Discussion in 'Politics' started by ARogueTrader, Feb 8, 2004.
Did you see Meet the Press with Bush today?
If so, what are your reactions?
One of Bush's quotes from today.
"I want to lead."
He did not say he wants to serve the people.
Do you want some who serves your interest, or leads you to what they think your interests should be?
Eight Questions For
George W. Bush
By David Corn
Tim Russert, the Grand Inquisitor of Sunday morning, is scheduled to have George W. Bush in the witness chair for a full hour on the next Meet the Press. He's a lucky man--Russert, that is. This will be high drama, as the nation's politerati--and millions of others--watch to see if Russert gives Bush the hot-seat treatment.
There is, of course, much to ask Bush about. Did he decided to use military force against Iraq before 9/11? Where are the WMDs he insisted were there? Why is he using phony budget numbers? Did he engage in less-than-proper business dealings before he entered politics? Why he has misled the public while promoting his policies on stem cells research, global warming, and missile defense? Why has he opposed certain homeland security measures and not adequately funded others? It's a long list, and I'm sure Russert is busy preparing his own queries. But in an unsolicited act of kindness, I have crafted eight questions for Russert--several on matters in the news, a few on issues that have received less attention. And, Tim, since you always like to display your source material when you ask the tough questions, feel free to call me, and I'll send you the citations or the clips. Unlike many of Bush's WMD assertions, these questions are based on real evidence.
* In October 2002, during a speech in Cincinnati, you said that Saddam Hussein had a "massive stockpile" of biological weapons. But the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq did not report there was any "massive stockpile" of bioweapons in Iraq. And this past Thursday, CIA director, George Tenet said, "We said we had no specific information on the types or quantities of [biological] weapons, agent, or stockpiles at Baghdad's disposal." So if the CIA did not say there was a "massive stockpile" of biological weapons in Iraq, what was your basis for asserting a stockpile existed? Did you know something the CIA did not? Did you overstate the intelligence?
* In December 2002, you said, "We do not know whether or not [Hussein] has a nuclear weapon"--a remark suggesting that Hussein might have one. But the National Intelligence Estimate said that he did not have a nuclear weapon and that it would take Iraq five to seven years to produce a nuclear weapon--and then only if its nuclear weapons program was "left unchecked." This past week, Tenet said, "We said Saddam Hussein did not have a nuclear weapon." Was it not misleading to tell the public that "we don't know" whether Iraq had a nuclear weapon, when, in fact, we did know?
* Before the war, you said Hussein was "dealing" with al Qaeda. On May 1, you called Hussein an "ally" of Al Qaeda. At a press conference in July 2003, you were asked to provide evidence to back up your claims that Hussein had been working with al Qaeda. You replied,
"Yes, I think, first of all, remember I just said we've been there for 90 days since the cessation of major military operations. Now, I know in our world where news comes and goes and there's this kind of instant--instant news and you must have done this, you must do that yesterday, that there's a level of frustration by some in the media. I'm not suggesting you're frustrated. You don't look frustrated to me at all. But it's going to take time for us to gather the evidence and analyze the mounds of evidence, literally, the miles of documents that we have uncovered. "
That is, you said that investigators were still looking for evidence. But the question was, what evidence did you have at the time that you made those prewar claims that al Qaeda and Hussein were in cahoots? You did not answer that question then. Can you tell us what evidence you had for saying that Hussein was an "ally" of al Qaeda?
* In July 2001, US intelligence produced a warning that read, "Based on a review of all-source reporting over the last five months, we believe that UBL [Usama bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning."
This was less than two months before the horrific 9/11 attacks. According to the final report of the joint inquiry on 9/11 conducted by the House and Senate intelligence committees, this warning was prepared for "senior government officials." The committees did not publicly say who received the report, and they said this was because the CIA would not permit them to tell the public which "senior government officials" were warned. The committees were angry about being gagged this way. But committee sources did tell reporters that this report was sent to the White House.
