March 22, 2006

Pounding the Message Home

Today in West Virginia President Bush delivered a speech in which he went into greater detail about the thought process behind our efforts In Iraq. After the speech, he took questions from the audience. This was the third Q & A session in as many days that the President has conducted.

For whatever reason, the American public, almost on a daily basis at this point, needs to have it explained to them; what is going on in Iraq, and why we are doing what we are doing. For better or worse, I actually agree with what an audience member pointed out; that this is what Bush needs to do. He has to continue to pound the message home by explaining the nuts and bolts of what is ocurring in Iraq as well as, and perhaps more importantly, explaining his overall big picture philosophy on achieving our objectives in the war on terror and beyond.

Yesterday we had the Bush and Helen Thomas press conference sparring session and today, a rousing speech. The Anti-Bush forces have their tired, incorrect, talking points such as declaring that Iraq had absolutely no connections to Al Qaeda (which Stephen Hayes has proven is categorically untrue) and to counter this constant pessimistic, doom and gloom drumbeat, Bush will have to constantly present his own talking points, of which there are many. If Bush explains his rationale on a daily basis as he has been doing, support for our efforts in Iraq will increase. Lately, he has been doing a good job on this front. As Bush pointed out, the enemy in Iraq cannot defeat us militarily, thier only hope is either to drive Iraq into civil war or wait for American resolve to crumble. For his part, we at least know that it won't be the President's resolve that will crumble. Today Bush presented his arguments in a clear and logical manner, not leaving any room for ambiquiity. The President's straightforward approach to all of this speaks to his 'transparency'. If Americans take the time to listen to what he is saying, then they will learn exactly what Bush's rationale and thought process is. Bush himself spoke of transparency when addressing why India should be allowed to posses nuclear technology and Iran should not. On this also, he made clear and logical argument. He said:

“My attitude is that over 30 years they [India] have proven themselves to be a non-proliferator, that they're a transparent democracy, that it's in our interest for them to develop nuclear power to help their economy grow. On the other hand, Iran should never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. Their Government is not transparent and they're certainly not a democracy. They're sponsors of terrorism and they have violated safeguards imposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

He went on:

"They [Iran] have joined the IAEA, and yet we caught them cheating and they weren't upholding their agreements and they started to try to enrich uranium in order to develop a nuclear weapons program.”

In another interesting moment during the Q & A session following the speech, I felt a chill when an audience member said, “I have two sons serving in the military… and I Thank God that you are our commander in chief!” which encouraged a standing ovation. This particular audience member went on to express a sentiment that has been on the minds of many patriotic Americans: that Bush needs to continue to engage the public in a discussion about our efforts in Iraq, like he has been doing recently. Not so much a progress report, but a daily pounding into the stubborn minds of those who fail to understand what we are doing in Iraq; what it is that we are doing, why we are doing it, and that our efforts there represent a just and necessary cause.


Editor - said...

The fact that the 9/11 commission bowed to political pressure and wrote their report in such a way that people like Stephen Hayes could nitpick it hardly means that it is "categorically untrue" to say that Hussein had no ties to al Qaeda; all it means is that Republicans control the government and get the same irrelevent, inaccurate or misleading intelligence that they used as justification for the invasion jammed into the commission's report -- in many cases by the same people. That's how it works.

Where does Hayes identify ANY level of cooperation or even involvement between Hussein and al Qaeda of the kind that would begin to justify the sort of connections the Bush administration made prior to the invasion of Iraq?

Before you answer, remember that Bush himself has admitted there was no connection, and now denies "categorically" that he ever made one. He just said the words "9/11" "al Qaeda" and "Iraq" in the same sentences over and over again for months. But hey, never actually SAID they were connected.

It was all a trick, dude. They had enemy A but wanted to attack enemy B so they made a rhetorical connection between them. Hayes' entire argument amounts to nothing -- nothing. If there was a real connection we'd be hearing about 24/7.

