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CIA: terror tape is real, and other news

the CIA and FBI have authenticated the abcnews terror tape--you know, the one the network of mark halperin won't let you see.

abcnews' excuse had been their unwillingness to air something they couldn't prove authentic (this despite the fact that just this morning i heard abc radio repeatedly report on an "unconfirmed" terror tape from a group claiming to have the infamous 380 tons of missing explosives.) i, of course, was not fooled, and dismissed abc's ploy for the transparent shillery it was. and, by the way you liberals, i seem to recall you telling me the tape was pure propaganda. karl rove lock, stock, and barrel.

given that their we-aren't-sure-it's-real excuse was a fraud from day one, it won't surprise you to learn that abc has now moved on to something new: "This is not something you just throw out there while people are voting."

let me make this clear: our intelligence community has confirmed the authenticity of an al qaeda terror threat tape just days before the election--the window of time experts picked as al qaeda's ideal months ago--and abcnews is sitting on it because, let's face it, it would be politically helpful to bush.

folks, if airing a terrorist warning is politically helpful to bush, then bush should win the election. regardless, if anyone dies because of abcnews' reluctance to put word out, then the blood will be on their hands. i asked you all yesterday and i've still yet to get an answer: how many 9/11s are john kerry's election worth?

in other news, bush leads in PA and, gee what a shock, looks like saddam moved those explosives himself and, gee what a shock, the looks like the russians helped him do it.



why i'm voting bush

originally posted in response to this fray post.

a little over four years ago, i followed a link from the homepage to an article defending al gore's performance in the third presidential debate, a townhall format where speakers were able to roam the stage. the writer, william saletan, felt gore had won: "Liberated from the tyranny of form, Gore used his domination of space and time to impose a tyranny of content." i remembered that line well enough to google it and track down the article just now, because i felt then (and still do) that i'd read something of special significance--it was quite possibly the geekiest line in the history of punditry. needless to say, i had to respond, and the rest is history. besides, bush had cleaned gore's clock.

my support for president bush in october of 2000 must have been a lot like what john kerry is receiving from his partisans today. kerry didn't conquer his opponents in the democratic primary, he won by default. gephardt's union support fell through, lieberman's hawkish foreign policy alienated much of the democratic core, and howard dean...well, howard dean. yeah. kerry was therefore said to be the "electable" candidate--he was damned with faint praise to be sure, but that was the least of the paradoxes troubling his candidacy: in what sense could a man be said to possess "electability" while lacking all of the traits commonly associated with those who win elections? kerry is not particularly attractive. he is eloquent but has a tendency to harangue the crowd, or else to endlessly dilute his meanings with catch-alls and qualifiers. he has little in the way of charisma, and often seems ill at ease in the presence of voters. he's an old-guard massachusetts liberal senator.

a fellow frayster recently asked what people like about john kerry. sample responses from his supporters include

"he is a compassionate conservative"

"he can be held accountable"

"he can identify a mistake and change course"

and so on. in the primaries, kerry was "electable," i.e. not too hot, not too cold, not too dean, not too gephardt. now he's not too bush. it is the challenger's prerogative to bash, but there comes a time when voters need someone to vote for. if john f. kerry wins this election, it won't be as john f. kerry. i'm not even sure there is such a man. instead we'd have Not F. Dubya, 44th president of the united states.

as i said, i think i understand kerry voters. after eight years of clinton, the last thing this conservative republican wanted was four years of gore. but george w. bush? in God's name, why? like many republicans, i punched my chads in dreamlike state of disbelief, wondering how in the blue hell dubya could be the best the republican party could come up with. if a bush at all, why not jeb? jeb was the one who was...well, electable. everyone knew that.

but dubya it was, and i remember sitting up 'till three a.m. rooting not so much for a bush win as for a gore loss. shameful, but there it is.

when bush finally emerged the victor, he came to washington with promises of being a uniter, not a divider. bullocks to that, i thought. divide, man, divide and conquer. consensus is not and must not be the goal of leadership, doing what's right is--which is why today we've got the candidate of the "global test" and the candidate of america first.

in retrospect, there wasn't a whole lot to divide over in the pre-9/11 months of bush's presidency. gary condit, a throwback to the age of clintonian frivolity, dominated the news. the major controversy of the day was stem cell research, an issue that's enjoyed a somewhat surprising resurgence of late but which was even more academic to most voters then than it is now. the economy was receding and tax cuts were on the horizon. business as usual, really, but the president had still managed to impress many of us--including more than a few democrats--with his ability to get stuff done. the buzzword was "mandate" in those days, whether bush had one and, if he didn't, how it would effect his style. well, he didn't, and it didn't. bush plowed through congress like jim brown through an arm tackle. iron will, determination, resolve. quintessential dubya. now people say he's a stubborn warmonger. well, they said that about churchill, too.