Why wouldn't your administration tell the public who saw this warning? Did you or any of your national security team see this report? If so, what did you or they do in response? If this report did not make it to you or your senior aides, wouldn't you consider that a terrible mistake and want to find out who was responsible for that?
* In your Air National Guard records, your annual performance review, dated May 2, 1973, says that you did not report for duty to your home base for an entire year. When this was disclosed during the 2000 campaign, your campaign said that you had spent part of that time doing service at an Air National Guard base in Alabama. But the commander of that base said--and recently confirmed--that you never showed up there. In 2000, your campaign promised to produce the names of people whom you served with in Alabama and who could vouch for your presence at the base there. It never did so. Why not? Can you now give us names of men or women with whom you served in Alabama?
* During the year in question, you lost your flight status and were grounded for failing to submit to an annual physical examination. In 2000, your campaign aides said that was because you were in Alabama at the time and your personal doctor was in Houston. But the Boston Globe noted, "Flight physicals can be administered only by certified Air Force flight surgeons." Not personal physicians. And there were military physicians stationed in Alabama, where you were living for part of that year. Why did you not take a flight physical? Why did your campaign put out an explanation that was wrong?
* By your own account, you returned to Houston after the November election of 1972. Yet the records show you did not report in to your Air National Guard base there for six months--not until after that performance review noted you had been missing for a year. Why not? What were you doing during that time?
* When you ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1978 in Texas, you gave an interview to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper. You were asked about your position on abortion, and this is how that newspaper reported your answer: "Bush said he opposes the pro-life amendment [which would outlaw abortion] and favors leaving up to a woman and her doctor the abortion question." Sixteen years later, when you ran for governor in Texas in 1994, you campaigned as an antiabortion conservative. Few people seem to realize your position on abortion changed 180 degrees. Please tell us, when did you change your view on abortion and why?
- DON'T FORGET ABOUT DAVID CORN'S NEW BOOK, The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception (Crown Publishers)
Copyright Â© 2004 The Nation
From Deserter To
By William D. McTavish
Capitol Hill Blue
As Campaign 2004 continues to heat up, George W. Bush finds himself under scrutiny for what he did or did not do while avoiding military service in Vietnam.
Bush graduated from Yale in 1968 and faced an immediate draft into active military service. But, as the son of a congressman from Texas, he was able to walk into the offices of the Texas Air National Guard two weeks before graduation and bypass a long waiting list.
After jumping over others on the list, Bush also won a spot in pilot's training, even though he scored only 25 percent on the pilot's aptitude test. In May, 1972, he requested a transfer to an Alabama guard unit so, he claimed, he could work on a Senate campaign in that state.
Alabama is where serious questions arise over whether or not Bush fulfilled his obligations to the Guard. According to military records, his request for transfer was never approved. In June, 1972, the Guard's personnel records center notified him by mail that he was "ineligible" for the Air Reserve Squadron he requested and he remained assigned to the reserve unit in Texas.
Bush, however, says he went to Alabama anyway and claims he attended guard meetings there.
No so, says William Turnipseed, the commanding officer of the Alabama reserve unit.
"Hell, I would have remembered a guy from Texas reporting for duty in my unit," Turnipseed says. "I had been in Texas. Did my flight training in Texas. Somebody from Texas would have been something worth remembering."
When the issue was raised in the 2000 campaign, Bush said he "specifically remembered" performing some duties in Texas. The problem is, the commanding officer doesn't remember any such thing and the records back him up.
I requested copies of Bush's military records as well as the records of the guard units in Houston and Alabama from May 1972 through May 1973 and went through them page by page. I could not find any record of Bush attending any guard meetings during that period nor were there records of him performing any service for either unit.
In addition, he did not report for his two-weeks of duty during the summer and the records show his flight status revoked in August 1972 for missing his annual flight exam.
