague generalities save the “fuel efficiency”. Strange.”

If the idea of challenging this country and the world with a bold new vision and ambitious programs sounds strange to you, I am not really sure what to tell you. What I provided is some examples. I would suggest reading about the home front during WWII for some ideas as to how great leaders unite the country to a common cause. However, if you simply disagree that leaders should unite and challenge their people in times of crises, than there is little more to say on the topic. Thus far, your argument seems to be (and perhaps I am mistaken), NOT that Bush has done any of those things, but that it is odd to expect a leader to do so.

2) “Glad to hear you make that admission. I couldn’t find that sentiment in any of your earlier posts.”

That is because my posts have concentrated on the issue at hand: did Bush use 9/11 to advance his agenda, NOT what has Bush done correctly. I am more than willing to give credit where credit is do, but I cannot give credit where none is deserved.

3. “Actually, Adam you seem confused. I’ve never made that claim.”

The claim you made was the following:
“9-11 didn't advance our administration's agenda, it predominated any agenda, it relegated any other issue to comparable insignificance.”

And then I said the following:
“You claim that after 9/11, all of the pre-9/11 issues were relegated to insignificance. I disagree.”

Nope. No confusion here, I believe.

4) “I do believe however that you have failed to establish in any convincing way, that Bush had some secret legislative agenda that he used 9/11 to advance.”

I have not tried to establish such a conspiracy theory because I have never subscribed to one. My point was (and remains) that his very public agenda, which included massive tax cuts, controversially conservative judicial nominees, and his not so public goal of invading Iraq, were all pursued with vigilance in the wake of public support that followed the attacks. In the meantime, strengthening international cooperation necessary to truly fight a global war on terrorists, building a stable and democratic Afghanistan, and rigorously pursuing UBL have all been relegated to the back burner.


stephen Brody - 9/11/2004

1 .“..as you believe that my plan for responding to 9/11 would have been to pass some energy law. Of course, that would be ridiculous.”

At last, agreement. Yet, Adam, I note that in your original post, you offer a laundry list of actions that you suggest Bush should have taken: “challenge Americans” “ dramatically alter our national organization”,” push forward visionary new plans for fuel efficiency” or “engage the world as full partners again”. All vague generalities save the “fuel efficiency”. Strange.

2. “I thought Bush’s handling of the attacks were wonderful”

Glad to hear you make that admission. I couldn’t find that sentiment in any of your earlier posts.

3. “You claim that after 9/11, all of the pre-9/11 issues were relegated to insignificance. I disagree. They were brought to the forefront of his legislative programs, which he could now pass with extraordinary public and international support.

Actually, Adam you seem confused. I’ve never made that claim. I do believe however that you have failed to establish in any convincing way, that Bush had some secret legislative agenda that he used 9/11 to advance.


Thomas W Hagedorn - 9/11/2004

Mr. Leckie, you say that you have stopped engaging "yahoos" but you posted your rant on this site, where "yahoos" debate leftists on a regular basis. You refer to your opponents in governemnt as "authoritarian" and worry about another "stolen election", as if we do not have a democratic process here in the U.S.

Isn't it possible that the Republicans control the Senate, House and White House because the "yahoos" have won most of the election season arguments since Carter's presidency? The "fools" seem to have gotten the better of liberals/progressives, to the extent that the term liberal has now been morphed by some into progressive.

And why does the electoral college system seem like such a surprise to liberals? If they don't like the result from 2000, they need to try to ammend the constitution to eliminate the electoral college. The election would not have been as close as it was if the Democrats had not pulled another of their last-minute dirty tricks (the suspiciously-timed revelation of Bush's DUI - just HAPPENING to surface the Friday before the election). Bush's election was legitimatized by the US Supreme Court. It is over, he won and if people don't like him, they can vote him out in November.

If you want to talk about voter fraud, let's talk about the 40,000!! voters who are currently registered in both NYC and Florida (this was just reported in the US media in the last week or two). 9/10 of them are Democrats. Let's also talk about the polls being kept open in St. Louis in 2000, leading to John Ashcroft's defeat. (By the way, isn't he doing a great job as Atty. Gen.?)

