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8/05/2004

 

ok, can we kill al-sadr now?



unreal.

this guy is given a get out of jail free card by a coalition more frightened by the prospect of a general shiite insurgency than the leader of the very specific shitte insurgency that was causing all the problems. as a thank-you, al-sadr sends a lovely assortment of RPG's and machine gun rounds via thug-ex to a local police station.

solution? storm najaf. find al-sadr. kill him. if he holes up in a mosque this time, then flatten the mosque. it's obvious the carrot doesn't work. time for the stick.

locdog thinks it's time to cut the daisies





8/03/2004

 

kerry's pit bull, part 2



yesterday i posted on howard dean's apparent new role as the kerry campaign's bombardier. quoting myself:

...dean is still out there on news shows spouting off dangerously irresponsible rhetoric on kerry's behalf. if kerry really wanted to distance himself from dean, he would have issued the sort of scathing condemnation that dean's idiotic comments warrant...

how do dean's comments not depress readiness? aren't loyal democrats in new york and d.c. listening to dean and thinking "you know, that does sound like just the sort of thing bush would do..." at a time when americans should be at their most alert, when threats of terrorist attacks are swirling and al qaeda has proven itself willing to use terror to shape elections, dean is telling people that there's probably a goodly dollop of politicking in those pleas for paranoia...

and what if there is a terror attack? even if it's thwarted, what does dean say then? "woops, i really blew that one," or "bush was probably behind this, too," seem the two likely alternatives. either one is a sure-fire loser.


these comments were issued in response to some that dean had made at a weekend appearance on cnn, during which he said

I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism. It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it.


as if on cue, the media rolls into action. the new york times leads off with Reports That Led to Terror Alert Were Years Old, Officials Say. three or four years, to be exact, and law enforcement officials have found no "concrete evidence" that a terror plot is still underway. according to one unnamed official in today's washingtion post "There is nothing right now that we're hearing that is new. Why did we go to this level? ...I still don't know that."

later, the post adds

Numerous officials said yesterday...that most of the information was compiled prior to the Sept. 11 attacks and that there are serious doubts about the age of other, undated files. One senior counterterrorism official said many of the documents include dates prior to Sept. 11, 2001, but there are no dates after that.


the times coverage, which, shockingly, is the more charitable of the two, offers the bush administration a slight reprieve:

Senior counterterrorism and intelligence officials based in Europe said the information targeting the five buildings was developed by Qaeda operatives before Sept. 11, 2001. But a senior European counterterrorism official cautioned that "some recent information'' indicated that the buildings might remain on a list of Qaeda targets.


but doesn't get to it until the second to last paragraph. the post doesn't even mention the current european intel, and instead makes a vague reference to the statements of "other sources," which again appears very late in the coverage.

ok, what's going on here?

obviously the media is trying to hoist bush by his own petards; howard say, monkeys do. this is a bunch of outdated info, they say, and there's no clear and present danger. why is has bush suddenly made such a big deal out of four year old snapshots on some qaeda computer geek's hard drive?

hmm. wonder what they could be trying to imply.

as with dean's charges, the desired effect is to damage the credibility of the bush administration on its best issue, to turn their greatest strength into a weakness by drumming up a backlash. but as with dean's charges, the biggest loser isn't the bush campaign, it's us.

let's suppose for a moment that there was no recent corroborating evidence of any sort, no other sources, no european data, no "chatter," no nothing. just a bunch of moldy old photos and blueprints on a laptop. let's further suppose that you're the president of the united states, and that your number one priority is the safety of the american people (remember, this is you we're talking about here, not bush, so leave aside any suspicions of political motives and just ask yourself what you would do.)

now thousands of innocent americans have already been killed by al qaeda on your watch and obviously that still weighs heavily on your conscience. you've been hearing that al qaeda wants to strike us again, possibly to effect the outcome of an election. you stationed heavy guard at the recent democratic national convention for that reason, because this isn't just a mere hypothetical, you've seen it done--and to great effect--in spain.

one day, some of your soldiers come up with a laptop that contains the most detailed, explicit al qaeda intelligence you've ever seen. hundreds of photos, emails, and blueprints on targets in new york and d.c. big, flashy financial centers. exactly the sort of places al qaeda would love to hit. this data, it turns out, is years old, some of it going back maybe as far as 2000, but does that matter? you're thinking about september 11th again, thinking about how the terrorists had been planning the attacks of that day for about five years. thinking about what you would have done if someone had brought you similarly captured photos and blueprints of the world trade center and pentagon on september 10th. would you have acted on it, or would you have dismissed it as out of date?

and in that hypothetical scenario, there would have been no reason to suppose that the terrorists were going to strike tomorrow or a dozen years from tomorrow. they'd done nothing in five years--what had changed? but now you've got the republican national convention coming up, and presidential elections after that. surely al qaeda must have more than a passing interest in the outcome of that election, far more so than they did in spain.

what do you do?

you do exactly what the bush administration has done. you take no chances.