He was, Turnipseed remembers, "nowhere to be found."
Bush finally surfaced again in Houston in May 1973 and attended meetings through July of that year. In September he requested an early discharge to attend Harvard Business School and was granted a discharge the following month.
With such a record of absences, Bush could have been declared AWOL (absent without leave) or - in extreme cases - desertion. Normally, when a guard member or reservist misses a certain number of meetings, they are sent to active duty military.
But George W. Bush was the son of George H.W. Bush, Congressman from Texas, and officers who want to stay in the military do not risk their careers going after recruits with juice, even irresponsible ones.
Dubya got into the guard by using his daddy's influence to move to the front of a long line. Getting into the guard kept him out of harm's way in Vietnam but it did not instill him with any sense of responsibility.
So the man who kissed off his military obligations 32 years ago and let others fight and die in his place later became President of the United States and ordered still others to fight and die.
Which is a disgrace for those young men and women who have died in Iraq.
It's one thing to fight and die for your country. It's something else to do it for a deserter.
- Bill McTavish is the editor of Capitol Hill Blue
Â© Copyright 2004 by Capitol Hill Blue
Terrible Human Cost
Of Bush/Blair's Military Adventure
Academics Identify Grim New Milestone
By David Randall
The Independent - UK
More than 10,000 civilians, many of them women and children, have been killed so far in the Iraqi conflict, The Independent on Sunday has learnt, making the continuing conflict the most deadly war for non-combatants waged by the West since the Vietnam war more than 30 years ago.
The passing of this startling milestone will be recorded today by Iraq Body Count, the most authoritative organisation monitoring the human cost of the war. Since the invasion began in March, this group of leading academics and campaigners has registered all civilian deaths in Iraq attributable to the conflict. They do this in the absence of any counts by US, British, or Baghdad authorities.
Iraq Body Count's co-founder, John Sloboda, said: "This official disinterest must end. We are now calling for an independent international tribunal to be set up to establish the numbers of dead, the circumstances in which they were killed and an appropriate and just level of compensation for the victims' families."
His call was backed by Bob Marshall Andrews, Labour MP for Medway. He said: "These are figures which are airbrushed out of the political equation and yet are central to whether it is possible to create a stable and democratic Iraq."
Iraq Body Count said last night that deaths are only recorded by them when reported by at least two media outlets. Its leading researcher Hamit Dardagan said that its careful, but necessarily incomplete, records are in contrast to "the official indifference" to counting either the Iraqi lives lost or those blighted by injuries.
Neither the US or British military, nor the Coalition Provisional Authority have kept a record of Iraq civilian or military casualties, and Washington and London have both rejected calls for them to compile such totals.
This attitude extends also to the provisional Iraqi government. Until late last year, an official at the Iraqi Health Ministry, a Dr Nagham Mohsen, was compiling casualty figures from hospital records. But, according to a barely noticed Associated Press report, she was, in December, ordered by her immediate superior, director of planning Dr Nazar Shabandar, to stop collating this data. The health minister Dr Khodeir Abbas denied that this order was inspired or encouraged by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority.
Several other groups have attempted to make educated guesses of the war's true total of dead and injured. Among them is Medact, a organisation of British health professionals, most of whom are doctors. In November it published a report on the war's casualties and health problems in post-conflict Iraq. Omitted from this report was a suggestion that the total dead and wounded on both sides could be as high as 150,000-200,000. But in the end it was felt that the lack of scientific basis for this figure would undermine a carefully worded report.
One of the issues confusing any attempt to arrive at an accurate figure for the war's toll is the unknown number of Iraqi military who died. This is in marked contrast to the precise records of coalition service fatalities and injuries, which are kept by service arm, age, circumstance, and, in the case of wounded, by severity. Meanwhile, no one knows Iraqi military deaths to the nearest 20,000. Iraq Body Count concentrates on quantifiable civilian deaths.