Jaz said...
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Jaz said...

Yes, Hayes’s research isn’t quite as conclusive as I’d like it to be, but after reviewing his work it is clear to any fair minded individual that, at the very least, the statement “Saddam Hussein had absolutely no relationship or connection to Al Qaeda” is false. Are you such an anti Bush zealot that you will not at least concede that there was a relationship, if not an operational one, between the Saddam government and Al Qaeda? If you simply refuse to acknowledge certain factual evidence then you really are a left leaning kool aid drinker. A stronger argument for you would be to concede that a relationship did exist but then ask, “So What?”

I am left wondering what your argument actually is. Do you deny that any relationship could or did exist? Or are you saying that a relationship may have existed, but it was hardly enough of one to rise to the level of an imminent threat. In order not to undermine your own credibility, you should pick either one or the other stance.

Editor - said...

"Where does Hayes identify ANY level of cooperation or even involvement between Hussein and al Qaeda of the kind that would begin to justify the sort of connections the Bush administration made prior to the invasion of Iraq?"

Jaz said...
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Jaz said...

To the semi-anonymous "":

Thank you for selecting a stance. By restating your second stance you have tacitly acknowledged that there may have been a relationship between the Saddam government and Al Qaeda. This is good news. You have chosen the more reasonable stance.

On the substance: Pre-invasion, the President was told (in the form of intelligence reports on the potential threat that Iraq posed to our security )that, "... if attacked and "if sufficiently desperate" – Saddam might turn to al Qaeda to carry out an attack against the US with chemical or biological weapons. "He might decide that the extreme step of assisting the Islamist terrorist in conducting a CBW attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him," the report stated. The report did assign "low confidence" to this finding, however, it also assigned "high confidence" to the findings that Iraq had active chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, and "moderate confidence" that Iraq could have a nuclear weapon as early as 2007 to 2009." –

Now, although it is clear that The President had ample reason to be concerned about a possible relationship between Al Qaeda and the Saddam government, I don’t seem to recall the president pointing to direct evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda as the primary reason to go to war. The bottom line here is; why take the chance that a relationship might exist? I agree with 'Bush Doctrine' on this which essentially states that after 9-11 we can’t afford to just wait around for threats to materialize, we have to pro-actively nip them in the bud. As more information becomes available it will become apparent that Bush was justified in his concern about a possible relationship. And remember, Bush has been crucified for using the idea of WMD as the primary “selling point” of the war even though he did highlight plenty of other reasons to go to war such as: violating the cease fire of 1991 by shooting at our planes, untold human rights abuses, resistance to weapons inspectors, and the repeated violation of some seventeen United Nations Security Council Resolutions. All of these reasons amount to more than enough of a justification to go to war. Also Iraq was, at the very least, a state sympathetic to terrorism, which in a post 9-11 world is reason enough to invade and shut them down. Bush has never relied on saying that Saddam had a hand in 9-11 or an even a working operational relationship with Al Qaeda as a justification to go to war. That it is coming to light that such a relationship may have existed, only further advances the argument that it was a good idea to remove Saddam Hussein.

How far left fringe are you I wonder. Will you not even concede that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power? In any event, I reject your premise that Bush was pointing to an operational relationship between Saddam and Al Qaeda as the primary reason to go to war. Bush was given intelligence reports suggesting that we shouldn’t take the chance that such a relationship may exist and/or we should simply remove Saddam before such a relationship advanced to the point where any kind of WMD could be passed off to OBL.

Jaz said...

Here are some specifics from what Stephen Hayes has brought to light:

Editor - said...

I drink Jamesons, not Kool-aid. I found your site, read your post, Googled "Steven Hayes", read his arguments and responded.

"...the President was told..."

The guy at the top wants to make a certain decision, so he makes sure that all the information he gets points to that decision. That's how it works, in government and business.