then came 9/11 and, of course, everything changed. not long ago, a liberal buddy of mine sniggered as he showed me a tape of bush sitting in an elementary school reading "my pet goat" to children, seemingly indecisive for a span of seven whole minutes. i imagine that a century from now, historians will still be pondering the ways in which the world changed on 9/11. it took george dubya bush about seven minutes to figure it out, and he hasn't looked back since.

do you remember him standing there at ground zero, grabbing the bullhorn and telling that fireman that the whole world was going to hear from us soon? do you remember how that made you feel? remember how it gave you hope? there were more than a few complaints from the other side when a few moments of that now legendary ground zero footage found its way into a campaign spot, but i didn't mind. why shouldn't we remember that? we need to remember that.

we need to remember because that's what leadership is. anyone can take pot shots from the cheap seats, but bush was on the field when it counted. he saw this country through the worst disaster in our history. that's not to say we wouldn't have pulled through had he not been in office. americans survive. but he made us stronger at our weakest moment. i cannot imagine the burden laid upon the shoulders of a man in such incredible circumstances, but when many would have crumpled, bush stood firm, and had strength enough left over to share with us all. that's leadership. it's leadership not merely when things were at their worse, but when things were worse than any of us had ever imagined they could be. bush looked the worst terrorist attack in history in the eye and didn't flinch, faced something of a scale no president or world leader had ever faced before, and in so doing, forever etched his name among the greatest of them all.

bush's response to the attacks of september 11th was not simply to root out and punish the single organization directly responsible. while that would have been just and satisfying, it would have failed to acknowledge the true gravity of the terrorist threat. the president recognized that terrorism wasn't the disease, it was a symptom. not of poverty and hopelessness, as some of his rivals have suggested, since these are symptoms as well--and of the same sickness. our foe was in fact an old one, one that we've fought against in nearly every war we've waged. it was tyranny. the struggle against oppression. terrorism flourishes in the worst places on earth, and that's no coincidence. hence the bush doctrine, as it came to be known, is simply this: freedom is our weapon in the war on terror.

thanks to president bush, afghanistan held its first free election ever. that's something we can all feel good about as humanitarians, but, more to the point, it makes america safer. the islamic fascists that tyrannized the afghani people and nurtured osama bin laden's regime are no more. in january of next year, iraq, our arch enemy for over a decade, will be holding free elections. we are safer because saddam hussein is gone, yes. we are safer because he can no longer horde weapons and foster ties with terror. but ultimately we're safer because where there was once nothing but fear and misery, there's now hope for the future and people with hope don't fly airplanes into buildings.

afghanistan was the vietnam of the soviet union, and iraq had been a thorn in our side for years, but under bush's leadership, these two states were transformed with a rapidity so shocking that only the unprecedented respect shown to civilian bystanders in their liberation can compare. however much we might like to, we cannot limit the war on terror to the terrorists themselves. the bush doctrine will be remembered as this president's most lasting and meaningful contribution to history, it is the only way to ensure our long term safety in the world, and the president is worth reelecting if for no other reason than that.

i have disagreements with bush in some areas. i think he spends too much. i think he's wrong on immigration. i would have liked to have seen him handle the chinese differently on more than one occasion. but i'm voting for george w. bush because, at the end of the day, i recognize that the greatest challenge facing our nation right now is winning the war on terror, and no one can do a better job of it than him.

locdog asks you to vote bush on election day


let me get this straight...

i'm doing my best to follow this whole missing explosives thing, but what's really missing these days is common sense. a few questions...

1. what, exactly, does the IAEA mean when they talk about "sealing" explosives in march of 2003? if they believed, as they did, that these weapons were being used in saddam's nuclear program, why weren't they simply destroyed? if we're asked to believe that a crew of ragtag looters made off with them, then how much easier would it have been for saddam to get at them? what the hell did they "seal" those weapons with, anyway? police tape?

2. in april of 2003, two american divisions visited al qaqaa. while neither of them were specifically searching for these explosives, both made at least a cursory inspection as soldiers would in any location where they would be bedding down for the night. neither they nor the reporters embedded with them saw any indications of looting, nor did they see any UN "seals" on any of the bunkers, and, of course, none of them saw the explosives in question. this strengthens john kerry's case how, exactly?

3. assume the explosives that were so all-fired important to saddam's nuclear ambitions (according to kerry and the left, anyway) were in al qaqaa subsequent to the fall of the hussein regime. that bunker sits on a major artery leading north into baghdad and, as all of our forces were coming from the south thanks to the french-wannabe turks, would have been near the heart of american activity in the period when the IAEA claims the weapons were stolen (late april-early may). no one disputes that al qaqaa was looted subsequent to our april visits, but the looting was of the small-time, smash-and-grab variety where people were making off with whatever they could carry. how then did someone manage to make off with nearly 400 tons of explosives? realistically, this would have required a convoy of 30+ trucks operating around the center of american activity in iraq. it seems highly implausible that an operation of this scale could have gone unnoticed.

