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We Did It For Democracy!
Or...did we? Regarding Iraq, Brigadier General Mark Scheid told the Daily Press in Hampton Roads, Va., that months before the invasion:

..."Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld forbade military strategists from developing plans for securing a post-war Iraq."

At one point, the newspaper reports, Scheid said Rumsfeld warned " 'he would fire the next person' who talked about the need for a post-war plan."

Clearly, he meant it. Gen. Eric Shinseki, then Army chief of staff, was publicly contradicted and shunted aside for telling Congress that controlling Iraq after Saddam Hussein was deposed would take "hundreds of thousands" of troops, which contradicted the administration's estimates.

Scheid's revelation would be more shocking than it is if there weren't already ample evidence, both through reporting and from the obvious facts on the ground, of the failures of the administration's post-war plan -- if you can call it that.

At the moment, the perilous state of security in Iraq has its roots in post-war failures, most especially the failure to commit enough troops.

It already has been well-reported that the Pentagon and the administration believed the conflict would be over quickly, and that most U.S. troops would return to the United States within months, after the expected end of the war.

Now a high-ranking Army general says the defense secretary purposely prevented meaningful planning for the post-war period.

Why?

"The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," Scheid told the Daily Press.

"We would not do the planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.

"He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."

In other words, don't tell the American people the truth.

Kevin Drum writes:

As much as it beggars the imagination, there's been plenty of evidence all along that Bush never took the idea of rebuilding Iraq seriously. The plan was to remove Saddam from power, claim victory, and get out.

However, this is the clearest evidence I've seen yet. The guy who was actually in charge of logistics has now directly confirmed that Rumsfeld not only didn't intend to rebuild Iraq in any serious way, but threatened to fire anyone who wasted time on the idea. Needless to say, he wouldn't have done this unless it reflected the wishes of the president.

And this also means that all of Bush's talk about democracy was nothing but hot air. If you're serious about planting democracy after a war, you don't plan to simply topple a government and then leave.

So: the lack of postwar planning wasn't merely the result of incompetence. It was deliberate policy. There was never any intention of rebuilding Iraq and there was never any intention of wasting time on democracy promotion. That was merely a post hoc explanation after we failed to find the promised WMD. Either that or BG Scheid is lying.

This is an astounding interview, all the more so for the apparently resigned tone that Scheid brings to it. It belongs on the front page of the New York Times, not the Hampton Roads Daily Press.

Well, at least our Iraq invasion has made us so much safer from terrorists. Well, except all the terrorists it has spawned. Mark Mazzetti writes in The New York Times:

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

Naturally, the White House says different:

“Since the Sept. 11 attacks, America and its allies are safer, but we are not yet safe,” concludes one, a report titled “9/11 Five Years Later: Success and Challenges.” “We have done much to degrade Al Qaeda and its affiliates and to undercut the perceived legitimacy of terrorism.”

That document makes only passing mention of the impact the Iraq war has had on the global jihad movement. “The ongoing fight for freedom in Iraq has been twisted by terrorist propaganda as a rallying cry,” it states.

The report mentions the possibility that Islamic militants who fought in Iraq could return to their home countries, “exacerbating domestic conflicts or fomenting radical ideologies.”

On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee released a more ominous report about the terrorist threat. That assessment, based entirely on unclassified documents, details a growing jihad movement and says, “Al Qaeda leaders wait patiently for the right opportunity to attack.”

...More recently, the Council on Global Terrorism, an independent research group of respected terrorism experts, assigned a grade of “D+” to United States efforts over the past five years to combat Islamic extremism. The council concluded that “there is every sign that radicalization in the Muslim world is spreading rather than shrinking.”

Sweet! Thanks, George. And a big kiss from all the servicemen and women coming home missing limbs. On the bright side, they are coming home alive, unlike a number of their buddies. And this while President Bush is writing off the Iraq war as something that will one day be seen as "just a comma." Bush, smiling slightly, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer:

"Yes, you see — you see it on TV, and that’s the power of an enemy that is willing to kill innocent people. But there’s also an unbelievable will and resiliency by the Iraqi people…. I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is — my point is, there’s a strong will for democracy."