On its website, the organisation says: "So far, in the 'war on terror' initiated since 9/11, the USA and its allies have been responsible for over 13,000 civilian deaths, not only the 10,000 in Iraq, but also 3,000-plus civilian deaths in Afghanistan, another death toll that continues to rise long after the world's attention has moved on.
"Elsewhere in the world over the same period, paramilitary forces hostile to the USA have killed 408 civilians in 18 attacks worldwide. Adding the official 9/11 death toll (2,976 on 29 October 2003) brings the total to just under 3,500."
Additional research by Caroline Grant
Munitions that ended up in the hands of children
Ali Abdul-Amir was one of many Iraqi civilians injured or killed by munitions left behind or not cleared by both sides in the conflict. At 2pm on 3 May the eight-year-old put a match to a piece of explosive ordnance outside a school in al-Hay al-Askari, a neighbourhood of Nasiriyah. The explosion left him with severe burns and shrapnel injuries (pictured left). Six days later in Baghdad, Muhammad Keun Jiheli, 16, brought a piece of ordnance home to use for cooking fuel. An explosion killed four members of his family. Muhammad suffered burns over 72 per cent of his body, and Jamil Salem Hamid, also 16, received burns over 54 per cent of his body.
Iraqi forces left behind more than 600,000 tons of munitions. Many had been stored in civilian areas, and were not secured or cleared by coalition forces quickly enough to prevent casualties. The town of al-Hilla was the worst affected by cluster submunitions used in battle that failed to explode on impact as intended. Easily discovered and picked up by children, they were still causing death or injury months after the conflict ended.
Research by Bonnie Docherty, Human Rights Watch
US air raid on Saddam's half-brother kills civilians
Four-month-old Dina Jabir was the only survivor when American bombs fell on the family home. Her father Zaid Ratha Jabir, 36, an engineer, and his family returned to their home in al-Karrada, Baghdad, on the night of 7 April to gather some belongings. They had been staying a mile away with Dina's great-uncle, Sa'dun Hassan Salih, shown here holding the baby. A strike levelled the Jabir home just after 9pm, killing six people. Dina was found the next day in a neighbour's yard. She had broken arms and legs, shrapnel in her skull and internal injuries, but was alive and would recover. The intended target, Saddam's half-brother Watban Ibrahim Hasan, was captured alive a week later.
Family wiped out by British cluster bombs in Basra
British forces caused dozens of civilian casualties when they used ground-launched cluster munitions in and around Basra, including a strike in the neighbourhood of Hay al-Zaitun on 25 March. Jamal Kamil Sabir, 25, lost his right leg to a blast while crossing a bridge with his family. His nephew took shrapnel in his knee and his wife still had shrapnel in her left leg two months later because doctors were afraid to remove it while she was pregnant. Submunitions had also fallen on al-Mishraq al-Jadid on 23 March, killing Iyad Jassim Ibrahim, 26, sleeping in the front room of his home, and 10 relatives with him.
Â© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd
Philosophy, Not Policy
Why Bush isn't good at interviews.
Sunday, February 8, 2004 4:30 p.m. EST
President Bush's interview on "Meet the Press" seems to me so much a big-story-in-the-making that I wanted to weigh in with some thoughts. I am one of those who feel his performance was not impressive.
It was an important interview. The president has been taking a beating for two months now--two months of the nonstop commercial for the Democratic Party that is the Democratic primaries, and then the Kay report. And so people watched when he decided to come forward in a high stakes interview with Tim Russert, the tough interviewer who's an equal-opportunity griller of Democrats. He has heroic concentration and a face like a fist. His interviews are Beltway events.
But certain facts of the interview were favorable to the president. Normally it's mano a mano at Mr. Russert's interview table in the big, cold studio. But this interview was in the Oval Office, on the president's home ground, in front of the big desk. Normally it's live, which would be unnerving for a normal person and is challenging for politicians. Live always raises the stakes. But Mr. Bush's interview was taped. Saturday. Taped is easier. You can actually say, "Can we stop for a second? Something in my eye."