If you want to go back in time, we could discuss how Nixon had the presidency stolen by the Democrats in 1960 in Cook County, Ill and the counties along the Rio Grande in Texas. Move those electoral votes from the Kennedy column to the Nixon column and see what results you get. Nixon was paranoid in 1972, but his paranoia had a start in his recent past.

I will say that if I ever get as unhappy with my country as you obviously are, I would probably be happy somewhere else as well(I'm serious about that).


William . H. Leckie, Jr. - 9/11/2004

I think the quality of arguments from the right-wingers has been demonstrated sufficiently by use of the terms "frogs, krauts and russos."

An American living in Germany is daily reminded of the consequences of that kind of idiocy. Bush might very likely be in the White House next January. The consequences of reactionary triumphalism if that happens will, I think, be outrageous.

1.) Bush has done nothing to contain or eliminate "terrorism" unless you want to count a failed narco-state in Central Asia and chaos in Iraq. The tempo of terorist attacks has increased.

2.) The "war on terror" has been used to achieve both short- and long-term domestic goals of the first successful, authentically authoritarian movement in US history.

3.) Far from successfully projecting an American imperial power, and by the way the imperial project was touted loudly by conservative spokesmen before the Iraqi misadventure, Bush has managed to create a financially and militarily weakened superstate.

4.) The greatest threats to world peace in the 21st century are not "terrorism" but Bush and his handlers, and the legacy of a mendacious, ideologically-blinded, triumphalist right will cause global problems already difficult to handle to become much worse and transform the US into a hypertrophied banana republic.

5.) Unfortunately, if Kerry manages to keep the GOP from stealing the upcoming election, the reaction from the right'll make what it did to Clinton look like a fraternity prank, and he'll be unable to govern.

I've stopped engaging the yahoos. As my grand-pappy, a real Texan not like that phony in Crawford, used to say, "Never argue with a fool, 'cause after awhile, nobody'll be able to tell the difference." They are also, those yahoos, bullies and cowards; I grow weary of that five-deferment Dick, I really do.

I'll stay here, where life's a whole lot more civilized.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/10/2004

Mr. Brody,
With all respect, you have indeed misunderstood my posts rather extremely, as you believe that my plan for responding to 9/11 would have been to pass some energy law. Of course, that would be ridiculous. As I made clear (I thought) in my past post, fuel efficiency was offered up as an example, not the only (quite the opposite, as I said), not the best, and not the most direct reaction to the attacks.

Of course we were to respond to the 9/11 attacks. I thought Bush’s handling of the attacks were wonderful, and I applauded them at the time. However, this was never in question (although his long term plans in Afghanistan were terrible, in my opinion).

At issue is the same thing that was at issue in my original post. You claim that after 9/11, all of the pre-9/11 issues were relegated to insignificance. I disagree. They were brought to the forefront of his legislative programs, which he could now pass with extraordinary public and international support.


stephen Brody - 9/10/2004

“…I contrasted this with a counter-factual of what could have been, such as ambitious new programs,” including (and here is where you got confused) visionary new plans for fuel efficiency.”

Adam, I’m not confused, at all. Bush instituted ”an ambitious new program”. The only “ambitious new program” likely to produce results: he went after Al-Qaeda where they lived.

You, on the other hand, rue that Bush didn’t use 9/11 to, and I quote you now, Adam, “push forward visionary new plans for fuel efficiency.” You seem to be the one confused about the implications of your post, Adam.

You seem to be laboring under a delusion that increasing fuel efficiency standards was somehow a credible response to the 9/11 attacks. I don’t deny a national security component to this nation’s fossil fuel consumption, but using less oil is unlikely to influence Al Qaeda’s future terror plans.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/10/2004

1) “Germany, Russia say agree anti-terrorism stance.”

The article you provided demonstrated that Germany and Russia agreed on the exact opposite of the Bush doctrine. Observe:

“Russian and German leaders said they agreed on Thursday on the importance of human rights and the central role of the United Nations in fighting terrorism.”