Editor & Publisher's Gregg Mitchell proposes some slightly different punctuation:

...including "?" for the 140,000 Americans still deployed there, "!" for the cries of the gravely injured, and "$" for Haliburton and other contractors.

Or perhaps, as in the comics pages, when an angry character really wants to curse: "!@#%^&*()#*"

But I'd like to offer one more, the simple period, to replace the hopeful comma. Below you will find some 2,700 periods, each standing for an American life lost in Iraq. Space does not permit a full accounting of the Iraqis killed, or any of those damaged for life.


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I walked through the airport in Ft. Worth fighting back tears at seeing all the servicemen and women there. I appreciate that they're fighting on our behalf, and mouthed "thank you" to them. I just wish they weren't stuck fighting in Iraq. And I hope the American people at least begin to understand the cavalier obscenity of the Bush presidency. But, again, look on the bright side: At least we don't have exposed boobies and dirty words on TV.

Posted by aalkon at September 25, 2006 11:46 AM

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Comments

Thank you for linking to the National Intelligence Estimate article. Last week, a political blog I read regularly (Glenn Greenwald, I think) mentioned that after 9/11, wherever he was, Bin Laden was very likely sending brain waves out to George Bush, "...invade Iraq. Go on, George, invade Iraq. You know you want to..." and it worked out better for him than he could have dreamed.
Flypaper my ass.

Posted by: cat brother at September 25, 2006 7:43 AM

It's a long post. Let's play Jeopardy, where responses are posed in the form of a question. Lena can be Alex.

> the perilous state of security
> in Iraq has its roots in
> post-war failures

Not really... It has roots in the murderous car bombers and immigrant mercenaries who've lived without rule of law for generations. It's a face culture built around big, dangerous personalities. If we'd been behaving the way we should have for the past century or so, that mindset wouldn't find so much traction. But let's not pretend they have an alternate approach to civilization over there... They have an absence of civilization.

Q1 - Or are you who the type who thinks the little brown people aren't even interested in safety and freedom?

> most especially the failure
> to commit enough troops.

Q2 - Are you seriously arguing that more troops should have been sent? It's OK with me if you are, but it will be important to have you on the record about this.

Weeks ago you complained that Bush had claimed an aversion to nation-building during the 2000 race. Apparently he still has it. Quoting the piece:

> "The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," Scheid told the Daily Press.

Q3 - Would any other approach have seemed acceptable to the antiwar left in the runnup to the war?

> Bush never took the idea
> of rebuilding Iraq
> seriously...

Q4 - What do you mean by rebuilding? This is not wordplay. It's the refusal to be specific that makes the antiwar folks so annoying. Were we supposed to go into every Iraqi home and make sure their family structures were sufficiently loving to women and patient with children? New countertops in every kitchen? Remember, Iraq is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, at least on paper.

> If you're serious about planting
> democracy after a war, you don't
> plan to simply topple a government
> and then leave.

Q5 - So how do you plant a democracy? Drum speaks as though he knows.

The Big Question, the one the antiwar types never answer: What did you want for Iraq?

How far back to do you want to roll back the clock? Should the marshes be drained again, just like Saddam wanted? Should we have left the Kurds in the north to be slaughtered? Do you want to give Qaddafi his weapons program back? Should we fire up the Oil For Food program again and pretend we don't know about the corruption? Should Rummy shake Saddam's hand again the way he did in 1984? After all, Iran's been getting on our nerves again....

What do you want?

Posted by: Crid at September 25, 2006 10:21 AM

Aw shit. Sorry Amy. Edit at will

Posted by: Crid at September 25, 2006 10:22 AM

"The Big Question, the one the antiwar types never answer: What did you want for Iraq?"


An exit strategy.


Would that have been too much to ask from our Secretary of Defense?