4. who could have pulled it off? as charles krauthammer pointed out on fox news' special edition last night, there was no insurgency during the period in question. saddam's forces had been routed and were in utter disarray. the coalition was still encountering pockets of resistance here and there, but a coordinated insurgency wouldn't appear for months. there was nothing like the sort of command and control needed to organize what would have had to have been a very well planned and well supplied raid on saddam's al qaqaa bunker.

5. given all the above challenges, is it not more plausible that saddam simply moved the stuff himself? once the international inspectors had fled, what was to stop him? hell, i'd just like to know why everyone is so darn sure he didn't move it himself, or why the burden of proof is on the united states armed forces (or their president) rather than the renegade regime whose decades of depravity precipitated the war in the first place? the IAEA says that in mid-march, they had confirmed that the explosives were still in al qaqaa. not long after that, all international agencies left as war with the united states became inevitable. at that point, why wouldn't saddam have moved his explosives--either to another location or out of iraq altogether? if you're saddam hussein and these explosives are vital to your nuclear ambitions, why would you leave them in the one place where they're almost certain to be destroyed since the whole world knows they're there?

neither the IAEA, the new york times, nor john kerry have to make the wild allegations they're bandying about plausible. they just level the charges and hope for the best. but if these missing explosives are the critical blow to our national security they're being made out to be, shouldn't someone be interested in learning how they vanished in the first place? if they're going to automatically discount the painfully obvious and problem-free explanation of saddam himself, shouldn't they at leat be able to advance a plausible counter-scenario?

locdog won't hold his breath



how's that crow tasting?

it seems i've been beaten to the punch on the latest 60 minutes debacle--that's right, the fraudulent missing weapons story comes courtesy of the same people who brought you the fraudulent memo story--but that's ok. the conservatives who've addressed this issue already have done a bang-up job of it. i'll limit myself to tying up a few odds'n'ends.

1. HMX and RDX are not nuclear proliferation list materials, and are not rare. RDX was discovered in 1890 and was used throughout the second world war. HMX is a derivative of RDX and is the most powerful conventional explosive the military has (although i've read that new stuff is on the way...) while both could be used in making a nuclear weapon, presumably as the shape charges used to implode the fissile core thus unleashing the atomic detonation, they would be among the easiest of all necessary components to obtain, hence their absence from proliferation lists.

2. 380 tons of explosives in iraq is like 380 grains of sand in the sahara. our forces have secured hundreds of thousands of tons of conventional munitions, and even if they had dropped the ball on some of the IAEA-sealed variety, they still deserve credit for the fantastic work they are doing. it is totally unrealistic to expect that in a nation the size of iraq with munitions stockpiles as extensive as saddam's were, that some of these would not fall into enemy hands. one would imagine that the vast majority of weapons and explosives currently being used by the terrorists operating against our forces in iraq were former hussein property, but until the issue became politically useful, no one on the left much seemed to care.

3. this october surprise hasn't been news since april 30, 2003. with what was undoubtedly the full if unstated support of IAEA head mohamed el-baradei, 60 minutes had been sitting on this story for over a year and a half waiting for the moment at which it could have the maximum political impact, October 31st. fortunately for the beleaguered news show, the NYT beat them to it.

the response of democrats has been sadly predictable. although kerry has repeatedly criticized bush for his unwillingness to admit he makes mistakes--did so in the context of his criticism on this very story, in fact--he is unwilling to admit one of his own. instead, he's got his attack poodle joe lockhart escalating the violence:

In a shameless attempt to cover up its failure to secure 380 tons of highly explosive material in Iraq, the White House is desperately flailing in an effort to escape blame. Instead of distorting John Kerry’s words, the Bush campaign is now falsely and deliberately twisting the reports of journalists. It is the latest pathetic excuse from an administration that never admits a mistake, no matter how disastrous.

let's review: one day after the liberation of iraq, our troops are on the spot. they find the weapons are already gone. although this was known for over a year and a half, the media is only now reporting on it, reporting that these weapons were in fact stolen right out from under our troops after they had arrived. kerry harshly criticizes bush over something that wouldn't have mattered all that much even if it was true. nbc reveals the truth: those weapons were gone before our boys arrived. kerry campaign dismisses the truth as a "pathetic excuse."

pathetic excuse, indeed.

locdog suggests a nice, hoppy IPA to cut through that greasy carrion-fed flesh