The Bush administration has made a major point of his strategy that the UN should have little to no role in fighting terror (unless, of course, they fall into line).

2) “Russia Threatens to Strike Terror Bases”

Again, I see no correlation. Russia was actually attacked, and thus their strike would be no more pre-emptive than our strike on Afghanistan. Furthermore, the conflict between Russia and Chechnya goes back almost a century. Although terrorist tactics are unacceptable, the Chechnya cause is, in my opinion, just and the only solution will be for Russia to grant them independence.

Of course, the terrorists have severely damaged the credibility for their cause, and I am sure Russia will deal with that, but to suggest that this is somehow a “new” strategy that is in any way related to Bush’s doctrine of pre-emption is, in my opinion, incorrect.

3) “The Beslan terror massacre and the kidnapping of French journalists have quietly caused these governments to recognize that negotiation, appeasement, and avoidance are not viable strategies against terrorism. Only death to terrorists will be a lasting solution.”

You will get no disagreement from me. However, again, I do not see this as Bush’s policy, as all nations agreed on this strategy after 9/11. It was Bush’s policy towards Iraq that caused the divisions.
http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/01/02/ret.france.peacekeepers/

4) “As for forgiving debt. The frogs, krauts and russos met in August to coordinate another round of debt forgiveness.”

You seem to believe that forgiving debt is somehow part of Bush’s grand strategy. I find them unrelated in any way. The decision to oppose a war and the decision to forgive debt to the country whose invasion you opposed are two separate decisions, and support for one in no way effects support for the other.

The evidence clearly indicates that many nations in the world do not agree with, or approve of President Bush. You may find that irrelevant to his actual performance in office, but I reiterate my earlier comment I see no evidence or indication that either France, Germany, or Russia have suddenly embraced Bush’s doctrine of invading some random country.

I must also note that your derogatory language in referring to these countries leaves little surprise as to what so many countries fear today: a reckless and arrogant United States of the 21st century replacing the humble benevolence that we showed in the 20th century.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/9/2004

You may very well be correct on that part, but for right now, it is Bush's critics that seem to have history on their side.

The rationale for the conflict in Iraq has been rather persuasively refuted, with the optimistic predictions for that nations’ future proving thus far inaccurate.

Afghanistan, that now-forgotten conflict, is unstable and not in control of much of the country, and the rest of the world has suffered devastating terrorist attacks since Bush’s war in Iraq with no end in sight.

I see no evidence or indication that either France, Germany, or Russia have suddenly embraced Bush’s doctrine of invading some random country, and a new poll reveals that much of the world feels more negatively about the United States directly because Bush is the president.

You are correct, detractors of Bush do not want to admit that he was right, but lucky for them, it does not appear that they will have any reason to make such an admission anytime soon.

As for most recognizing Bush’s usefulness, you may be right, we shall have to wait until November to see. However, it is worth remembering that over the past 25 years, the American people voted for a Republican three times and a Democrat three times (including Gore since he won the popular vote, to be fair), so the wisdom of the American people can be both fickle, and in my humble opinion, incorrect.


stephen Brody - 9/9/2004

“I would argue that, in retrospect, Dean’s position on national defense has been proven correct.”

Who knows what Dean’s position on national defense is? It was incoherent. No troops to Iraq, which at least had the appearance of a US national security concern, but US intervention in Liberia, which didn’t have even the pretense of a US national interest?

Against action in Iraq because the UN didn’t support such action. Supported action in Afghanistan, even though the UN passed no resolution supporting such action.

In short, Dean’s national defense policy was a muddle.

As for the rest of your post, it is just another mindless argument that if we don’t right every wrong, we shouldn’t right any wrong. Even Dean’s policy, as muddled as it was, makes more sense than that.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/9/2004

1) “Not more than GWB.”

A fair point. Perhaps I should have specified more than any other president before 9/11.

3) “It would not have taken an invasion of Afghanistan to kill UBL. In fact, he was not in Afghanistan for much of the 1990's.”