Posted by: Melissa at September 25, 2006 10:42 AM

Melissa, thanks for reading the messy comments (seriously).

> An exit strategy.
> Would that have been too
> much to ask...

Isn't that the point? The administration gambled, perhaps stupidly, that it was unwise to try to regulate every aspect of Iraqi life after the invasion. Being able to pull out swiftly *was* their exit strategy

Posted by: Crid at September 25, 2006 11:30 AM

Isn't that the point? The administration gambled, perhaps stupidly, that it was unwise to try to regulate every aspect of Iraqi life after the invasion. Being able to pull out swiftly *was* their exit strategy."
No, the point is "no exit strategy, no plans to instil self-regulation, no idea on how to do anything after Saddam was ousted" is not a strategy. This is like the little kid who falls over on his bike, and jumps yelling, "I meant to do that!"
No-strategy is not Zen, or minimalist, or a daring leap of faith, it was stupid, and everyone who had experience in government-building would have told the president so, except they were passed over in favor of yes-men and Republican prodiy that passed the Bush Loyalty Test.
I will be happy to say, yes, we needed more troops. If we didn't have them, we shouldn't have gone in, period. There is now more torture, more killings, and less stability. Iran is no longer checked by Iraq, and Oil for Food could not match the corruption that's flourished under the auspices of 'rebuilding', corruption WE are all paying for. The country and this conflict has become a major recruiting and training ground for terrorists, so no, things wouldn't have been worse without an invasion.
I read a fairly broad spectrum of political writers, and I don't find The Antiwar Left to speak with one voice. I can say with certainty, many more on both the left and right would have been antiwar, if presented with the same intelligence info the president got and ignored, and if told we'd send in far fewer troops than the generals were recommending, and if told, "We....basically have no exit strategy. If they don't welcome us as liberators and garland us with flowers, we have no idea what we'll do. Except we'll stay there, and paint anyone who says otherwise as a traitor. "

Posted by: Cat brother at September 25, 2006 12:34 PM

> everyone who had experience
> in government-building would
> have told the president

Who would that be? Name names. And be sure and list your own credentials in this matter... Didja ever build a government?

> There is now more torture,
> more killings, and less
> stability.

No, maybe, and yes. Saddam ran the country with torture. Our instances of torturing have been by runaway hillbilly jailers, not policy. (If you want to refute this, please have a list of citations and supporting evidence.)

I suspect the death meter in Iraq is close to where it was in the last ten years of the Hussein dictatorship. Only now it's not government types who are killing citizens, it's mercenaries and terrorists. And of course, American soldiers are dying too. Did you prefer the days when Saddam's mass graves were open for business?

"Stability in the Middle East" was what brought us to 9/11. I say to Hell with it. You miss Saddam as a counterweight to Iran, as if that strategy had ever been anything but craven, murderous, ineffective manipulation. I just can't understand it.

> Oil for Food could not
> match the corruption
> that's flourished

Oh honey, look at the numbers. O-F-F was the biggest scandal of all time, with more than $20 billion going straight to Saddam, let alone the profits to his conspirators.

> far fewer troops than the
> generals were recommending

There are lots of generals, hundreds IIRC, and you can find one to say anything. America doesn't pass the keys to warmakers.

I don't understand why no one complained about this at the time. I supported the invasion, but could tell from the odor in the air that no plans were being made for stabilizing Iraq traffic systems, or colleges, or other infrastructure. We're going to be there for a very long time, and it shouldn't be a surprise. We have almost as many troops in Europe, and the war ended six decades ago.