So he makes sure that everyone knows that information A gets in the report and gets highlighted, and information B doesn't. So later he can claim he based his judgement on the information "he was told". And he's off the hook. Twas ever thus.

I don't buy the argument that the security threat to the United States substantively changed on 9/11. The threat of terrorism had existed for years; we knew who wanted to attack us, and indeed, the government knew a great deal about the specific threat that materialized on 9/11.

What changed was that the public became aware of the threat. The threat itself had existed for decades.

Prior to which previous threats had existed. In other words, 9/11 is no excuse for changing policy to reflect a "pre-emptive" strike posture. It was a rhetorical trick used to justify an invasion that he and his staff wanted. The concept of pre-emptively striking an enemy had been proposed many times in the past to deal with many enemies (including the Soviet Union) and had wisely been rejected by all past Presidents.

I'd hate to have to go into court with his argument. The speeches he's been giving for months now are full of head-shaking double-talk because he has to make the argument that "everything changed" on 9/11 without actually saying the threat was new -- because it wasn't. He even tries to downplay Pearl Harbor. It's ridiculous.

He can't literally say, "I didn't know about the pending attacks of 9/11" but wants to make the argument that "everything changed" that day as justification for EVERYTHING: Iraq, The Patriot Act, warrantless wire-tapping -- everything -- so he says things like, "when I was in college we never suspected an attack could happen -- uh, except for Pearl Harbor, which was just a hit and run"...etc.

He's said, "before 9/11 we thought oceans protected us" about 1,100 times in the past months. It's NOT TRUE. We knew damn well oceans didn't protect us. We're a free, open society; a terrorist could buy a machine gun and mow down a parade of Shriners tomorrow, and what will he say? We thought oceans protected us?

His entire argument for everything he's done rests on the fallacy that "we" thought oceans protected us before 9/11, that "everything changed" on 9/11. When in fact even he didn't think that.

The truth is that the security threat to the US did NOT change on 9/11; all that happened was that a preexisting threat succeeded. We were under no greather threat on 9/11 than we were on 9/10, or 8/10, or in 1996. Moreover, the government agencies that are charged with protecting us PICKED UP on the threat -- they were following the terrorists, they knew about the flight training, etc. That they were too inept to put it all together doesn't mean that they need new tools to GATHER information -- it means that management was inept at receiving, processing and responding to it.

And it certainly doesn't mean we had to invade Iraq. That's done NOTHING to make us safer -- far from it.

Yeah, Saddam was a bad guy. He was also the cork in the bottle in Iraq, and a mortal enemy of Islamist extremists. Saddam's biggest struggle was with Iran, who were machinating inside Iraq through the Shiite majority. By removing him the way Bush did we removed an obstacle to the rise of radical Islam in the region without substituting an alternative check, and made Iran more powerful than ever.

This President's father rejected taking Iraq when Cheney and Rumsfeld presented it previously, and he was smart to do so. He understood the ramifications. His son, on the other hand, didn't know enough about the subject to tell them, "no".

Kent said...

Editor - gets some things wrong.

[1.] What 'changed on 9/11' was our realization that we had missed a decade of imaginative planning from our enemies, while we had done very little planning and our imagination (and our ability to combat terror) had been extremely limited.

After nearly a decade of passive inactivity, the United States again has an aggressive foreign policy -- one that kills our enemies BEFORE they kill us and one that protects Americans and America.

[2.] Enrage a Liberal: Ask them why they support rights for all Americans but no rights for Iraqis.

I have yet to hear a substantial argument from the Left as to why civil rights, minority rights and women's rights are great and good for America but bad for Iraq. Short answer: They cannot.

[3.] The myth that former President Bush was 'smart' so he didn't topple Hussein back in the first Gulf War.

The truth is that the Liberation of Kuwait was THE mission and nothing else. The coalition of Arab nations that supported us contributed to that mission on the CONDITION that we would NOT force regime change in Baghdad. END OF STORY.