This is very true, but he was there since 1996. As for the supposed offer from Sudan, it is one word against another. Clinton denies that he ever had such an offer, saying:

“To the best of my knowledge it is not true that we were ever offered him by the Sudanese even though they later claimed it. I think it's total bull. Mr. Absurabi, the head of the Sudanese government was a buddy of bin Laden's. They were business partners together. There was no way in the wide world this guy who was in business with bin Laden in Sudan was going to give him up to us.”
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/06/21/eveningnews/main625205.shtml

A quick search for any evidence confirming this supposed handover reveals that the story lives only in right-wing publications, with little or no reference in credible sources (in fairness, my search was brief and perhaps there is more than I found). It is also worth noting what the 9/11 report on the history of bin Laden says on this subject:

“Sudan's minister of defense, Fatih Erwa, has claimed that Sudan offered to hand Bin Ladin over to the United States. The Commission has found no credible evidence that this was so.”

http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch4.htm

4) “Finally, it was under Clinton's watch that the expansion of Alquada took place, culminating in the 2nd attack on the twin towers. It's organization and financing grew exponentally during that time.”

This is also correct, however to be fair, much of the evidence for the attack came during the Bush presidency. Let me be clear, I do not hold Bush accountable in any way shape, or form for the attacks. However, since so many Republicans DO hold Clinton accountable, it is worth remembering the chronology of evidence that emerged indicating an attack:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/knew/etc/cron2.html

5) “After Somalia Clinton became gunshy to effect a true assault on global terrorism.”

I would agree with that statement.

6) “Thank God for the moral strength and conviction of our President GWB.”

I find nothing moral in many of Bush’s actions of policies, nor am I grateful to the Almighty for Bush’s actions. What you see as conviction, I see as sheer stubbornness in the face of contradictory evidence.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/9/2004

Mr. Brody,
It is clear that you either have not read my post or have grossly misinterpreted it. You believe that I said the response to 9/11 should have been to “raise the automotive CAFÉ standards.” How you could make such an erroneous judgment is irrelevant to me.

Allow me to be clearer: The point I was making was that the attack of 9/11 did not relegate other issues to insignificance, but instead allowed Bush to push his pre-9/11 programs through Congress and get support for them from the American people for them. I contrasted this with a counter-factual of what could have been, such as ambitious new programs, including (and here is where you got confused) visionary new plans for fuel efficiency.

I would add that if you believe American fuel consumption is unrelated to our national security, then I would sooner adopt Dean’s philosophy rather than one in which intolerance towards other opinions and petty insults dominate ones thinking.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/9/2004

I am aware of how popular it is among some Republicans to discredit the Clinton administration’s response from terror, but it is rather unjustified, in light of the circumstances and the evidence.

I would recommend the following site to anyone who questions Clinton’s commitment to fighting terrorism:
http://www.angelfire.com/hi5/pearly/htmls/bill-terrorism.html

I would also urge that any Republican who “blames” Clinton for ignoring terrorism remember the following things:
1) Clinton did more to fight terrorism and to address it as a national issue than any other president in American history.
2) It was not known definitively that Bin Laden was behind the bombing of the Cole until after the 2000 election, making it impossible to mount any kind of serious response without risking an entire change in administrations during the event
3) Both Colin Powell and Madaline Albright testified under oath that any invasion of Afghanistan (which is what it would have taken to get Bin Laden) before the attacks of 9/11 would have been politically and tactically “impossible.” Neither the American people, nor the Republican Congress, nor the world, would have allowed it.
4) During those 8 years, not one Republican made an issue of terrorism, but instead questioned Clinton’s motives when he actually took military action


stephen Brody - 9/8/2004

“…or to push forward visionary new plans for fuel efficiency”

Adam, if your idea for a credible response to 9/11 is to raise the automotive CAFÉ standards, then Howard Dean is obviously not the only one who isn’t serious about national security.


stephen Brody - 9/8/2004

This is utter nonsense, Arnold. Maybe you haven’t been keeping up with recent events, but thousands of Americans have been murdered in the last decade.