Posted by: Crid at September 25, 2006 1:35 PM

Hokay, here we go with part A -
> everyone who had experience
> in government-building would
> have told the president
Who would that be? Name names.
Frederick M. Burkle Jr., for one. Could you please list names of nation-builders that would ring a bell with you? More to the point, do you approve of Jim O’Beirn’s method of screening potential applicants, not on their knowledge of Middle Eastern affairs or economics, but whether they were loyal to the Bush administration?
Full story at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/16/AR2006091600193.html
And be sure and list your own credentials in this matter...
Didja ever build a government?
This is not a real persuasive line of reasoning. You don’t need to have built a government to say that HAVING NO PLAN to build one, is not much of a plan. It’s pretty much guaranteed to result in chaos, and what’s going on right now in Iraq would prove me right.
Along those same lines – I can’t fly a plane, but am pretty sure pointing the nose at the ground, gunning the engine and closing my eyes is a bad idea. I don’t ride horses, but would be certain that jumping on one’s back, no saddle, and screaming in its ear while beating it with a crop is a bad idea.
Saddam ran the country with torture. Our instances of torturing have been by runaway hillbilly jailers, not policy. (If you want to refute this, please have a list of citations and supporting evidence.)
Evidence of more torture in Iraq now (just one cite) -http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5368360.stm
That’s not by our jailers, some of whom may well have been hillbillies, but were under orders from the top TO torture. You can’t argue the ‘few bad elements’ story anymore, with our extraditing prisoners to countries that are happy to torture them for us, or with our president having admitted that the US has been hiding and interrogating detainees in secret ‘black prisons’ in Europe (are we staffing them with imported hillbillies? Euro-billies?), and going up before the world to demand the right to torture subjects with impunity. Just last week at his press conference the President said he cared about only one thing with regard to the torture legislation: "I have one test for this legislation. I'm going to ask one question, as this legislation proceeds, and it's this: The intelligence community must be able to tell me that the bill Congress sends to my desk will allow this vital program to continue. That's what I'm going to ask." By "this program," he means the CIA's torture program.
What citations would you like? That we ran secret prisons in Europe? That torture was actively encouraged by those in charge? That we have tortured over 35 prisoners to death? I don’t get paid for blogging, so I’ll send them over as they pop up. Please start documenting how all torture that’s occurred was solely the result of rogue operators going against orders. I bet I’ll have more citations, sooner.
“ You miss Saddam as a counterweight to Iran, as if that strategy had ever been anything but craven, murderous, ineffective manipulation. I just can't understand it.”
Our own administration just released a National Strategy for Combating Terrorism claiming that "Iran remains the most active state sponsor of international terrorism.” And now Iran has a strong controlling interest in Iraq, and it’s growing constantly. So, we’re strengthening the world’s center of terrorism. What is your solution? Invading Iran?
“I suspect the death meter in Iraq is close to where it was in the last ten years of the Hussein dictatorship. Only now it's not government types who are killing citizens, it's mercenaries and terrorists. And of course, American soldiers are dying too. Did you prefer the days when Saddam's mass graves were open for business?”
I’ll finish this post tomorrow after digging for some exact figures on both death tolls and relative cost of Oil For Food vs. corruption, and will be happy to admit if I was wrong. Re the mass graves though,
www.wanniski.com/showarticle.asp?articleid=2017
has an interesting slant. And the British have admitted that, instead of the 400K bodies Blair had claimed were in mass graves, the true number was more like 5000. Is 5000 people a lot? Hell yes. Is it less than 400,000? By a factor of about 80x. How many Iraqi civilians have we killed so far, pending further research? About 10,000, at least.
Amy started this post by mentioning what has been rumored for a long time; there were no clear plans for the reconstruction of Iraq, in fact this planning was discouraged from the top (Rumsfeld). This, see, was Bad, because we were not welcomed as liberators, and did not have enough troops to control the country, and so it has descended into anarchy and civil war, and thousands of our troops, as well as many thousands of Iraqis, are now dead, because that’s what happens to outnumbered unpopular troops in hostile territory. Do you think this lack of/active discouraging of post-invasion plans was, what? Of no import? For the better?
More tomorrow. And honey? Let’s try to keep it civil.


Posted by: Cat brother at September 25, 2006 4:48 PM

> Let’s try to keep it civil.

Little fella, you've come to the wrong internet.

> About 10,000, at least.