can you imagine if one of the sites covered on the confiscated laptop is hit by a terror strike? dean and the times and post will be screaming the loudest about bush's lackadaisical approach to security. worse, what if one of these targets were hit and the bush administration had done nothing? if it came to light that they had gotten ahold of an al qaeda computer with detailed information on the target, "it was three or four years old" would be a paltry defense. no american--least of all dean and the liberal media--would accept that, and no american should. it should also be mentioned that there's a third possibility where a potential attack is thwarted. maybe it's done in a dramatic takedown and bush gets all the glory, but far more probable is that the wily bin laden simply decides to bide his time and wait for a more opportune moment to strike. in that case, no one ever learns of bush's success and the public is left with the impression that he'd been exploiting their fears all along.

howard dean pegged the latest security crackdowns as politically motivated before any of this came out, of course, which is why the press has been waiting--quite eagerly, apparently--to join in. when word of the age of this intel leaked out, they must have seen the green light and went on the offensive with typical alacrity. in so doing, they've greatly intensified dean's implicit appeal to apathy, and have weakened the people's faith in our security and the necessity of vigilance at a time when the threat of attack is greater than we've ever known it to be.

locdog's main concern is that we're not reacting strongly enough




8/02/2004

 

kerry's pit bull




for the liberal core of the democratic party, the real axis of evil is bush, ashcroft, and rumsfeld. if osama is mentioned at all, it's only as a round-about criticism of bush, as in "why did bush lie his way into iraq rather than going after osama?" howard dean became an early-primary phenomenon (very early) because he was the candidate best able to exploit this rage. once john kerry, the "electable" candidate, figured out what was fueling dean's nitro-powered blast from obscurity to superstardom, he spent the remainder of the primaries siphoning off deans go-juice and did a darn fine job of it, winning handily in iowa (YEEEAAAAAARRRRRGH!), michigan, washington, and so on.

nixon used to say that the key to becoming president was campaigning to the right in the primaries and to the center in the general. kerry has employed a slightly modified version where he did indeed campaign to his base in the primaries, but is campaigning to bush's base in the general. if kerry's acceptance speech at the recently concluded democratic national convention were any indication, we would surmise that the core kerry supporter is exactly like a republican in everyway, except that in addition to his tax cuts he wants free healthcare and in addition to his military buildups he wants respect in the world. it's not surprising, then, that the speeches that met with the most raucous approval from the delegates were kucinich's, sharpton's, and, of course, dean's. these three, along with carter, were the only ones brave enough to risk the flirtation with hippydom kerry is so desperately trying to avoid. (amusing footnote: democrats have lauded sharpton's fiery convention speech as though he were some sort of hero, when in fact sharpton lied to the convention's controllers by giving them a much tamer version for screening, then blasted the crowd with both barrels anyway. sharpton did this in brazen defiance of the express wishes of his party's nominee--the man he is ostensibly there to support--for little more than his own glory; his all-eyes-on-me performance a slap in the face to kerry, speakers who played by the rules, and democrats everywhere by working to dampen kerry's moment in the sun with torrents of scary left-speak. when it comes to selfish, pompous, juvenile camera-hogging, sharpton makes jackson look like an amateur.)

yet while kerry is not eager to be directly linked with some of the more fervent anti-bush/anti-war rhetoric, he's not exactly bending over backwards to disassociate himself with it, either. witness howard dean, who, appearing on cnn's late edition yesterday told wolf blitzer


I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism. It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it.



cnn is quick to point out that the kerry campaign "distanced itself from Dean's comments," by saying that dean speaks only for himself.

well, ok, fine, but dean is still out there on news shows spouting off dangerously irresponsible rhetoric on kerry's behalf. if kerry really wanted to distance himself from dean, he would have issued the sort of scathing condemnation that dean's idiotic comments warrant--should, in fact, if for no other reason than political expediency alone.

how do dean's comments not depress readiness? aren't loyal democrats in new york and d.c. listening to dean and thinking "you know, that does sound like just the sort of thing bush would do..." at a time when americans should be at their most alert, when threats of terrorist attacks are swirling and al qaeda has proven itself willing to use terror to shape elections, dean is telling people that there's probably a goodly dollop of politicking in those pleas for paranoia. even if he sincerely believed this, the responsible thing to do would be to keep his mouth shut on the chance he's wrong.

and what if there is a terror attack? even if it's thwarted, what does dean say then? "woops, i really blew that one," or "bush was probably behind this, too," seem the two likely alternatives. either one is a sure-fire loser.

kerry is mr. moderation in public but his campaign must recognize by now that this election will have little to do with winning over undecideds. the lack of any appreciable convention bounce proved the conventional wisdom on the lack of undecideds in this highly polarizing times. the winner of this election will be the candidate who does the best job mobilizing his core, and to do that himself, kerry would have to alienate basically everyone else, to sacrifice his "electability"--which, ironically enough, is what his core likes about him anyway. they're happy enough to go to the polls and vote kerry in november, but kerry recognizes that he's got little shot of whipping them into a frenzy where they'd tap dance through a minefield to punch their chads. for that, kerry needs dean, and with that, the republicans have a vulnerability to exploit.

locdog is only too glad to help