The Country was run by people who thought as you do for 8 years. What we got from this inattention to national security was a passel of terrorist attacks and a lot of dead Americans.

The naivety and stupidity of people who believe that a President need not be serious about national security is what is really truly amazing.




Pamela M. Cordova - 9/8/2004

I just wanted to know if there are any believers out there that figured out what was wrong with the Bush campaign ad that listed Freedom, Faith, and Family.


Arnold Shcherban - 9/8/2004

As Cermelo once remarked: "One can never overestimate the
ignorance of their auditorium."
The naivety and stupidity of the majority of Americans
as it comes to the issue of national security and defense
is truly overwhelming.
This country spends more on defense and national security
than all other countries in the world combined (many of them facing immeasurably more serious, I would say, dire consequences in case of failure), it is protected by
all its existing enormous and unmatched military and ecomomic potential, and still military-industrial complex propaganda managed to scare average American out of their pants. They really can put anyone in "shock and awe" state!
To even entertain a doubt that Dean or any other
candidate, as long as he's a human, can somehow make
this country's defense "inadequate" is a absurd, by definition.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/8/2004

I would argue that, in retrospect, Dean’s position on national defense has been proven correct. Of course it is a good thing that Saddam is out of power. It would be a good thing if Libya, Syria, and Sudan were rid of their dictators. It would be a good thing if everyone in the world had food, and homes, and healthcare, and if war could be forever abolished. Would not those things be good and desirable? At issue is whether it would be a good think if the United States took care of all that. That is the question liberals aks in response to the rather simplistic idea of whether or not it is good that Saddam Hussein is out of power.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/8/2004

“9-11 didn't advance our administration's agenda, it predominated any agenda, it relegated any other issue to comparable insignificance. Except to the deluded liberal sentry's of black helicopters.”

It was my hope that this above statement would have been true, that 9/11, like other monumental events in American history would have prompted a whole new thinking about the world and America’s place in it.

Unfortunately, I do not believe this happened at all. The administration used the event and the subsequent international and national support, not to challenge Americans, not to dramatically alter our national organization or to push forward visionary new plans for fuel efficiency or engage the world as full partners again, but instead to push for more tax cuts, war with Iraq, and John Ashcroft’s long time goal of significantly increasing the power of the Justice Department.


Thomas W Hagedorn - 9/8/2004

The media is a lot more open today than it was 25 years ago, before talk radio, cable news and the internet. I have not watched broadcast news for 15 years, not will I watch network news magazines like 60 minutes. Their liberal bias is quite blatant.

Most of the "new media" I reference above leans heavily to the conservative side because liberals can watch the media that I turned off 15 years ago, along with NPR and PBS.

Concerning my libertarian leanings, I say, a pox on both their houses. I don't need to say anything about Kerry in that regard, do I? He was rated the most liberal Senator. And Bush puts in a Medicare Drug benefit without any regard for how it will be paid for. Greenspan is the only one talking about the most important domestic issue - how will we pay for what has ALREADY been promised - Social Security and Medicare? Let's figure that out FIRST before we add new programs and make more promises.


stephen Brody - 9/8/2004

Dean never pronounced Saddam’s capture “a fine thing”. What he actually said was "We've gotten rid of him, and I suppose that's a good thing,…”

What most Americans choked on was Dean’s use of “I suppose”.

What disaffected most Americans with Dean was a realization that on matters of national defense, Dean was not a serious candidate.

As for the rest of this puerile piece, no Marilyn Young anti-Bush rant is ever complete without her obligatory reference to the Nazis.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/8/2004

I appreciate your intelligent post and did not mean to imply that anyone on this site in particular fell into either category. However, that said, I am far more sympathetic to conservative supporters of Bush than to partisans.

You are correct that part of Bush’s appeal is the poor quality of Kerry as a candidate. Certainly, Leiberman would be preferable for conservatives, but would have alienated many liberals. For myself, I am content with Kerry, despite my concerns of him as a candidate.