A deeply suspicious number. Besides, "civilian" doesn't necessarily mean 'good guy.'

> so it has descended into
> anarchy and civil war

Do you think those tensions weren't present during Saddam's decades? It's more likely that the roar of his plastic shredders kept people thinking about other things. Does that strike you as a good arrangement?

> Frederick M. Burkle Jr.,
> for one.

Were this a runaway viral crisis in the Micronesian health care system, he might get the call. But a quick Google doesn't give the impression that Burkle's beliefs on these matters should carry particular weight. There's more to this than emergency response. The larger question is how we're going to handle our relationships with these vendor nations. Or, posed in the form which no one will ever answer for me: What did you want for Iraq? Antiwar types seem content to live in the fool's safety of September 10th, when the Kissingerian model of paying off local hoodlums and potentates seemed the best way to get our needs met. Others, including people without medical degrees, have feelings about that as well. Specifically, we think it's fucking immoral.

Between the (devastating) Chandrasekaran article last week and the chirpy reviews of the Fukuyama book this week, it's been a shitty month for pro-invasion types. But take a look at this:

http://tinyurl.com/syrl2

When wars get started, there are always unexpected outcomes. Bush the elder didn't foresee the no-fly zones when Saddam invaded Kuwait. Are you saying they were a bad idea? They defended the lives and democracy of millions.

> now Iran has a strong controlling
> interest in Iraq, and it’s growing
> constantly. So, we’re strengthening
> the world’s center of terrorism.

I don't see how that follows so directly. Europe gets 85% of its oil from the Middle East... Who's doing more to feed the monster? Were you happier when Iran and Iraq were killing each other, including their preteen boy soldiers, armed with American weapons, in pointless wars that left borders umoved? Do you think that was the best possible arrangement?

> what has been rumored for a
> long time; there were no
> clear plans for the
> reconstruction

I acknowledged this in this thread, and would have if you'd asked me to in February of 2003. But consider also that Americans generally haven't been thinking of ways to make things go better for Iraq. It's not like the computer manufacturing business has a board of representatives working to improve the Iraqi communications systems. Nor do the farming industries. Nor the medical people, nor the educators. If Los Angeles has a sister city in Iraq (with a student-echange program), I don't know its name.

Nope, what we've got in the sarcastic title of this blog thread is a fairly routine dislike for a president mixed with a wicked love of expedience. I think that whether it's from Amy the Advice Goddess or Fukuyama or Cat Brother, a call for "realism" is *always* an expression of cynicism. There are people who, if problems can't be made to go away, at least insist that they be kept out of sight. "Just make it go away, man." In countries with oil and other resources we need, there's always a crime family ready to do that for us.

> What is your solution?
> Invading Iran?

Don't tempt me.

Posted by: Crid at September 25, 2006 7:45 PM

Let’s try to keep it civil.
"Little fella, you've come to the wrong internet."
Oh, I don’t know, I’ve read Amy for a little while now, and everyone more or less seems to be middling polite. A small hint – the condescending angle only works if you have a point to back it up, you know, if, since this post is about a lack of postwar planning and its effects, you delivered some killer “ we didn’t NEED postwar planning, and here’s why!” angle. “Didja ever build a government?” is not that angle, it’s how the Beaver tries to argue with Wally, and incidentally disqualifies you from commenting on this subject. But keep trying. ‘Little fella’….precious.
Current estimates for Iraqi death toll -
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw – around 15,000, 10,000 in the year after the invasion.
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3962969.stm)
Brookings Institute – As of April 2005,
Iraqi Body Count – 43, 000+ (civilians only)
President George W Bush – 30,000.
The Lancet – 100,000
New England Journal of Medicine (July 1st issue) – 13,000+
(www.thenation.com/doc/20041115/morley)
Carl Conetta/Project on Defense Alternatives – In 2003, 3200 to 4300 non-combatants. www.comw.org/pda/0310rm8.html
If you dispute these numbers, please provide your sources.
Do you still want links demonstrating a pervasive culture of torture in U.S.-run prisons, or have you given up on the rogue hillbilly angle? Don’t blame you, it’s kind of hard to keep that up with the president specifically demanding the right TO torture, but let me know.
On invading Iran - “Don’t tempt me.” Don’t tempt you to…what? Tell your elected representative to invade Iran? Go ahead. We don’t have the troops, as we’re currently fighting ineffectively in two other countries. Join the reserves, grab a rifle, and ask to be posted in the first unit that goes to Iran? Hey, they’re taking ANYBODY these days, Olbermann’s age or not, and this would be consonant with the points of view you express here, but nope, just don’t see that happening either. You do join up, send us a picture here with your unit and MOS (I’m thinking something in food services), and I’ll be the first to say I was wrong.

