Monday, June 28, 2004

For my first essay...
...let's turn to Michael Moore, and Fahrenheit 9/11.

No, I have not seen the movie. Yes, I do intend to, but I have no plans to spend 8 bucks on it, so I guess I'll have to wait for the rental (VHS, not DVD, since I don't want to spend money on his crap).

I'll start with a response to the post found on seditious libel made by my friend Beth.

Though every study shows that Gore rightfully won (which we all suspected anyway), Bush took the seat. Sorry, babe, the media-run recounts in Florida picked up votes for Bush, and on every count and recount run by the state of Florida after election night, Bush picked up votes. And with the networks calling the election for Gore early, voting rates in the Florida panhandle (heavily Republican) were significantly lower than in any election before or since. Why vote if your man already lost? You'll never convince me that Gore actually won, and you'll certainly never convince me that he would be better suited to fight the war on terror than W is. Remember after 9/11 how even the liberals in this country sighed relief that he lost?

It seems a stretch to suppose that the Bush family's close ties to the Saudis and history with Saddam had nothing to do with the priorities the president adopted in his war on terror. Not Osama, who may have been behind the attacks but whose family shared investments with George W.'s, but Saddam who had nothing to with the attacks but tried to kill Bush's dad.
Ok, this should be fun. 1)"Osama, who may have been behind the attacks" I hope you mean "may have" in a "he was, but we're dismissing him" kind of way, not a "maybe he was, maybe he wasn't" sort of way. 2, and more importantly) we need to set this straight right here and now: the war on terror is not about retribution for 9/11--it is about safeguarding America from future attacks, and preventing anyone in the world from having the means to carry one out. Saddam had the intent, no question. At some point, he had the means, and he was incapable of proving to anyone that he had destroyed them. We could eliminate him without any serious repercussions to the safety of the surrounding countries (think North Korea and Seoul), so we took him out. You might have heard Bill Clinton on Oprah this week say he would have made the same decision as W. Why? Because it was the right decision to make

As far as the Saudis are concerned, you might also remember that Osama was banished from the Kingdom. Why? Because his family disowned him. Why? Because his holy war was declared on the Saudi family just as strongly as on America, and the Bin Laden investments are much more closely tied to the Kingdom than to the Bushes. His family isn't defending his interests by any means, and his survival certainly does not help the Bushes. If anything, his network threatens the world oil supply, and more concretely the world oil market, which is the basis for all of these investments in the first place.

Also, the fact that Saddam tried to kill 41 should have been reason enough to take him out in the first place.

...if more people have been won with false or exaggerated fears, then they have been disenfranchised through deception. Let's set something else straight: George W. Bush does not pose nearly the threat to American democracy (cough, we have never had and should never have democracy in this country) that liberals would like to have you believe. They are playing on fear just as much as the Right, it's just pointed in a different direction. If you don't believe me, then go back and listen to a few of Dean's campaign speeches. Better yet, listen to anything Al Gore has said in the past 18 months. They want you more afraid of Bush than the terrorists so you'll vote for them.

Ok, enough attacking Beth. But listen up, here, people. This election is going to hinge on terrorism whether you like it or not, and it comes down to the simple choice of who you think will fight that war most effectively, and what strategy you want used. Sure, I'd like to see the domestic agencies (FBI, HS, INS, etc.) strengthened more than they have been in the past 2.5 years, but I think that takes time, and we're working on it. But we can't stop every terror attack that way: once they've reached our shores, we're already too late. We absolutely need to bring the war to their doorstep. We need to cut off the infrastructure that breeds terrorism, and we need to make prosecuting a terror war on America infeasible.

That means, we need to kill the people who would create terrorism. That means we need to put them so deep in hiding that they can't hit targets over here. (Has anyone noticed that all of Al Quaeda's attacks of late have been in Arab countries with only one exception?) That means when a man like Saddam threatens the US, and even leads us to believe he has the capability of carrying out his threats, we need to take him and his government off the playing field by whatever means necessary. It needs to be clear that if you're posturing against us, you're not going to get ahead.

John Kerry will never be the man to lead that fight. Maybe W isn't ideal, but he's a thousand steps ahead. What was Kerry's proposal for Iraq? Why did he vote in favor of the resolution to wage war with Iraq? By his own admission, "we needed to show the threat of force, but we never should have used it." There's a simple lesson in parenting: don't ever make a threat you're not willing to carry out. If you do it once and don't follow through, your child will learn quickly that your threats are hollow, and he will begin to act with impugnity. No matter how many times you carry through after that, he will always know that there's a possibility that you won't the next time, and he'll continue to test the waters. "We'll let you have Checkoslovakia but after that you have to stop." Sound familiar? Worked really well, right? I simply do not want a man who thinks in those terms to lead my armed forces.

And as long as you keep Michael Moore as your chief propagandist, I'm not that scared.

13 comments:

Beth said...

Skiping, for the moment, over the many lines of refutation you've got coming, I'm going to say only this:

I agree. You take the fight to their doorstep, which means you don't waste resources on secular, non-terrorist states (thereby inviting terror into Iraq, as we've seen in the insurgency). You take it to the Saudis, to Al Qaeda, and to all other terror cells.