You are correct in one respect: “It is a shame that the system puts such a premium on money and the ability to raise it.” I can think of no more lamentable a truism.


Thomas W Hagedorn - 9/7/2004

I am to the right of Bush, will not vote for him this time, as I did not vote for him last time. I voted Libertarian in 2000 and probably will in 2004, although I do want to research the U.S. Constitution Party. Having said that, I am rooting for Bush to defeat Kerry as the lesser of two evils.

I have no argument with your analysis of Bush backers. You should add something to it though. Bush's "popularity" is at least partially due to the weak Democratic candidate. Liberal Democrats from the Northeast have not exactly done well since Kennedy (Muskie, Dukakis). Moderates from the south (Clinton, Carter) have done better. I myself would probably voted for Joe Lieberman. I would have had no qualms that he would defend us against terrorism. Bush is hardly the best the Republicans could put forth, but neither is Kerry. It is a shame that the system puts such a premium on money and the ability to raise it.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 9/7/2004

I must start out my post by noting that thus far, the criticisms about this article have nothing to do with the arguments put forth, but instead consist of rather trivial attacks on the author herself, a rather unfair and useless talking point. In any event…

I agree with much of the article. Furthermore, I think I understand what upsets Bush critics (including myself) more than anything else, and it is the same thing that I suspect upset Clinton critics. It is not that Bush lies on many issues large and small. It is not that his policies have failed to produce the promised results, or that his administration has engaged in legally dubious and morally reprehensible activities. What bothers many Bush critics (I suspect) is that Bush has retained strong support in spite of his rather massive failures in office. This support is from people who do not know about his failures (generally good people of America who do not follow politics much but vote for the person who appears the most like themselves) and those people who do not care (Bush supporters who DO follow politics but support Bush nonetheless).

Those who do not care can be divided into 2 main groups. The first group consists mostly of conservatives who are fully knowledgeable but think that however bad Bush is, John Kerry will be 10 times worse on issues that they care about (in this group lies many true conservatives, such as Pat Buchanan, Alan Keys, or Michael Savage).

The second group consists of Republican partisans. These are the people who are the most sensitive about Bush, will argue strenuously that everything and anything he does is wonderful, that he is one of the greatest presidents of all time, and whatever problems come from his policies are actually caused by liberals and Democrats. In this group likes people like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and others who get very defensive about any criticism of Bush, no matter now legitimate or unequivocal.

Of course, this is not to say that Bush does not do anything correct, or that his policies are all bad and not subject to reasonable disagreement. Nevertheless, I have noticed that Bush supporters seem to fall far more into the Republican partisan group than the conservative group. The vitriol and sheer hatred of all those who do not support this man, combined with the near deification of him is concerning to me.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5853704/site/newsweek/


Thomas W Hagedorn - 9/7/2004

My previous comment in this string relates to Prof. Young's labeling Pres. Bush's election in 2000 as "fraudulent".


mark safranski - 9/7/2004

" The genius of Michael Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 9/11 is that it restores September 11, 2001 to its proper historical context."

In much the same " historical " film tradition of Sergei Eisenstein and Leni Riefenstahl.

http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/


Thomas W Hagedorn - 9/7/2004

I witnessed Dr. Youngs's breathless performance at the OAH
annual meeting last year in Memphis via the internet. The panel contained not one proponent of the administration's position on Iraq. (Stalin would have been so proud) Her presentation and at least one other were quite vitriolic. She even made a comment that I considered offensive to Christians, but that never seems to bother the left.

I suggest that Prof. Young shelve her book on Korea. She should write first on the Electoral College. Once she learns how it works, she might want to consider researching the Supreme Court. A fascinating body and she may find she agrees with some of its decisions (abortion, affirmative action). Once those are done, I would suggest a work on group psychology. I mean, how did those nasty Republicans manage to get those 4 counties in Florida, all run by Democrats with Boards of Elections controlled by Democrats, to totally screw up an election with poorly designed ballots and punch ballot machines that had not been cleaned out of old chads? Masterful and manipulative, those rascally republicans!

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