Posted by: Cat brother at September 26, 2006 8:14 AM

> I’ll be the first to
> say I was wrong.

Never.

> A small hint –

Aha! Sarcasm and condescension come naturally! 'The Force is strong with this one....'

> If you dispute these
> numbers

Ranging an order of magnitude, they dispute themselves.

> is not that angle

You said "everyone who had experience in government-building would have told the president so." You claim omniscience, listing the most obscure possible example (not that there are any statesmen out there whose judgment I'd instantly trust nowadays). It's an unsubstantiated claim for a bogus point. Of course I wish there'd been better planning for post-invasion Iraq. But:

> not Zen, or minimalist,
> or a daring leap of faith

If such planning *had* taken place, people would have screamed about imperialism. These are arguments from people who would never, ever have supported invasion, and wouldn't have supported Bush in an effort to tie his shoes in the morning.

> links demonstrating a pervasive
> culture of torture

"Pervasive culture" is interesting wording. It's got the aroma of a rumor, blended with some speculation, mixed with two cups of snottiness. Mostly, it describes something from human hearts, not policy. Sure, if you have links to share, put them in a comment. We all want to read the bad news too, don't we?

> the president specifically
> demanding the right TO
> torture

It should be the stated policy and inviolable practice of the United States not to torture. Meanwhile, ours are lawless, largely stateless enemies. The line we draw in the sand is the one they'll step up to. If they can enlist footsoldiers with the belief that they'll never be tortured, they'll do so. Bush doesn't want to offer that comfort. I sympathize with all parties except Lynndie England.

Last night I saw a cute story on the internet:

http://tinyurl.com/qrqo8
http://tinyurl.com/r688u

Some people will always imagine that the monsters who oppose us would be capable of pinky-extented courtesy except because of something we did. This is not the case. All cultures capable of such a gesture (however bounded in context) have been brought onboard civilization's project. Now we have to deal with those that haven't, and it's unlikely to be any prettier.

I'm glad Saddam's off the air. I'm glad the marshes are somewhat restored. I'm glad his sons are dead & dead. I'm glad that democracy is beginning to gel for millions in the north. I'm glad nations throughout the region are having to chose between historical grievances and modern dynamism. I'm glad someone finally told one of our vendor nations that maintaining Swiss bank balances with the blood of the populace is just not cool.

What did you want for Iraq?

What did you want for Iraq?

What did you want for Iraq?

Posted by: Crid at September 26, 2006 10:00 AM

Shit, Crid, I'm glad enough Saddam is toast.
What was that business about "Get out, or we'll come and get you !" ? I'm sure Hussein thought that if the U.S. went after Noreiga in Panama, he might as well sit where he had some defences, however inadequate. There was no place to run.

Nice staging and I liked the business of exposing the CIA group charged with developing intel on Iran's WMD capacity ( none ) : or does everyone think the "Plame Game" was just a mistake ?
Building Democracy in Iraq. I believe that proverbial bridge in Brooklyn is available again : I'm sure I can get a hot deal for a chump like you !
High drama, along with the threats of nuclear attack from the White House.
What, did everyone develop amnesia all of a sudden ?
Amy. I comment on the blog of a medical lab rat who was raised a Navy brat and Air Force wife. There seem to be a few what some might think of as Jewish hellbrands on the web : we could do with more impassioned and insightful commentary. Take a look at bluegalinaredstate.blogspot as there is some proper criticism of the fate of the enlisted.