Invading Iraq made as much sense as invading North Korea: both posed some semblance of a future threat and needed to be dealt with in some way. But that way was not a war, and that war had nothing to do with the war on terror.

Beth said...

http://www.rense.com/general16/count.htm

My other, longer, more pertinent comment hasn't show up yet. Hopefully it will.

And here's another crazy thought: Moore isn't our propagandist. He's a producer/writer/director who happens to be on our side. It's crazy how things work on the left... we don't have a Karl Rove who controls the thoughts and actions of everyone sharing a remotely similar ideology. In fact, gasp, Moore speaks on his own. We just happen to agree with him.

Tanstaafl said...

Wow, that's new. I was unaware that Karl Rove controlled me. Hmmm... let me check for a second. Nope, that's right he doesn't.

Back to substance. The biggest reason that we won't invade North Korea before the regime there collapses internally is because they pose TOO great of a threat. The northern end of the DMZ is within artillery range of Seoul. Tactical Nuclear weapons were often fitted onto artillery shells by the Soviets, because it was much cheaper than ballistic missiles. In all likely-hood, the North Koreans are doing the same. As a result, we have to "play nice" with the North Koreans because their lunatic leader could nuke the largest city in South Korea. That was part of the argument FOR invading Iraq. If you left Saddam to his devices, the concern was that in 5 years, we'd be in a position where we couldn't prevent him from annexing Kuwait because he could threaten to nuke Israel or Saudi Arabia.

Beth said...

I was under the impression you didn't identify yourself as a Rovean disciple the way your brother does (and therefore don't represent the GOP the way I do the Dems), but if you do, apologies.

Putting whether the Iraq war was a good idea or not aside for the moment, my point, which you didn't actually touch, is that it has nothing to do with the "war on terror." Just because Saddam's a bad guy in the Middle East doesn't make removing him (if necessary) causally connected to the "war on terror."

RFTR said...

Wow, that's new. I was unaware that I "identify [my]self as a Rovean disciple." Hmmm... let me check for a second. Nope, that's right, I don't.

I don't know where you got such an impression, what I might have said to make you think that. I do want to be Karl Rove some day, in that I want to be a chief strategist for the Party and a key adviser to the President. But that in no way means I get my talking points from him.

Tanstaafl said...

Beth, you seem to have a consistency problem. What did you mean when you said "everyone sharing a remotely similar ideology"? I think I have at least a "remotely similar" on not all but many issues. So by your standard, am I a Rovean disciple? As for other arugments, I'll try to kill two birds with one stone here. Your beloved "President" Gore had these things to say in 1992:

IN 1992, AL GORE ATTACKED PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH FOR IGNORING IRAQ'S TIES TO TERRORISM. SEN. AL GORE: “[W]hen George Bush took office, he should have reevaluated what our relationship was with Iraq ...” CNN’S LARRY KING: “Well ...” GORE: “Let me finish, just briefly. Instead, he stepped up the foreign aid to Iraq, and he looked the other way when there were repeated incidents of terrorism in which Iraq had a part, terrorists operating openly in Baghdad, and repeated warnings from our national security people telling the Bush administration that Saddam was on a crash program to develop nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction. And he overruled a lot of his advisers and extended another billion dollars of foreign aid, and the U.S. taxpayers are right now having to bail out Saddam Hussein for almost $2 billion. Just like the savings and loan bailout, now it’s the Saddam Hussein bailout, and it shouldn’t have taken place.” (CNN’s “Larry King Live,” 10/5/92)Beyond that, Hussein was the biggest contributor of funds to the families of suicide bombers. Funding terrorism is a terrorist act.

Sandals said...

http://www.bushwatch.com/gorebush.htm

Sandals said...

Responding to Saudi/Osama.

We could eliminate him without any serious repercussions to the safety of the surrounding countries*snark*
Yeah, I mean, clearly countries such as Iran have done nothing but benefit.

which is the basis for all of these investments in the first place.Nitpick: I believe the Osama's portion of the fortune was built on construction interests.

As for Bin Laden's family ties- Well, his family is huge, and Osama isn't the only 'black sheep'. Not that we regarded him as such until a dozen years ago, anyways. That same site has a good page listing several media reports on this issue. Take it as you will, but at the very least Abdullah bin Laden (brother-in-law) and one of Salem bin Laden's (deceased) inheritors and business associates are involved with terrorist funding.

Also, the fact that Saddam tried to kill 41 should have been reason enough to take him out in the first place.Well, we DID engage Iraq in war...

I guess my problem with your whole tone is that the decision was just whether to take Saddam out or not. It's not that simple. For example, recall all that "precision" bombing we did before the war to kill Saddam that killed a bunch of civilians instead. Once the war started, we dropped at least 3000 bombs on Baghdad alone. You really think all those hit their targets?