You can find the transcript of the Bush-Russert interview all over the Web. It reads better than it played. But six million people saw it, and many millions more will see pieces of it, and they will not be the pieces in which Mr. Bush looks good.
The president seemed tired, unsure and often bumbling. His answers were repetitive, and when he tried to clarify them he tended to make them worse. He did not seem prepared. He seemed in some way disconnected from the event. When he was thrown the semisoftball question on his National Guard experience--he's been thrown this question for 10 years now--he spoke in a way that seemed detached. "It's politics." Well yes, we know that. Tell us more.
I never expect Mr. Bush, in interviews, to be Tony Blair: eloquent, in the moment, marshaling facts and arguments with seeming ease and reeling them out with conviction and passion. Mr. Bush is less facile with language, as we all know, less able to march out his facts to fight for him.
I don't think Mr. Bush's supporters expect that of him, or are disappointed when he doesn't give it to them. So I'm not sure he disturbed his base. I think he just failed to inspire his base. Which is serious enough--the base was looking for inspiration, and needed it--but not exactly fatal.
Mr. Bush's supporters expect him to do well in speeches, and to inspire them in speeches. And he has in the past. The recent State of the Union was a good speech but not a great one, and because of that some Bush supporters were disappointed. They put the bar high for Mr. Bush in speeches, and he clears the bar. But his supporters don't really expect to be inspired by his interviews.
The Big Russ interview will not be a big political story in terms of Bush supporters suddenly turning away from their man. But it will be a big political story in terms of the punditocracy and of news producers, who in general don't like Mr. Bush anyway. Pundits will characterize this interview, and press their characterization on history. They will compare it to Teddy Kennedy floundering around with Roger Mudd in 1980 in the interview that helped do in his presidential campaign. News producers will pick Mr. Bush's sleepiest moments to repeat, and will feed their anchors questions for tomorrow morning: "Why did Bush do badly, do you think?"
So Mr. Bush will have a few bad days of bad reviews ahead of him.
But I am thinking there are two kinds of minds in politics. There are those who absorb and repeat their arguments and evidence--their talking points--with vigor, engagement and certainty. And there are those who cannot remember their talking points.
Those who cannot remember their talking points can still succeed as leaders if they give good speeches. Speeches are more important in politics than talking points, as a rule, and are better remembered.
Which gets me to Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan had a ready wit and lovely humor, but he didn't as a rule give good interviews when he was president. He couldn't remember his talking points. He was a non-talking-point guy. His people would sit him down and rehearse all the fine points of Mideast policy or Iran-contra and he'd say, "I know that, fine." And then he'd have a news conference and the press would challenge him, or approach a question from an unexpected angle, and he'd forget his talking points. And fumble. And the press would smack him around: "He's losing it, he's old."
Dwight Eisenhower wasn't good at talking points either.
George W. Bush is not good at talking points. You can see when he's pressed on a question. Mr. Russert asks, why don't you remove George Tenet? And Mr. Bush blinks, and I think I know what is happening in his mind. He's thinking: Go through history of intelligence failures. No, start with endorsement of George so I don't forget it and cause a big story. No, point out intelligence didn't work under Clinton. Mention that part of the Kay report that I keep waiting for people to mention.
He knows he has to hit every point smoothly, but self-consciousness keep him from smoothness. In real life, in the office, Mr. Bush is not self-conscious. Nor was Mr. Reagan.
What we are looking at here is not quality of mind--Mr. Bush is as bright as John Kerry, just as Mr. Reagan was as bright as Walter Mondale, who was very good at talking points. They all are and were intelligent. Yet neither Mr. Bush's interviews and press conferences nor Mr. Reagan's suggested anything about what they were like in the office during a crisis: engaged, and tough. It's something else.