Posted by: opit at September 26, 2006 9:58 PM

You type too fast; are you saying you admire the CIA? Amnesia moves through populations erratically, don't it?

> that proverbial bridge in Brooklyn is
> available again

Deposing Saddam is the best shot Iraq's had at democracy in the last 90 years or so. We can all imagine having done more, but most of us weren't into it, were we?

Posted by: Crid at September 26, 2006 10:43 PM

Got to love conservitie. They clamor for the end of socal programs under the theory that people should work for and stand up for themselves.

Yet for some odd reason, they feel we are responsible for the lives and welfre of a people half a world away who refuse to stand up and defend themselves. Why is that?

Crid you mentioned that people want to live with the fools security of a pre SEPT 11 world. Given that your more likley to die being struck by lightning muliple times then die in a terrorist attack - and that most if not all terrorist plots are thwarted by intelligence and police work as opposed to the TSA security screeners, is it really all that supprising that people feel this way?

After all, its ben 5 years, and whith a republican controlled House, Senete, and White House not one of the 9/11 commisions security ecomendations have been put into action. Less that 5% of port continers are inspected. Airlnes do not check the contents of shipers like the post office, how many of the unibomers pakeges went into the air?

And yet for some reason you cant take a bottle of dasani past the x-ray machine. All the metal detectors in the world wont pick up C4 and a detonater, or obsidian which is volcanic glass sharper than surgical steel. A 45 minut wait to get thru securit wont stop a guy in the long term parking lot with a rocket launcer, or the guy who blows him self up while IN the secuity line - which these days has far more people in it than any given airplane.

Not to mention anyone paying the slightest amount of attention in high school chemisty could take down an air plane with the small amounts of liquids they are now allowing people to bring on board. You only need a few onces of nerve gas to kill everyone on the plane- hell it could probably kill everyone in the airport.

Posted by: lujlp at September 27, 2006 9:14 AM

> more likley to die being struck by
> lightning muliple times then die in
> a terrorist attack

OK, let's forget about it, then.

> most if not all terrorist plots are
> thwarted by intelligence and police
> work as opposed to the TSA
> security screeners

There's no way you could know this. For all you know 70% of plots are thwarted by plotter incompetence, and another 25% by conversion to Roman Catholicism on the way to the attack site.

My faith in:
Intelligence, 0%
TSA Screenres, 0%
Shoe-leather policing, 6.41%

> not one of the 9/11 commisions
> security ecomendations

http://tinyurl.com/kv7un

You're absolutely right about the chemistry stuff.

Posted by: Crid at September 27, 2006 9:31 AM

> most if not all terrorist plots are
> thwarted by intelligence and police
> work as opposed to the TSA
> security screeners

There's no way you could know this. For all you know 70% of plots are thwarted by plotter incompetence, and another 25% by conversion to Roman Catholicism on the way to the attack site.

Ok, prove me wrong, find me - let's say 5 tories of a terrorist attack being thwarted by the TSA screener at the X-ray machine.

Personally I dounbt you will find one.

Posted by: lujlp at September 27, 2006 2:12 PM

Nope, the assertion is yours. I let you prove the negatives.

Why, ohwhyohwhyohwhy, do people put so much faith in intelligence?

Look, I'm the one who doesn't care where Bin Laden is, or even if he's alive. It's irrelevant. But if intel is the razor-sharp tool everyone thinks it is, how come they can find this fucker?

Posted by: Crid at September 28, 2006 6:05 PM

Can't. Can't find him...

Posted by: Crid at September 28, 2006 7:05 PM

Well I looked and looked, and looked once more. Didnt find one story of the airport securiy screener foiling a terrorist plot.

I was right.

Posted by: lujlp at September 29, 2006 1:22 PM

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