And as long as you keep Michael Moore as your chief propagandist, I'm not that scared.Heh. You should be. Consider how far O'Reilly, Coulter, Limbaugh, and Hannity have gone despite rampant lying. The most egregrious 'lie' that Moore has been caught in is hinting rather broadly (but not saying) that the bin Laden flight was permitted to fly when most flights were not. In fact, by the time the bin Laden flight was permitted, commercial air travel had begun again. However... private air travel (which the flight was) had not. Which was why it needed special authorization.

Tanstaafl said...

So let me see, we rescue an ally from being conquered, and we're at fault when the defeated party tries to assassinate a former President. Was the first Gulf War also unjustified.

Also, if you could clarify something, not sure if I've got it right. Richard Clarkes decision to let Bin Laden family members out of the country was bad because there are others besides Osama in the family who aid terrorism? That's fine, but were any of those terrorism enablers amongst the Saudis that we let flee? According to Clarke, who was a hero to many liberals for his criticism of Bush just a few short months ago, HE approved their exit, and only AFTER the FBI got a crack at checking them out for terrorist ties.

RFTR said...

And Sandals, maybe I should have clarified. Without any threat to the surrounding countries aside from Iran, maybe? I'm not sure what you're trying to say about Iran, but let me address the two possibilities.
1)You're upset because Iran is suffering because we invaded Iraq.
-OK, I'm not that worried. Iran's well-being doesn't bother me much, and if the people suffer maybe they'll rise up and overthrow those pretenders.
2)You're upset because Iran is doing so well.
-I don't think Iran is doing well. Yeah, they've had an enemy removed, but they're having another installed.

Sandals said...

So let me see, we rescue an ally from being conquered, and we're at fault when the defeated party tries to assassinate a former President. Was the first Gulf War also unjustified. No. Not what I'm saying. It's just that it's not entirely unreasonable that Iraq, far outmatched militarily in a war, would attempt to assassinate the President. The US, for example, attempted to assassinate Saddam before the start of Gulf War II.

Also, if you could clarify something, not sure if I've got it right. Richard Clarkes decision to let Bin Laden family members out of the country was bad because there are others besides Osama in the family who aid terrorism? That's fine, but were any of those terrorism enablers amongst the Saudis that we let flee? According to Clarke, who was a hero to many liberals for his criticism of Bush just a few short months ago, HE approved their exit, and only AFTER the FBI got a crack at checking them out for terrorist ties.
Yes, Richard Clarke approved their exit. He is a Cold Warrior, not exactly liberal. Same with 'Anonymous' (who isnt actually), author of Imperial Hubris. Doesn't mean we can't applaud his integrity and so on and so forth. ;)

The issue is that a private flight of Saudis, minimally checked out by the FBI (they approved the flight, but they didn't exactly do a lot of interviewing; Why NOT?) was specially authorized to fly when American private air travel was not.

And Sandals, maybe I should have clarified. Without any threat to the surrounding countries aside from Iran, maybe? I'm not sure what you're trying to say about Iran, but let me address the two possibilities.#2 was my snarky point. Far from destabilizing its theocracy, hardline Iranian mullahs have taken the opportunity to come down hard on the reform movement and bar the majority of reformers from running for government posts. They are also rid of a bitter enemy (Saddam Hussein). Long-run it may turn out worse for Iran than it has gained in the short-term; but that is contingent on a strong Iraqi democracy; the outcome in Iraq is still very much up in the air.

Anonymous said...

"Though every study shows that Gore rightfully won (which we all suspected anyway), Bush took the seat. Sorry, babe, the media-run recounts in Florida picked up votes for Bush, and on every count and recount run by the state of Florida after election night, Bush picked up votes. And with the networks calling the election for Gore early, voting rates in the Florida panhandle (heavily Republican) were significantly lower than in any election before or since. Why vote if your man already lost? You'll never convince me that Gore actually won..."

Well, if these are your best arguments you're in serious trouble.

To start with, read:

http://www.apsanet.org/PS/march01/brady.cfm

This and Henry Brady's later analysis have shown pretty convincingly that Gore did win. Indeed, if you control for error in outmoded voting systems, african-americans who were mistakenly scrubbed from the polls, or even look at how a statewide recount would have proceeded using the standards of Flordia law (voter intent).

The panhandle argument is facile. You have to believe that an extremely high percentage of voters were, in the last tens of minutes, driving to the polls or standing in line when they heard the race was called. That of those who were standing in line or in their cars on the way to the booth -- and heard the news -- one would need an overwhelming percentage of them had to then decide not to vote. The last back-of-the-envelope calculation I saw estimated that Bush lost a few dozen votes. No serious analysis suggests otherwise.


"... and you'll certainly never convince me that he would be better suited to fight the war on terror than W is. Remember after 9/11 how even the liberals in this country sighed relief that he lost?"

Who would those be? And why does this even constitute an argument?

I think, young one, that you aren't milking what you need to out of your education.

RFTR said...

And I think, old one, that people who post anonymously are cowards. But that just goes to show that all opinions should be taken with a grain of salt.

Please, expand, however, on how your disagreeing with my statements gives you the credibility to say that I'm not using my education... although, I guess conservative conclusions must mean that I'm lazy in school...