John Kerry does good talking points. In interviews he's asked for his views on tax cuts and he has it all there in his head in blocks of language that cohere and build. It gets boring the 14th time you hear it, but he looks capable. Hillary Clinton is great at talking points--she's the best, as her husband was the best in his time.
Democrats have minds that do it through talking points, and Republicans have minds that do speeches. (Mr. Bush has given a dozen memorable speeches already; only one of his Democratic challengers has, and that was "I Have a Scream.") And the reason--perhaps--is that Democratic candidates tend to love the game of politics, and Republican candidates often don't. Democrats, because they admire government and seek to be part of it, are inclined to think the truth of life is in policy. How could they not then be engaged by policy talk, and its talking points?
Republicans think politics is something you have to do and that policy is something you have to have to move things forward in line with a philosophy. They like philosophy. But they are bored by policy and hate having to memorize talking points.
Speeches are the vehicle for philosophy. Interviews are the vehicle of policy. Mr. Kerry does talking points and can't give an interesting speech. Mr. Bush can't do talking points and gives speeches full of thought and assertion.
Philosophy takes time. If you connect your answers in an interview to philosophy, or go to philosophy first, you can look as if you're dodging the question. You can forget the question. You can look a little gaga. But policy doesn't take time. Policy is a machine gun--bip bip bip. Education policy, bip bip bip. Next.
If I worked for President Bush I'd say spend the next nine months giving speeches, and limit interviews. If I worked for Mr. Kerry I'd say give a lot of interviews, be out there all the time, and don't try to wrap your points up in a coherent philosophy, which is something a good speech demands. Anyway, that's how I see it. Am I wrong? By the way, I've never been able to stick to a talking point in a TV interview in my life.
How nice it is to actually have a President that believes in what he is doing. Something this country really needed after the Clinton years.
Some top Clinton administration officials wanted to end the Kosovo war abruptly in the summer of 1999, at almost any cost, because the presidential campaign of then-Vice President Al Gore was about to begin, former NATO commander Gen. Wesley K. Clark says in his official papers.
Thank God we have a President that is actually willing to put his country over his re-election. Many Presidents would have realized that this war on terrorism and invasion of Iraq would be political suicide and wouldn't do it. But Bush said f*ck it, let's do it. Why can't we have more leaders in Washington like this.
Thinking about Noonan's piece, I hear her saying that the Republicans are good at delivering a speechwriter's words, and reading from a teleprompter.
Great skill, eh?
Oh well, Reagan was an actor in bad in interviews. Many actors are bad in interviews, as they have no personality apart from the script.
This post makes absolutely no sense. Wait a minute, sorry, none of your posts do.
1. Saddam Hussein is in custody and no longer in power or killing people or using the food for oil money for his own use.
2. Osama is in a hole either dead or hiding. No longer training hundreds of terrorists or running a country.
3. Abu Nidal is dead. No longer running Salman Pak and training Mohammed Attas and the like.
4. Over 45 other senior Baathists are no longer free to terrorize their people or move money around to terrorist activities.
5. Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, and Isreal are no longer under threat of invasion or missile attack from Iraq.
6. Irans' rulers are having trouble and may fall to a more pro western or secular and safer for their neighbors.
7. Libya has decided to end its' isolation and nuclear program and stop sponsoring terrorists.
8. There is unrest and demand for reforms in Syria against the ruling and pro Saddam Baathists.
9. North Korea is sounding much more conciliatory and seemingly backing down.
10. The economy is slowly improving.
11. I am concerned with the US deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan but I haven't seen a comparison number between Iraqi deaths and US deaths. Why are they killing so many Iraqis.
This must all be bad in the views of the liberals but I respect a leader who will put himself on the line to lead toward a different world. Maybe you need to judge a leader by his enemies rather than his friends. If that is the case then GWB is doing great. Maybe we need to add the lying liberals to the "axis of evil".
Separate names with a comma.